This post isn't going to have any pictures in it. This is more of reflections from me. I'll be back to posting pictures tomorrow hopefully :)
One of my biggest flaws has to be self doubt. I am constantly second guessing myself. Am I good enough? Is my work good enough? Can I even do this? If I'm going to fail I usually quit. It's a horrible way to go through life. I know quitting automatically means you fail. Logically I know this but there's always that inner voice that says "You aren't good enough. Don't bother."
That IV is very loud in my head. Its not just a whisper. A lot of the time it's all I hear. Then I fell into photography. And I do mean fell into it lol. Back story... I've owned a Cannon Rebel for probably 3 years now. We used it to take pictures of the kids. Nothing more really. I never took it off of auto. I never even put it into the program modes. EVER.
When our oldest started kindergarten I naturally brought my camera to many of the activities at his school. Mainly because who doesn't love taking pictures of their own kids lol. One of the moms at the school (who I was pretty good friends with) came up to me one day and said "Hey I own a dance studio and I was wondering if you'd come and take pictures at one of my classes" I said "sure but you have to know that I know NOTHING about photography. I own a nice camera and that is pretty much it" She said "that's fine" So June 2011 I went and took pictures of her class. I had a total blast doing it. My pictures weren't great but they weren't horrible either for a first time thing.
She came up to me later and said "I was thinking of doing a fundraiser for my studio. (it's in her garage) because it's coming into summer and getting HOT, i need to get an air conditioner. What do you think of doing boudoir pictures? We could charge $25 a session and I'd give you part of it" I said "ok" What I was thinking was "What the hell am I getting myself into?!" I know nothing about photography. I know nothing about taking professional pictures. But I jumped, feet first with no parachute. We did that first session and had 5 girls sign up. It was a total blast. The pictures came out ok and the girls were really happy with them. In fact there are actually a couple pictures that I really liked. It was so successful that we scheduled 2 more days of fundraising shoots and then 3 more sessions at "full" price ($50) I went out and bought studio lighting and backdrops and props. I made paperwork and business cards (I LOVE paperwork. I really am a geek at heart lol) This is what I was going to do!
I started to not be completely happy with my work. I didn't know what I was doing. I was trying to do professional work with an amateur's knowledge. But we still had girls who were signed up so I couldn't quit. I posted an ad to Craigslist to try to get a couple of spots filled and I got a response from a professional photographer. This is what it said
" The rules of photography and professionalism haven’t changed with the coming of the digital age. If you don’t know as much about photography as full-time photographers do, and you are taking people’s money, you are ripping them off. There are no shortcuts. There are no passes. You must learn first, and then hang your shingle. Paying clients are not the training grounds for new photographers full of passion but little or no photography skill.
Many young photographers think that digital cameras and photoshop have reduced the learning curve to becoming a professional. Actually, for many, these tools have provided an unsustainable crutch.
And then there is the business end of things. When you charge next to nothing for your work all it dose is hurt the profession. It’s called bastardizing the market. Until you have the skills and knowledge of a professional photographer you shouldn’t charge for what you are doing."
I was pretty heartbroken. He basically told me I sucked. This is what I suspected all along but here it was in black and white. Part of me wanted to throw in the towel and say "screw it, I'm done" but for some reason I chose not to. I wanted to push forward and prove to this anonymous comment (who didn't have the balls to even leave his name. Although I know who he is. I was able to figure it out through his email address and FB page.) I started taking a photography class at our local college. I saw some of the other people's work and thought again "crap what am I doing here?! I suck compared to them!!" But I stuck with it. For some strange reason photography is the only thing I haven't really considered quitting since I started. Yes there have been moments where I want to give up. But I also want to learn to be better. I want my work to be impressive. I want my stuff to be pictures that people want to hang on their walls.
I just found out recently that my professor is actually impressed with my work and thinks I have some talent as well which really boosted my spirits. I look at my work today and compare it to work I did when I first started and I can definitely see an improvement. I can't wait to see where my work is in another 6 months. I am trying really hard to not compare myself to other photographers especially those who have more experience under their belt. I am trying to only compare my work to my past work and as long as I continue to see improvement I am happy.
I still have a long way to go before I love my work but I can tell you now that I do have a couple pictures that I am going to frame and hang in MY house. lol