5 things YOU need to know before becoming a Photographer

I get emails consistently from guys and gals who want to know

“How do I start a Photography business?”

There are many many many tips and tricks to this (many I am still learning). However before anyone jumps in and adds the word “photography” permanently to their name…

Here are five things you need to know before you become a photographer…

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1) It’s hard work.

This is the biggest misconception about being a photographer (in my opinion). What people see is you show up with a camera….laugh and have a blast shooting for an hour, and then in a few days see these beautiful images splattered all over Facebook. What everyone doesn’t see is the hours of marketing, answering emails, EDITING (no we don’t go home and burn a disk straight from our camera), bookkeeping, making contracts, burning disks, ordering prints, delivering photos, etc. etc. etc.

In all honesty….if you aren’t willing to do these things 90% of the time, you won’t be able to consistently shoot (the thing we get to do about 10% of the time)

2) You can’t be a sensitive cry baby.

Since photography is more of an “artsy” business, its hard for people to remember sometimes that it IS still a business. With owning your own business you have to be okay with rejection, and a lot of it. Some people will not like your photos, some people will tell you that you are too expensive, some people will tell you that they are glad that your childhood pet got ran over by a car….

People are people. You have to be confident in YOU and YOUR WORK, to make it doing this.

3) You need to be good.

What I mean by this….

You need to be able to consistently produce good quality photos before asking people to pay you.

Its EASY to call yourself a photographer. But before you invest in equipment. Invest in yourself. Learn camera settings (yes….like manual). Watch video tutorials and be a second shooter for some photo shoots. Don’t be insecure and never start, but be diligent with learning and working on your craft before you ask people to pay you.

4) People will want you to work for free…….a lot.

I have gotten a lot better about this. But especially in the beginning when I was more insecure, I gave away A LOT of free shoots. Now this was good at first because I shouldn’t of been charging at the beginning (because I sucked). But as time passed and strangers started contacting me for photos….it was hard to make the shift (especially when its friends or family you feel very weird, almost guilty to charging).

That’s one of the biggest mistakes I could of made. You are a business owner. You are working. And photography is WORK. <——-Read this over and over.

There are still times (very rarely) that I do things for free.

Now its because I want to….not because I feel like I have to. If others are not valuing you and your work, you aren’t valuing yourself enough.

Put a price on it. People who expect you to work for free do not truly care about you or your business.

Harsh? Maybe. But its the truth.

5) Be okay with it taking a long, long time.

I have been a “photographer” for a few years. In all honestly it has taken me until recently to have  a consistent business.

I say that not to be depressing, and hopefully it wont take YOU that long, but I am just keepin’ it real! There have been many times where I have considered quitting, especially in the beginning.

The key to being a full time photographer is to not give up when you are just a part time photographer.

Be tuff. Stick with it.

6) You can do it.

Okay I just broke a rule. I said there were five things, and here is the sixth one….

I know, I’m such a rebel.

But really. With any business….with any dream...if you want it bad enough…it CAN happen. Read, invest in your mind…realize your potential.

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Well. Those are the five (um, six) things that I believe people need to consider before they get a camera and make a Facebook page. I absolutely love what I doPhotography is very rewarding, but realize the reality in the work and persistence that it takes. Again, this is a small list- but hopefully it will help you clarify if this is truly something you want to dive into.

Wish you the best~!

-Heather

 

*Flash Back Friday: Originally Posted on March 25, 2014

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Defend.

Sometimes you are left feeling like you are left to defend a decision that you have made, or a life that you have decided to live.

Don’t.

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Everyone has their own lives for a reason- to use it. Living one life is complicated enough without trying to take on someone else’s and guide it to where you think that it should go. We should all be concerned with living the fullest life that is right for us, and what we are called to do. If someone disagrees……that’s okay. That does not always mean that you need to change your course. More often than not you shouldn’t.

People give their input and move on, but you are the one that is always left with the consequences of your choices. Run full force, and don’t pause to defend.

 

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No Idea Where To Start

Do you ever feel like you have a great idea but just have no idea where to start? I run into this problem a lot because most of the things that I want to do with my life are off the beaten path. Now “off the beaten path” sounds fun and adventurous right?…but truthfully it’s flippin’ scary.

It means you have no map, no degree plan, no idea where to begin. I feel like so many of us feel drawn to “do our own thing” yet lack the courage to jump out there, because it means figuring out what to do, and messing up a lot along the way. Those are valid concerns.

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I am in school and I feel like that is a small part of my map, but there are many, many other things that I want to do that go beyond that piece of paper I’m working on.

Here are a few things that have helped me create my own map. Most of this has come from books, audios, etc. Of course I am still learning so much everyday, but these tips have been a game changer for me.

1)  Learn. Constantly.

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I think submersing yourself in books is the most productive thing you can do. I read every morning and listen to about 1 audio book a week. Most of these books consist of subject matters in my field (mental health, positive thinking, leadership, business, creativity, etc). The more I listen the more confidence I gain in walking into the “unknown”. I think out of any habit I have this is one of the most important. You have to work on your mind before you work on anything else. Can’t skip that step.

2) Build a platform.

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Even if you have no product. This might sound kind of strange, because we have the opposite instinct. We think we need to have everything in place and then reach out. However building a platform takes a LONG time. So if you work to build it, while you are developing your idea/business you have people to launch your product/idea to once its ready. Example: If you are wanting to start a business selling buttons (I just watched Benjamin Button last night so buttons are on my mind!) then why not start a twitter account, and build your following based on facts about buttons? (exciting right?) Or if you are interested in consulting, why not launch a blog and document your journey? Start building your following NOW so one day you will have ears that are already ready to listen to you when you are ready to begin. Building an audience takes time. Don’t waste another minute.

3) Be consistent.
For heavens sake.

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This one I think frustrates me the most. If you are working towards your plan, and have a few small steps in place (I will build a following, I will blog, I will meet with my mentor…etc, etc)

Then do it. Consistently.
Great ideas and breakthroughs don’t happen without first building and following through with daily habits. The grind…..get use to it.

4) Ask for help.

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This is hard. Especially for me. I don’t know anyone personally who is doing exactly what I want to do. However, I know a lot of people who know something that I could use, and it’s worth taking time out to hear what they have to say. People are extremely flattered when you ask for their input, and this gives you more people in your corner to support you in the end. Win/win.

5) Throw a dart in the dark.

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If you have absolutely NO IDEA where to begin then throw a dart. Yes. Chunk it in the dark, and follow it wherever it lands. Of course logic tells you that this will not work, and will waste your time and resources….but that can be nothing further than the truth. Make an educated guess about something you could possibly do, and even if it sounds crazy, do it. Immediately.

Why this is important is it helps you start your map. Usually that first step won’t work out the way you think it will, but it will give you something to work with and cause you to start thinking in steps. You never know when you are exploring this….that you will find that. It’s all in the willingness to explore.

6) Throw your hat over the fence.

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I heard an analogy once about a young boy who wanted to follow through with a dare from his friends to confront a big dog that was on the other side of his neighbors fence. The boy threw his hat over the fence. If he did not bring his hat home, his mom would have his butt. By throwing his hat over the fence, he had to make the leap, he had to face his fears. He left no other option.

We have to do that. We have to burn our ship, throw our hat over the fence, …take irreversible chances. That’s where you really see your true commitment.

7) Tackle the big things.

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We kinda avoid the big things by busying ourselves with a bunch of busy work don’t we? But that wont get us anywhere but some temporary spurts of dopamine, fooling ourselves that we are following our dream….when we are really avoiding it. A great book about this is “Eat That Frog” by Brian Tracy. Tackle the big things if you want to get somewhere.

8) Believe in your map. Love your map…..;)

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If you have one step on your map, be committed to that step. Believe that step is the shinizzle. I really believe its the confidence and force that you tackle projects that will lead you to your map. In trying, with your WHOLE HEART you will stumble (maybe tripping and falling) into your success. I don’t know about you, but I’m willing to get a little messy to see this happen.

I could go on and on. But these are a few steps that I have taken and ran with, in developing my map. Is it hard taking the “unbeaten path”? Yup. But not having a plan is more common than you may think, so it’s not a good excuse…it’s a good reason to get to work.

 

 

 

 

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How to say…….”No”

No.

That’s a hard word. It’s very, very hard to say…and it’s really hard to hear. I have been practicing saying “no” in my life, and it’s not a lot of fun.

I worry a lot that I am going to hurt someone’s feelings.

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When you hear “no” sometimes you feel rejected. So saying “no” to someone else makes you wonder if they feel like you are rejecting THEM……not just what they are offering. This is a tricky situation because you are left feeling torn between protecting your time, and hurting someone’s feelings.

However…

In the end, you have to be more protective of your life (your time) than you are of the way you are perceived. You cannot control what other’s think or how they feel.

You can’t. Ever.
People gonna think….what they gonna think….

I love the scripture that says, “as much as it depends on you, live at peace with all men”.

“As much as it depends on you”……
But some of it doesn’t depend on you, and is left out of your hands.
Like the way people may perceive your “no”.

Say “no” respectively with as much authentic appreciation as you can…..but know its okay sometimes to respectfully decline.

If you don’t want to do something, or if you literally do not have the time for it—for heaven’s sake run from it!!  Those who cannot understand or respect that are not worth the precious effort that you invest. 

“No” is a very hard word to hear and to say. However not saying it causes ALOT of regret and ultimately adds stress to your life.

Feeling “obligated” in relationships is a violation of boundaries that will ultimately drive a wedge in those relationships — that although you meant your “yes” to prevent conflict, actually pushes you further (emotionally) from that person. Because they don’t really know how you feel, and you will probably end up bitter/annoyed with them. And how is that fair to them? Or you?

So say, “no”.

Its okay.
It really is.

And for the record…I wrote this blog so I could read it;)

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When knowledge is not enough

We love information. We look for it, dwell on it, and pass it along. It helps us feel a little more in control—because we KNOW whats going on. We wanna know who said what, how they said it, and why. We wanna know who has Ebola, and how they got it. We wanna know what 70′s TV show “we are”…based on 10 Facebook questions. We love information.   images (2)Most of the information we have, isn’t really the truth. But honestly? Who really cares? If our minds are busy with random facts, we get a little fix. We feel like we are being productive, we feel like we are involved, we feel like we are apart. Knowing is not enough though.

  • How much do you know about fitness?….. what do YOU DO about it?
  • How much do you know about human trafficking?….what do YOU DO about it?
  • How much do you know about what you want out of life? ….what do YOU DO about it?

Knowledge is limitless…yes. But its also useless if its not used as a reference point for our actions. Raising awareness is awesome- but how many of us are “aware” ….but do not care? I would rather be the person running off 10% knowledge and DOING SOMETHING with that 10% than be the most well-informed, prestigious woman you know who doesn’t bother to lift a finger. We have to quit talking at some point …and start doing. There shouldn’t be so many hurt, dying, and confused people in the world. We have enough facts, we have enough statistics. The world was never influenced by people who just knew a lot. We need people with enough courage and backbone to step out and DO something. images

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Naked

One of the hardest parts….okay THE hardest part of “starting something” is being naked.

Yup. Naked.

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This goes before the part of actually doing this “thing”

(like creating your new Facebook page, writing your first blog, implementing your new workout, filing for your LLC, setting a date for your new devo/accountability group, etc etc).

This is the stage where you just admit to someone, “Hey! I wanna do this________”.

Most people go, “Awwwwwww yeah! That’s awesome!”

(AKA, “That’s cute you sweet little kid, and precious. You are precious.”)

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People might not take you seriously. And you feel kinda naked.  This is something that is very personal to you, something you may want to do with your LIFE, andddd you kinda feel left like you are defending it. Trying to prove to people that its reasonable, or grown up.

So most of us in this stage, the naked, the exposed stage…...just stop right there.

We never actually follow through, because even mentioning that idea, made us feel stupid. Or like a cute little kid eating a lollipop.

