This year, after almost giving up after six years of business, I really decided to work ON my business and not just IN my business, and I found that inspiration during a styled wedding shoot and photography workshop in the Poconos. My photography story starts much like other people's - friends of mine got engaged, asked their "artsy" friend with a camera that wasn't a cell phone to take some pictures (Pinterest was just starting back then, and ipods still had the big circular touch ring on the front of them, cars still had CD players - it was basically the stone age). 6 years later I've met dozens and dozens of couples and was given the privilege of photographing their weddings, engagements, family sessions, and more! So why, even if it appeared that I was successful, was I feeling like I was in a rut?
While cruising Instagram feeling sorry for myself in comparison to other great artists, I realized that my business was actually just a hobby. I wasn't working on it everyday, I wasn't progressing. I didn't have momentum. I was stuck. Luckily, on that endless feed of others' highlight reels that we call Instagram, I discovered that the amazing girls of Spark, a Christian women's photography group, were hosting a photography workshop in March - on my birthday, to be exact. While I was blessed enough to call one of these women both my friend and wedding photographer 4 years ago, I had little hope that I would actually get to attend this extremely limited workshop. Whether it was divine providence or really good luck, I was accepted and able to take one of the handful of slots being offered. What a great birthday present! We learned so much that day about things like posing, blogging, client experience, second shooting, and more! The best part was that we were able to finish our day with an amazingly gorgeous styled winter wedding where we could shoot along these legends and build our portfolios at the same time. The photos for that magical day are featured below!
After the workshop was over, I had 4 hours to stew in my own self pity and comparison depression as I drove back home to Indiana. I know that many photographers, along with most anyone else who has a goal they are chasing, thinks the same kind of thoughts. Do I have what it takes? Am I wiling to put in the work? Am I even good at this? I'll never be *that* person, why don't I just give up? Luckily, I have been blessed with an amazing husband and a healthy dose of stubbornness, and after about a week of tumult in my brain, I emerged wide-eyed and ready to start new. I forged so many paths this year to gain this crucial momentum that I was scared of for so long. A website reboot, blog posts, social media posts, gear investment, networking, education, on and on. The biggest lesson I learned, however, is to stop doubting my talent, even if it's not like other peoples. Just like in life, it's crucial to find out who you are, this time in terms of business. Once you know what your style is, what your message is, and what make you uniquely better, everything else will fall into place. This has been the best year yet, and while it's been a lot of hard work, doubling my success in just a year is well worth the price.