Tuesday, November 1, 2011

My Photography Journey.

I've been wanting to write this post for some time now, but honestly things have been crazy and my thoughts have been so amazingly scattered.  Things haven't gotten less crazy or are my thoughts more organized, but I just need to write for me really.  (Maybe this will help me get back into the blog groove)

So let's go back....WAY back.

I remember senior year high school.  Mary, Grant and yours truly took a photography class together.  We made cameras out of oatmeal canisters, developed our own film, and locked ourselves in the darkroom for  the entire class period so we could sleep.  And when someone came knocking to develop their film we would  say "we can't open the door our canisters are open." This was most the time a giant fib.  We were snoozing on the floor.  However through this laziness I did find a love for taking pictures.

Moving on. {past the boring college photography course}

Shortly after me and my own Prince Charming got married I found myself with the desire to do photography again.  So I approached a talented photographer I knew just to ask if I could tag a long and learn a few things.  Well it happened to be that he needed a assistant so he hired me.
He taught me pretty much only camera basics and a little about lighting.  But mostly I was his girl on the phone covering for him why he couldn't pay his bills.  But I did learn a bit.  And I learned from a very talented photographer how to shoot with medium and large format film cameras.
However because this photographer was a crumby business man I couldn't work for him any longer.  It was the most underpaid, slave labor job of my life.  BUT like I said I did learn the essential basics..that I am grateful for.

Years went by and I still loved photography and found myself playing on Photoshop on a weekly basis, although I had NOTHING to process.  But I did.
I would delve into photography sites and wish I could be a photographer.

One Christmas Dave bought me a DSLR to replace my SLR.  I was so excited!  At this point actually being a photographer still seemed so out of reach.

Up until then I was really heavily involved with my {former} eating disorder and honestly felt like I was worthless.  I didn't think I would ever be able to do photography because too many people would pick it apart.  I was afraid to put myself out there.   So I decided just to take pictures of my girls.  On weekly basis I found myself dressing up my littles and taking pictures of them.  Then I would OVER process them in photoshop (I'm so owning up to that one.)  But as time when by I started becoming more confident in my work and in my skills that the work became better and the processing became less.

Here on this blog I got a lot of encouragement, but I was still in a place where I didn't want to be picked apart, because the worthless feeling was still so strong.
So I just day dreamed about really being a photographer.
The day dreaming got SO strong that it seemed like a reality.  So I decided to put out little feelers to see if anyone would be interested in allowing me to take their photos.

I would be lying if I said the first batch was amazing.  OH NO THEY WEREN'T! Holy cow I had a long way to go.  However I knew how to work my camera, and I knew how to focus.  But I didn't know much about lighting.  And I tried to fix everything in Photoshop.
BUT I kept shooting and shooting and shooting.  And I told myself that EVERY day I would need to work on it and learn something new.  And this is what I did.  And this is what I still do.

So as time went on my work got better and better.  I started having people...STRANGERS...ask for advice and tips.  I found this crazy because I was just learning myself.  But then I realized that I knew what they were asking because I was forcing myself to learn.
So I would kindly give them the info I knew.
THEN I had them asking for help with their own work.
I enjoyed helping others and teaching others.  I've always felt very comfortable being in a teaching position.
But as I progressed I would get down on myself thinking that I wasn't any good because I wasn't as busy as other photographers or hadn't booked oodles of weddings or shoots for that matter.
And then I realized what my calling was.  My calling as a photographer was to help others to become great photographers and as I did this I would become better myself.

And with this I have met so many amazing people and been able to teach what I know to women around the country and globe.  I am so grateful for the knowledge that my calling as a photographer isn't just for myself that it's for others.

So as I'm standing here in the now I marvel at where I've come in the time that I have.  And although it may be boastful I am proud of myself.

Photography has allowed me to not focus on my imperfections, those imperfections that really drove me to such an unhealthy place and eventually to an eating disorder.  Instead photography has allowed me to focus on a talent my Heavenly Father has given me.  And he has given me this talent to help others develop theirs too.

Not a day goes by that I don't want to encourage and help others to reach their full potential.  This is so rewarding to me.

I am grateful for my amazingly supportive husband who encourages me to become better every day.  And every day I see that I did something better then the day before.

My journey has been amazing and I can't wait to see where I go from here.

When I decided to start.  OH brother...{hanging head shamefully}

When I decided to start {these are so hard for me to look at}

Now we are talking!

Much better.

So my message to all you who are just starting out doing something you enjoy but may become discouraged with is to not give up.  To keep learning, and keep working.  If it's your calling to do whatever it is, You will be able to do it with!


Angie Ochoa said...

What a great article! Thanks for the encouragement, as I am just starting out myself. Thank you also, for giving credit where credit is due. I completely believe that ANY skill or talent that I have in ANYTHING comes from the Heavenly Father! :-)

God bless!

Angie Ochoa Photography

Mary Ann Carlile said...

I'm happy for you. Way to go!

Bryn said...

This is so what I needed! I am in fact stalking your blog a little bit.. Just reading it all backwards(: