Over the last few weeks I've been in a serious rut [I won't say I've made a complete turn around but we're getting there]. Admitting this rut feels somewhat weak, but I feel like it's part of the process and it's worth sharing.
I won't go into too much detail because it may bore you dead...but photography is slow this time of year, and discouragement leaked in at one point or another.
Rewind a few years.
I have been photographing friends and family since the Spring of 2010. It started out as a small hobby charging $25 for a session and editing with iPhoto. After some time I realized I might be able to go somewhere with this new found hobby of mine. I slowly started purchasing software, upgrading my equipment, creating business cards, buying hard drives and charging a bit more for sessions. It wasn't until I met our wedding photographers that I thought maybe I could actually take this hobby of mine to the next level. They saw something in me and invested their hearts, knowledge, and time into me..I am forever grateful to them because of this. They believed in me, more than I believed in myself. I hope someday to take a newbie with mountain top dreams, and bring her under my wing...just the way they did for me. So, little by little I gained more confidence in this expensive hobby, and decided to make all things official.
I have come a long way since 2010, through trial and error...a LOT of practice, constant research, some self doubt, and major financial investment. I went to college for a degree in Communication Studies and struggled to find purpose through that major, all the while knowing I had this blossoming career as a photographer just waiting to explode.
You see, I had this grand plan that I would be graduating from college in the Spring of 2012, apply for my photography business license, create a website, order newly branded business cards, shoot copious amounts of sessions, establish myself in the photography industry, and finally quit my job at Starbucks come December. I figured 6 months post graduation was enough time to establish myself in the surrounding areas, and bid farewell to the green apron.
Well God had other plans. Which by the way, His are always better than ours. It's January and I'm still tying up that apron Monday-Thursday. I've always prayed for my business, and specifically that God would direct me where to go, opening and closing doors as He saw fit. Seven months post-grad and my plans didn't go as I had hoped...but that's okay. The six month plan was a tad ambitious and I somewhat anticipated that.
Over the last few months I've been dedicating my time to online photo forums, endless blog reading, meeting with other local photogs, revamping my website, praying continually over my business, and just soaking in God's direction for me. I've learned a lot. Like, I've only brushed the surface on what I need to know. There's an entire world of photography that's unknown to me still...but I'm getting there. One of the biggest things I've learned these last few months is the importance of building relationships with other local photographers.
I've now entered this twisted, amazing world of creative artists who not only encourage one another, but enjoy working together. It's not like other career fields...yes, we are all essentially "competing" for local business. But at the same time not every person is fit for the same photographer. There are enough jobs and a diverse amount of people looking for different things when it comes to photography in general. I love that about this business. I have established some amazing friendships over the last few weeks with both local and out of state photographers. These people have encouraged me to no end...and that's awesome. It's really great to be accepted in this industry of creative, talented artists who have a heart for capturing lasting memories.
Well fast forward to today. Times are slow in the winter for obvious reasons, the weather, post Christmas expenses, bills are higher because of cold weather, and everybody wants to be summer tan in their pictures. So I've had to remind myself and pray over my business even more, that God will bless it the way He sees fit.
I never expected to be a wedding photographer. It always seemed so stressful by every angle of the industry. However, rewind back to my amazing mentors...they practically set a wedding in my lap back in September. Once again, they believed I could do it and set me out to fly on my own. I doubted myself a little...but knew God could hold me through it. After that experience I knew my heart was in wedding photography. Who wouldn't want to be part of the most special day in a couple's life?
By the grace of God I have received FOUR wedding inquiries for 2013. This may not sound like much in the land of wedding photography...if that's where you reside ;)...but for this small business of mine, it's HUGE. I can't begin to explain the amount of reassurance these 4 wedding inquiries have given me. I feel like it's God pushing me further, it's Him reminding me that my work is of value to Him and the people I know. All I have to do is trust Him and follow what He tells me.
Psalm 37:4 "Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart"
I know that if I engage with my God daily, He'll continue to show me where He wants my business to go. He isn't a God of confusion...and I take such great comfort in knowing that to be true.
So there's that, a little bit behind the scenes of my blossoming photography business. I am so excited to see where God takes this journey of mine and forever grateful He has given me amazing friends and family to encourage me along the way.