One of the most difficult habits to break is comparing my work to the work of others. There are those moments when I look at my current work and I’m not happy, I don’t see the quality I want or the creativity I desire, and I get frustrated. The work may not be horrible, but it’s not good, it’s not the type of work I strive for and I become really tough on myself and even doubting and fearing that I’m not any good.
I have to take a step back and ask myself, why do I feel this way? What caused me to underestimate myself? What can I do to improve my current thoughts about my work.
To answer those questions I simply need to take a step back and regroup. Look at my work from a different perspective and try to figure out how I can improve.
Concert work is wonderful, but there are variables I have to deal with, such as lighting, venue and energy of the room, things I have zero control over. However, I do have control how my camera picks up the light, I have control over where I point my camera and I have control over my own energy. I need to stop making excuses and use those times of bad lighting to improve my camera skills, to work my scene and get the right angle even if I’m shooting all the way in the back, and I need to be truly excited about what I’m doing, and stop comparing my work to someone else.
Time seems to be passing by way to quickly these days, I barely find myself catching up with one thing and it’s already on to another. I will say it has been a fabulous year and has ended with a bang.
I was able to photograph a lot of great bands and to work several large festivals, which is always fun. I have met some incredible people and have broadened my social network. Last fall I joined a little photography Meet-Up group and fell in love with the people, many have become really good friends and we have all grown together. We have learned and participated in numerous excursions and enjoyed each other’s company.
I have expanded my business this year to include a small home studio, it’s not perfect, but it works for me and that’s really all that matters. I have stayed busy with portraits and weddings and hope to increase that business next year. I was told this year my wedding price is too expensive , but the potential clients who said this got exactly what they paid for by not using a professional. I learned this is not my battle to face, because I am geared to a certain type of client and I will gladly allow the them to learn their lesson.
This year I finally purchased my dream lens; the Canon f2.8 70-200mm. This lens is awesome for my concert/wedding and portrait photography.
I am looking for 2016 to be bigger and better than ever. I have had an invitation to go to Vietnam and photograph a resort there and will be working out the details of that potential trip and my son may go with me; I can’t think of anyone I would rather work with more than him. Which brings me to another note, he will be opening his first full solo photography art show on January 9, 2016 and will run through the end of February. I’m excited for him as he is quite talented and has captured the flora and fauna of the Everglades quite well.
Another new feature for this new year is the rebranding of my business. I unveiled a new logo and will incorporate it within my website/blog and all social media. I have also finally changed my Facebook page web address from the former kdphotocreations to: http://www.facebook.com/photocreationsbydeb. This was two years in the making, but at the time I had recently ordered business cards that had this address on it and needed to use them up; I received my new business cards and now I am ready to put a final note on a past element of my business.
I hope to do a lot more teaching this next year and expand on my basic digital camera workshops and add editing to the mix. I also want to be involved with a few more communities. I will include myself in the need to be taught, I am constantly wanting to improve my own skills and continue to grow and simply be better. Learning is huge for me, and there areas I struggle with, but I try to find those who can teach me. If you are unwilling to learn and add to your craft, your craft will die a slow agonizing death, I’m not willing to allow that to happen.
Each year for the past couple of years I have adopted a new word for the year, instead of setting unreachable new year resolutions. I have grown in leaps personally by applying these words to my life almost daily. I began with ‘authentic’ and last year was ‘joy’, this year it will be ‘creative’ and I will do whatever I need to keep up my creativity. I have a plan to create a wonderful show for a museum or gallery. I will expound more on this once I am confident of the progress and talk to the powers that be in order to create this wonderful exhibit. I will say it’s something that is extremely close to my heart and it’s going to be wonderful.
So as my eyes shift from the rearview to looking forward, I would like to wish you and yours a very Happy, Prosperous and Exciting New Year, hug your loved ones more, and enjoy time spent with those you care about.
First let me say the title of this blog post is a bit misleading. You see I am not in competition with anyone, I am a photographer who is confident in her work and who is constantly taking classes and being mentored by pro’s who have been doing it for a lot longer than I have. I feel this is a key element to my growth, I must continue learning; I also enjoy sharing my knowledge to those just beginning too.
Interestingly enough I recently was “accosted” on a facebook concert photography group because I stated I shoot so I don’t have to edit and was told that it was impossible to do, well I’m here to tell you 95% of my concert photos are straight out of camera. I do try to get it right in camera which saves editing time and I am able to get the photos placed in a gallery before the concert is a “past thought” and out of the mind of the fans. I am also a Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and various other social media user and it’s imperative that I follow the subject I am photographing. More than once this has paid off with my photo being shared and used within the social media world of the artist; this is a success to me.
Back to competition, I’m not speaking about online competitions which have no bearing to my photography or my over-all self-esteem. I don’t need to “prove” I am worthy to the general public, I receive that often with simply posting my photographs in social media. Nothing beats having artist management contact you to use your photos within their social media page! One day I am sure to venture in the world of photographic competition, but when I do it will be for something a lot more prestigious than a simply “attaboy” in an online gallery. The competition I am writing about is that which something deep inside says “I must be better than everyone else” or I am a failure. You see I had this mindset for a few years, thinking that everyone was so much better than I am. This sort of self-talk degrades a person’s self-esteem, trust me I have been the queen of negative self-talk. A couple of years ago it finally dawned on me, I don’t need to be in competition with anyone except myself; to challenge myself to become better and grow in knowledge of my camera and all aspects of photography. As soon as I changed this mindset I began to draw clients and create opportunities that few will ever realize in their life. I competed with myself and I am winning! I am in more venues that I could have ever imagined. I have been privileged to photographed rock bands, country artists and met some incredible people along the way. I have photographed happy brides and ladies diagnosed with cancer in their most vulnerable moments, and I have photographed some incredibly beautiful women who would not allow just anyone to take their photo; to me this is success and to think I didn’t have to enter any competitions to do any of this. Keeping a positive attitude and a smile on my face is my way of life. It’s amazing how many incredible people you draw into your life when you are positive and upbeat. Every single day I look at how far I have come in just a few short years and I am really excited about where my future will take me, I know it’s going to be somewhere great! Why do I know this? Because I am in competition with no one, but mysef.