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That’s why I skip this stage. Now when I have an idea, or want to do something- very few people know about it until I am already doing it. 

Its important to guard your heart. No matter what “stage” you are in….

Admitting it Stage

Starting it Stage

Doing it Stage

Not quitting it Stage

Still not quitting Stage

Still going Stage

Waiting Stage

………Succeeding Stage

Applause never comes at the beginning. You don’t go to a movie theater and  see everyone clapping and shouting at the beginning. Nope. They sit quietly till the end, and then tell everyone how great it was.

Your “applause” will come later. Till then, guard your heart. Plug your ears. Don’t take criticism to heart. People come and go. Its easy to talk -its harder to do. Be a doer.

And only listen to doers. You don’t need approval before you begin. 

 

Flash Back Friday: Originally Posted on July 18, 2014

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The Greatest Tool in Your Box.

Does your brain get in the way sometimes?

I know that sounds silly. But so many times we rationalize ourselves out of things.

 

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If you desire to paint, your logic can help you come up with strategies (a game plan) that will lead you to paint (maybe even make some money at it!) Or your mind can come up with all the reasons you shouldn’t…or how it is irresponsible.

If you desire to go back to school, your mind can help you move your life around to allow you to do so. Or your thoughts can talk you out of it.

If you desire to get in shape, Your thoughts can be your greatest motivator, or they can tell you that “there is no point”.

Your mind is your tool. It’s something that you can use to direct, plan, and ultimately change your life. Or it can literally destroy you.

Literally.

However sometimes it’s easier to act like we have no control over our minds. Like it is some uncontrollable monster that acts solely on its own. We can go our entire lives and think this. But ultimately we have to come to a point of responsibility….and train our brains, instead of being controlled by them.

I believe anything that you were “meant” to do requires some (okay, a lot of) discomfort. Willingly putting yourself in discomfort requires us to shift our brains from thinking “why” we shouldn’t….to “how” we can.

For me, the only way I have made (some) progress in my thought patterns, has been deliberate submersion of books/tapes centered around who I ultimately want to be. What we fill our minds with will dictate how we think, how we think dictates our lives. Period. No getting around it.

Your mind can be your greatest tool if we learn to use it and not be controlled by it.

 

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(When you need) Constant Approval

 

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Sometimes I pull out old journals and read them. I have been keeping one every year for the past 10 years. They are my most valuable possession. Hands down.

I am not sure where I heard the above statement. It was written in one of my old journals, and it applies just as much to me today as it did when I wrote it (2009).

It feels really great when you hear the applause of others. When you have a lot of friends, and people think what you are doing is awesome.

Sure. We all want that.

But do you need it? Is the value in what you do, determined by what someone else thinks?

I mean really, truly think about it. Are you at the mercy of others?

Are you beautiful IF someone says you are? Are you smart IF your professor gives you an “A”? Are you creative IF someone buys your work? Is your life purposed IF someone thinks it is?

I don’t know about you, but that is way too many “ifs” to place on something as valuable as my self worth. You need self esteem to move forward in your dreams/goals. And I’m not willing to give my dreams up, in search of the temporary gratification and “feel good” of making someone else happy.

Few people will remain constant in your life. There is you (obviously), those who are the “unmovable ones” in your life (you know who they are), and God. Everyone else’s opinion…………can move right along.

People bounce in and out of your life. I still haven’t quite figured that one out, but it’s a fact. And most of the ones IN your life, know only a small fraction of you and your story (I’m not trying to be depressing here, just trying to cast some perspective). Most people don’t take the time out to really get to know YOU, so why alter your entire being for someone so fleeting? Why change the CORE of who you are….for that quick, moment of approval? No thanks.

If you ever have played a slot machine you know you put something in of value for the hopes of receiving something greater in return. Usually you don’t receive anything in return, and ultimately loose what you put in. Our self worth is far too valuable to toss towards random people hoping that it returns back to us. You will end up loosing everything.

Quit cheapening yourself. Most of us are so incredibly blessed. We are ALIVE. Most are healthy (can use all of our limbs) We live in freedom, and have choices. Most of us are not starving and have somewhere to sleep tonight. etc.etc.etc.

