It's no secret to anyone who knows me that I'm in the process of getting my photography business off the ground, mostly since last September. Sometimes I get discouraged that it isn't happening fast enough, but then I have to remind myself that, a little over a year ago, I couldn't have imagined doing the photo shoots I've done the last few months. So, onward and upward, I say!
My learning curve has gone pretty much straight up in all areas: technical skills, business knowledge, and marketing expertise. Guess what? I've done a lot of things wrong!
But, the really cool thing is that I have a lot of great resources at my disposal. That includes people, internet, books and magazines, software, you name it.
And, as I learn what to do and what NOT to do, I make adjustments. Hey, at least I'm having fun along the way! Sometimes I get a little overwhelmed trying to keep up with so much to learn, but . . . I LOVE IT. I love the challenge and learning something new all the time.
Here's what I love the most and what keeps me motivated: creating something beautiful. I have always loved surrounding myself with beauty.
I used to be obsessed with interior decorating. I had a subscription to Victorian Decorating magazine, among others (I called my taste “modified Victorian”), and would spend hours poring over my magazines and catalogs. (I'm sure many women can relate to that particular interest.) And don't get me started on Christopher Lowell. Back in the day, I was an avid fan of his decorating show. Click here to read all about that.
When we built our house back in 1999, for the first time, I was able to design my very own bathroom from the ground up . . . nirvana!
After my daughter was born, I was a stay-at-home mom for a few years. During that time, I haunted the local fine art store and schemed how to one day afford some of my favorite art pieces. In time, I did manage to buy a few of them (let's hear it for scheming!). I visited that store so much that they knew me by name.
In the 1980s, I was a typographer. I think I originally got that job because I could type so fast. Anyway, that was back when typesetting had to be done on special computers because desktop PCs were unknown (yeah, I'm that old!). So, I've always had an appreciation for type, fonts, and graphics.
But something changed in the 1990s . . . my insatiable desire to learn more about graphic design ratcheted up several notches. I remember when it hit me: I became obsessed with typography and design.
My husband and I took a weekend trip to Victoria, British Columbia and I spent the entire weekend preoccupied with all of the graphic design I encountered: hotel stationery, store logos, restaurant menus, etc. Result: I was overstimulated! (I'm sure my husband wished it had something to do with him instead of the hotel stationery.)
I took some night classes at a local community college to supplement my skills and got a job as a graphic design assistant, eventually becoming a freelance graphic design artist. I spent hours in Barnes & Noble, scouring through the graphic design publications (and bought tons of books for my personal library, too).
One of the most helpful resources of all was a graphic design forum that I joined on the internet. The forum was made up of designers from around the world who advised, critiqued, encouraged, and simply had fun getting to know one another.
Imagine the honor I felt when a logo concept I designed took first place in the forum's first annual design contest! I looked up to these people as far above me, design-wise, but through their guidance and support, I became “one of them.”
So, I have loved and appreciated beauty for a very long time, whether it be interiors, florals, typography, nature, or design. I think I'm just wired up to be a very visual person (as opposed to auditory or kinesthetic or whatever else there is).
I have always loved great photography, but it was something other people did, not me--I had other things going on. It wasn't until 2010 that I realized how much I enjoyed photography. It probably had something to do with having spent the previous few years with a really nice camera in my PR job with the school district. For the first time, I became aware of how I could create a beautiful photograph—something far above the “snapshots” I'd taken with my point-and-shoot camera.
In 2010, I bought my first Nikon DSLR camera and, shortly after, took a trip to Chelan, Washington with my husband and daughter. Now, anyone who has been to Chelan knows what a destination it is. Wine country. Apple orchards. Water. Mountains. Sun.
I nearly drove my family crazy, commanding my husband to Stop! The! Car! So I could get the shot. Can it get any better than a vineyard at sunset? I think not.
I mark that trip as the beginning of my love affair with photography. I realized photography and keeping memories was what I was born for. I don't know why it took so long, but I believe that all these other things led me right up to it.
It isn't just the idea of creating beauty that inspires me. After all, I can't really claim the credit: the beauty has already been created and I'm just there recording it. What really gets me jazzed is having a part in preserving that beauty for someone else.
Years later, that person can look at the photo or video I've created and re-live the moment again, just like I do with my own photos and memories. If you take a look at the Slideshows page on my business site, you'll see that I've been creating family slideshows for quite awhile (long before I got into photography). So, my fulfillment is complete when I am able to create something beautiful and, especially when that moment is preserved for someone else's enjoyment.
At the risk of getting all 'woo woo' about it, I do believe that I am a co-creator with God (we all are, actually), and consider it a tremendous privilege and blessing to be able to share that creativity with others. Sorry, Christopher Lowell, you've been replaced.