I was given an encouragement recently to “ride the wave, baby” and I’ve been thinking about what that actually means. I’ve had an incredible year, I have allowed my talents and gifts to grow and I’m constantly trying to improve my work as a photographer. It seems as if one wonderful thing after another has been coming my way, with so few setbacks they are not even worth mentioning. Not to say there hasn’t been rough patches, there has been, but I don’t dwell on them as I would have in the past. It was said that maybe I’m no longer interfering with the flow of my own energy. I had to think about that statement too and what that really means.
I have always been a bit of a perfectionist, from the time I was young, I didn’t like erasing on my paper or if writing in pen I had a difficult time crossing through because I would want to start over on a clean sheet of paper. I have always had the need to do things perfectly. It was a fear of never being good enough. I have carried this perfectionism through most of my life and into adulthood and I know in looking back it has interfered with relationships; not intentionally, yet I would expect those around me to adhere to the same standards and become upset when it didn’t happen and not always expressing it outwardly, I would keep that disappointment deep within my mind. This created a lot of stress within myself and my relationships and I made some poor choices. It also caused me to listen to the negative voices of not being good enough. It’s an extremely self-centered and self destructive way to be. I’ve learned some difficult lessons, but I have learned to “let it go” The full journey actually began over two years ago when I laid my worrying to rest through the guidance of my friend Karen Ziegler’s book Freedom From Worry* based on scripture Phil. 4:6&7. I also started being thankful for everything in my life, and still keep a gratitude journal almost daily. This has allowed me to open up and to be more authentic and to remove the blockage which in turn opened my eyes to the fact that I needed to eliminate toxic relationships from my life, not an easy task but needed and very freeing. Immediately, wonderful things began happening, people entered my life who were only on the sidelines before and have given me a lot of wisdom and encouragement. I am so thankful for each one of them. I have found an outlet for writing and of course foremost, there is my photography which has taken off by leaps to where it was. I have made some incredible contacts and have projects in the works. Blessings are happening daily and sometimes minute by minute and now I take the time to be thankful for all I’ve been given. And, yes even though I don’t totally understand it all, I am going to ‘ride this wave’ of positive energy as it is only building in momentum.
The only other thing that could possibly make this any better is to have a life partner who shares my enthusiasm; after all life is better shared, yet I am wonderfully blessed with friends and family who share in my successes as I ride through this incredible life we’ve been given, I encourage every reader to ‘ride the wave’. Practice gratitude and take the most important people with you on your journey.
*Karen Ziegler is in process of writing another book and I was honored to be the one to take the headshot for this newest book.
One of the most difficult things for me as a photographer is to be comfortable in front of the camera. My job is to make my clients comfortable and to allow them to relax so that I can show them how beautiful they really are. Now fast forward to this Mother’s Day weekend, here I am with my photographer youngest son who is going to take me on a journey of self discovery in front of the camera. I trust him fully as he knows me better than anyone, and knows how I feel about being in front of the lens instead of behind it. This is where my journey of self-discovery and empowerment begins. We took off for behind his place of residence which is within the Big Cypress Preserve, we were sure to be alone and I could really try and let go without anyone but him watching me. At first I felt awkward and out of control, but soon I started to really enjoying the attention. His gentle coaxing me into posing was exactly what I needed. Tommy has an incredible artistic eye and was able to pull things from me, no one else would be able to do. I had him use my camera and even though he was a bit uncomfortable at first he soon took charge and got the images we were both wanting. I can tell you as a woman who battles her weight and looks, I was totally out of my comfort zone with this.
Six months out of a destructive relationship where I never felt good enough or attractive enough, I have found who I really am; a beautiful over 50 woman! I also realized if someone does not like how I look or my size, it’s not my problem, it’s theirs and I will not allow anyone male or female to make me feel less than I am. It’s not my concern if they are too shallow and/or insecure and must make themselves feel better by being destructive with someone else’s feelings. I control my own emotional weather.
I could tell by my son’s excitement that he was capturing magic, and I was getting more excited to see what he had taken. He would stop now and then and show me an image he really liked. My goal as a photographer is to make women feel beautiful and to show them the images I create on their behalf is who they really are. I made New Year’s resolution for 2014 to be more authentic and to live my life being more open and expressing who I am as a woman. I have my friend Karen Ziegler to thank for opening my eyes to this revelation and in doing so I have become the happiest I’ve been in years and I’m no longer afraid for people to see the ‘real’ me which has made me stronger and I what I want in life.
My passion is to present to woman just like me, a way to show their beauty. I purposely didn’t edit my photos to show I have freckles, eyes that disappear when I laugh and I am not a size 2, but I love how I look and I love who I am. I am a real woman full of life and ready to take on whatever God has for me. My past is simply that, my past and my future is going to be exciting, but my NOW is amazing and I would not change anything.
So o all the beautiful ladies reading this, I encourage you to go out and enjoy a full photo session, find a photographer you like and are comfortable with and let go of all your fears and foremost be real, show the world how beautiful you are. Ladies Empower yourself, live authentically and never allow anyone to treat you less than you deserve. Until next time, I will catch you behind the lens.