This is a difficult post to write, surprisingly. I have so many angles, so many thoughts to share, I’m not sure how to frame it or where to start. Those of you who know me know I love adventure for adventures-sake. I am not an idle girl. I don’t sit around wondering when I will stumble upon something to do. I get an itch, I see an opportunity, I throw my hat in…and sometimes that works great, and sometimes I hit some bumps (or potholes) along the way. Usually when I didn’t lay it at the Lord’s feet first — and even more often when I didn’t check in and wait for an answer. There’s my impatience again.
I have been and done many a thing in my life. I am both left and right brained. Creative and analytical. My last stint was in real estate. I enjoyed real estate. I like sales. I’m good with people. It’s a “natural” fit. I’m glad I did it. I didn’t go all-in though. I held back. One of the great benefits to being in RE was that I got to share my business with my bestie, Mel. Working with her, beside her was definitely a perk. And on some days when I was less than excited, the thought of working with her got me out of bed. But along the way, I was missing some of the excitement, the enthusiasm I am used to having when starting something new. Oh, and I up and quit my job to pursue it. Which, I’m finally learning is not a bonus but a detriment. It puts a lot of pressure on a new endeavor. And it removes some of your choices. I’ll get to that in a bit.
In 2008 I bought my first “real” DSLR camera. It was a Nikon D80. Not a pro-level camera by any stretch. It still had auto settings. But it was an amazing learning tool. I have always had a decent eye. And I understand color and composition. That first year was a total adventure in learning. Over time I built a small portfolio — not a very consistent one in look and feel, but I had done a variety of work — families, babies, weddings, etc. I went to a trade show or two. I learned from some of the best speakers at those shows. I decided to throw caution to the wind and start a photog business — in 2009. Right as the market was crashing. Awesome timing. I loved everything about photography, except the hours of editing — especially at weddings. I thought there had to be a better way. I farmed out the editing, but I’m a control-freak so I was never really satisfied with the results — and it was expensive. I burned out over time. And my craft didn’t feel like it was improving. I didn’t understand, nor could I afford, the benefit of a mentor at that time, but it’s what I really needed. After a few years, I shut down, returned to the office and enjoyed my time back in the world of people. I still shot from time to time, part-time. Enough to keep the creative juices flowing. There was always a pull.
Over the years I’ve felt a pull back to photography, and then away and then to and then away. Kinda like my pull toward the law. I have been a paralegal in some form for over 25 years. I leave, but I’m always drawn back. I think it’s because it challenges and entertains my brain in a way that other things don’t. I have a love and passion for the law. Not in a way where I wanted to practice law, but in a way where I enjoy being part of the law. Photography is kind of like that.
Then I started reading a book by Simon Sinek, “Star with Why.” I like Simon Sinek. He’s a smart guy. I love hearing interviews he’s done. I’m always like, “that guy knows something about life…” well, Start with Why is where I should have started years ago — WHY do you do what you do. From where does a passion start? What makes you get out of bed to do something when it’s the last thing you want to do. And throughout the book all I kept thinking about was photography. I have a serious WHY for photography.
I lost both my parents before I was 30. That sucked. I have pictures, but not a lot of our family together, experiencing life. Frank has even less than I do — like substantially less. When we got married, the only request he made of me is that I would document our life together through film. And I did. I can’t even fathom the $$ spent on developing film in the “olden” days. The number of scrapbooks we have. The number of photos the kids have documenting their every move. We still have family portraits done. We’re having them done again when Jake is out here for Christmas. I’m not sure what Frank meant when he said that, but I think I may have exceeded his expectations. Each photo is a precious keepsake to me. It’s a stamp in time of what we were doing, feeling, experiencing. Good and bad. It’s all I have of my childhood. Of my parents. Of the family that built me. I want to give that to other people. I want to capture keepsake moments for others who don’t do that for themselves necessarily. That’s what photography is to me. A portal to time that has passed. The thought of that literally burns in me. Makes me want to get up right now and grab my camera.
So – that brings you up to speed. I love photography and have been in and out of it for years and years now.
I was out stumbling around on FB last week and I tripped into a benign website for photography. This sweet looking, young couple, offering a free photography class on posing. Any photographer knows that this is the tough part. Keeping it fresh and knowing how to direct others to get the shot in your head. So I thought – why not, I’ll give it a whirl. WOW. Just wow. I took the hour class and was glued to my screen. They talked about things like the light, and consistency, and tips and tricks for flattering the clients in every shot. They were simple, tangible and something I could implement immediately. I found my mentors! I tooled around their website and found a photographer’s link. Where I landed was a page that offered 10 steps to getting to your dream job. Step one: read the book “Quitter” by Jon Acuff. So I went to amazon and bought the book.
Quitter is literally a book about closing the gap between your day job and your dream job. Interesting approach — don’t quit your day job. Not right away. WHAT? Mind blown. Be an adult? Have a plan? Stay afloat. Success in your day job will spill over into your dream job? Seriously novel information for me. I decided to give a second free class a try. This one was on building business momentum. Where have these two been all my life. A&J started as elementary school teachers, 4th and 5th grades. They are a husband and wife team out of Phoenix. They are amazing. They are who I always needed but didn’t know I did. They are my mentors.
I am taking a shooting and editing class right now. I’m about two hours in and my vision, my focus, my passion is on fire. I see a different approach to my art, and a different approach to the business I want to build. And I am willing to build it over time. I bring a lot to the table already. But this will take me to the next level. And I’m excited to see the progress along the way. I am always in such a hurry to reach my destination. This time I am excited about the journey — and in some ways I hope I never fully arrive. I don’t want to be on to the next thing. I want this to BE the thing. It’s in my blood. I have my WHY, and now I have a path to follow. I haven’t felt this good about something in so long.
And in not leaving anything up to chance. I have prayed over this — a lot. I feel such a peace about it. I have a calling to serve others. Always have. I have a compassionate heart. I believe this is the avenue of service to which I am being called. And being in a new place, in a newer body, allows me the opportunity for a do-over in a way. Keep the good, shed the not so great, improve on it all. I am feeling truly blessed.
2 Replies to “Shutter Speed…”
I literally got a little choked up reading this, Shay. You really have no idea how your blog speaks to my heart! I have struggled with these very things myself, and this really was inspiring for me. I, too am exploring my “next chapter” and have often felt “stuck”. I just wanted you to know ❤️ You *are* making an impact 😉
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Awwww, friend. Thank you for sharing. Sometimes I feel all alone in my search for who I am supposed to be…right? Thank you for sharing that I’m not alone in that.