A letter to myself. A reflection of how it all started, what I’ve learned, and how far I’ve come.
It all started about three years ago.
I had been a working Labor and Delivery nurse for the past 24 years. I recently applied to graduate school and been accepted to the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center’s graduate program in nursing education. But, I was at a crossroads and there was something else gnawing at my core. I wasn’t sure I wanted to go. Sure, it seemed like the right choice…the smart decision, but I just wasn’t sure.
You see, over the last year I had a taste of holding a camera, capturing a moment, and feeling something exciting ignite in my soul I hadn’t felt in a long, long time.
There was a little voice telling me what I really wanted was to be a photographer. A real one. The kind that had a business they loved and a blog that I found myself engrossed in.
It was hard to admit, but I was obsessed with the idea.
But, I had no, none, nada, zero idea of where to even begin.
So, with a ton of support from my husband to go after what I really wanted, I declined my acceptance to grad school and trudged forward with my new journey.
I had fear…a ton of fear. But, my gut told me I was doing the right thing for my soul.
I had no idea what I was doing or how I was going to get there.
And now, about three and a half years later I look back at the journey, how far I’ve come and how far I still want to go.
So, I sat down and wrote a letter to myself today. A reminder to appreciate all the ups, downs, joys, blood, sweat, and tears that have gotten me to this point today.
You are about to step outside of your very comfortable comfort zone to embark on an incredibly rewarding journey. Don’t worry, it will be worth it.
You have a lot to learn and a long way to get there and it will take time, persistence, and patience. “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” they say.
Keep reading those blogs of the photographer’s that are so out of your league right now you think you will never get there. One day, you will actually meet some of them, shoot next to them, mentor with them, and you will be applying all of this to your craft for years to come.
It’s true what they say. You will only spend about 10% of your time behind your camera. The rest of your time will be spent learning about running your business. You will learn how to build a website, manage a blog, SEO (say what?), marketing, taxes, insurance, workflow, social media, and Photoshop. Photoshop, that is a whole other beast to tackle. Be patient, you will learn that and once you master your camera and light this will be a minimal part of your process. Some things will be more frustrating than others. Be patient. Keep learning.
You will spend the first year photographing anything that will plant in front of your camera. That is perfect. It will help you learn in so many ways. And, this is how you will find what you really love.
You will spend a ton of time finding your own voice as a photographer. Be patient…it will come. You will really learn how to use your camera and find the light…ugh, the light, where is the light?! Who even knew how crucial the light is to everything about a great image? There will be a day when you can’t stop noticing the light all around you, even when you’re watching a movie. Be patient.
You will learn about posing, and in the end you will discover that your favorite images are always the ones that aren’t posed.
Stop looking at what everyone else is doing. You are not everyone else. Comparison truly is the thief of all joy. Focus on your “why”? You haven’t figured that out yet, but you will. Be patient.
Stop buying the latest because everyone else is using it. Outgrow your equipment.
Stop buying all those vintage props, buckets, baskets etc… This does not speak to your soul. You have a much deeper vision than that. Focus on what really matters and fill the frame with it. This will make your heart sing.
You will make some amazing investments into your learning that you will not regret. Remember this, never stop learning, ever.
You will make new friends and amazing mentors along the journey. This is priceless.
Always be yourself. But, you will learn to push through your introverted self to make quick connections with your clients. This will help you grow more than you know. This will take you way out of your comfort zone and into your fear zone. Don’t let this stop you.
Speaking of clients, they will quickly become more like family. Bonus!
Take one day at a time. Keep moving forward. Enjoy the journey. Be patient. Work hard, it will pay off.