We have unlimited potential. We are incredibly blessed.

Move beyond approval. For those who really matter…you already have approval. Everyone else can move right on along….

Live. Thrive. Take Chances and don’t even bother to look around you when you do.

Give yourself applause and proceed.

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The Authentic

Its scary to be authentic.

 

authentic [ ôˈTHentik ]

of undisputed origin; genuine

To be authentic, you have to be okay with being known. And that’s where the hang up is for most people.

“I don’t want you to really know me, because you may not accept me. ”

So with good intent we put up a block, a wall, a mask, in order to pass inspection and not be judged by others.  We pick and choose what people see based on what we think they would be okay with. We have traded authenticity for acceptance, and what a cheap “acceptance” it is.

The people who truly love me, have been unmovable in my life. Shame on me for ever valuing the opinions of someone else above theirs, and all at the sake of my own authenticity.

We have traded our  unique contribution to the world, for the safety of hiding.  But in order to keep from being rejected we have to be okay with never making an impact. Because true change only comes from those who are willing to be exposed.

When you open yourself up to praise, you equally open up yourself for pain, and rejection. What catches people’s attention, and what really helps bring healing and change to the world are those who are willing to take the hits that come from their authentic life, for the chance that it may bring good to those who know them.

And it will.

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There will be people who hate you. They will find reasons to get mad at you because you make them uncomfortable. Its happened to me so much this past year. But for several years I lived a life looking out of the corner of my eye worrying so much of what others thought, that I almost destroyed my life. When you aren’t looking where you are going (because you are preoccupied with whats going on around you) you are bound to trip and fall.

In order to have TRUE relationships, and TRUE fulfillment, we have to be okay with those who don’t “agree” with us, or understand us. However, the relationships, the satisfaction, the purpose that is added to your life through that is so …SO worth the petty fake little side relationships that you give up.

The lives you have touched so far in your life have more than likely come from you being authentic, real, and genuine. It comes from you admitting that you don’t know the answer. Or being okay with saying that you screwed up. Being okay with saying, “Hey this is me, fully truly, apologetically…….me”.

The world turns and moves for people brave enough to be authentic. I think we all want to be this.  We just need to realize that it’s possible.

If something makes you uncomfortable, sometimes you need to embrace it whole heartedly. Run to it and hug it. Because through  your own discomfort, you can grow and become everything you were meant to be. The world needs the brave and authentic.

 

 

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The little, tiny, lifesaving list.

There are SO many voices. If I were to listen to and apply all the “advice” that I am given…I would need about 50 more hours in the day to…..

make Pinterest crafts/make all meals homemade/ sell 50 products/ have a 4.0/ but don’t go to school because women need to “focus on family”/ but still get my PhD cause I am a woman and women need to “conquer the world”/be involved in the community/but not too much because I need to make my house look perfect (with Pinterest’s help)/ eat clean- so I can live long/ not eat clean because that annoys people/ go to the gym to look good/ but don’t look too good because that annoys people/ go to all meetings/bring dishes to all those meetings/have more kids/dont have more kids/be authentic/but don’t admit to having any problems ….and learn Spanish. ………….etc.etc

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Brene Brown (PhD , Researcher, Author, my superhero) recommends taking a littttttle piece of paper (like one inch by one inch) and writing the names of the people whose opinions truly matter to you in that space. It is intentionally small, so you are forced to narrow it down to your top 3 or 4 people. The people who will love you in your pretty-life-awesome moments, and wont change their opinions of you of you in your tearful-Oreo binge- ugly moments.

When the time comes to make tough choices, to keep going when people are ragging on you, when you feel like you can’t take one more ounce of criticism….pull out that piece of paper.

Remember whose opinions truly matter. The people on that one inch sheet of paper will be there till the very end. Most people you know now will not be an active part in your life in ten years. Their role can be valuable and important now, but if they are not pouring life into you…remember your list.

And add your name to that list.

In the end it will be you, God…and those few people. Apply outside voices only when helpful.

 

Flashback Friday:Originally posted on July 7, 2014

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