Be The Change

I am going to go a bit off topic on this blog from what I normally post.  First of all it is my blog so I can get more personal from time to time and today is that time.

I want to address those who are “devastated” by the choice American made for President of the United States.  First he is not the ideal choice….the ideal choice was eliminated early on.  Next I will address what real devastation is.

Real devastation is waking up and finding out your father has passed away, and you are nine months pregnant.  Real devastation is finding out your child has cancer and won’t live to see his/her teen years or even his/her first birthday.  Real devastation is finding out you have cancer and you’re not sure if you can overcome it.  Real devastation is a parent burying their child who has died tragically.  Real devastation is coming back from battle and being treated like a third class citizen; maybe missing limbs and your dignity and dealing with the horrors you experienced in your tenure overseas.  Real devastation is seeing your fellow man being treated as less than human, no matter who they voted for.  Real devastation is experiencing the horrors of a tornado, flood, hurricane or earthquake and have nothing left of your existence that you worked so hard to build.  Real devastation is waking up wondering how you are going to feed your children because you have to pay the rent and you don’t have anything left for food.  Real devastation is finding out someone you love has taken their life. Real devastation is being homeless and not knowing if you will be alive in the morning because of your circumstances.  Real devastation is not having water to drink, try going a day with out any beverage that requires clean water to make.

Wake up…….

If you are upset over how things are going then volunteer.  There are plenty of opportunities for you to help those who need it.  Homeless shelters, soup kitchens, organizations to help those with cancer, nursing homes where people have no family to spend time with or who care about them, volunteer with habitat for humanity and help build someone a home, donate to worthy gofundme causes, pet shelters where animals could use a little love. If you don’t like the political climate then volunteer for your party of choice. There is a whole plethora of other organizations who could use someone ready to make a change in lives.

I have experienced many of the real devastations life has to offer and I am still here, the sun came up and yes they affected me and still affects me, but they have not made me bitter,  instead have allowed me to understand, care and love deeper.

We are the change, not a man in an office.  Love and cherish the people around you.  Feed a homeless person, give them YOUR coat if it’s cold out. Have integrity, show people what it means to be passionate about a cause, but do it in love; be the change.

Competition

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YES bassist Chris Squires (1948-2015)

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.

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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.

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Like Spring, Change is in the Air

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Spring is a great time for renewing……

For many months I have been contemplating making some majors changes.  Even though I have made a good amount of change in my life, I knew I needed more.  I also began really looking at my business and  even though I love every photograph I take I realized that I need to direct my energies into something a bit more specific.  I enjoy every aspect of photography, from meeting people to the last image I work on, but I know success will come from specializing, so as of right now I am taking myself out of a couple of markets.

I have had this pull of wanting to photograph women over forty. I feel we are such a neglected group of people.  At this age we are raising children or may be getting ready to hatch them out of the nest, but we are so busy we neglect ourselves.  We are no longer in family photos because most of the time we are the photographer or we are uncomfortable with how we look because we simply don’t have the time to take care of our own needs and have let ourselves go.  As I have shared in prior posts I was so guilty of this, for as many great vacations our family went on, I have lots of photos of my ex-husband and our boys, but none of myself and it makes me incredibly sad to think they don’t have photos of their mom. When I’m gone how are their kids and grandkids going to remember me?

I have shared this before; it took me stepping in front of a camera to understand how important it is.

This brings me to my changes…..I have changed my look totally and I have also changed my reach on photography. I will continue doing events and concerts because I truly love the challenge of them, but when it comes to portraiture work I am scaling back on weddings and families and I am going to focus on women, specifically women over forty.  I feel this is where I should be.  I will only photograph weddings and family portraits when they are referred, but I will no longer solicit for them.

I am in the process of creating some studio space for myself so that I can invite clients to my home for a shoot if needed, although my passion is being outdoors and getting the perfect images with nature all around. I am in the process of re-evaluating where my pricing needs to be to make a living at doing what I love.

It’s not an easy road, but it will be a wonderful journey even if the road gets too bumpy and I think I should turn back, I won’t! Photography is my passion and I will live my dreams.  I also need to nurture my relationships with others, my tendency is to steamroll into whatever I am doing and neglect the people I care about, but I have learned I must have healthy relationships and make sure those I care about know it.  I must also take care of my emotional and physical needs and  allow myself to be taken care of from time to time.  Also, I simply must take my camera out for a day of shooting either alone or with friends, but I must do it.  Life is all about the journey and what we leave behind.  What is your legacy?

2014 A Year in Review

 

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The year of change

Looking back through this year, I am simply humbled by what has transpired. The concerts and artists I have been fortunate enough to photograph has been incredible, I have worked with some of the best folks in the business from radio, television and beyond.  Venue management has been incredible to work with from locally in Fort Myers throughout the Tampa Bay area, just top-notch all the way.  I’ve had some incredible referrals from those I’ve worked with and photographed for which has opened up some amazing opportunities and I am so very grateful for them.  I’ve had my work featured on some major artist’s social media outlets which just astonishes me; it simply staggers my mind to know they are looking at my work.  And I have been able to meet a lot of new people in areas I would have never expected.

2014 was all about change and learning who I was as a photographer, going into the new year I wasn’t quite sure what direction I wanted to take with my photography, I knew I wanted to film events, but beyond that I still wasn’t sure. After engaging in a few different subject matters I know what and who I want to shoot.  The concerts, festivals and events are my number one choice for photography; I love the lights and bending my creativity to make the lighting work around the artists.  I have also found I enjoy weddings, especially the small destination weddings, but I really enjoy shooting them more than I thought I would initially, and I get to work with my favorite photographer, my son Tommy.  The other subject I enjoy immensely is shooting women over 40, I find that empowering and also joyful for myself and for them, especially when they see how beautiful they are.  Finally I will continue to relax by heading to the woods, ‘Glades or a local zoo and simply shoot what I want. This keeps me balanced and focused on what really matters.

This year also taught me all about those who have supported me and how incredible they are.  One of my very dear friends has fought the battle of her life, but will be starting out 2015 completely cancer free!  I love my friends, they understand me and have been there to cheer me on.   I have made a few new friends too, those who went from being acquaintances to full-fledged friends.  I can’t imagine life without them now.

Looking to the Future

With 2015 right around the corner I have to come up with my next steps in my five-year plan;  I need to sit down with pen and paper and write out what I would like to see for this next year that will fit within my goals.  I’m a planner and goal setter and for things to happen in my world I must have a plan.

2014 – This was the year for getting my feet wet as a photographer, deciding what I wanted to focus on and where I want to take this awesome business.

2015 – This will be the year of marketing myself more, hitting  major goals such as becoming an LLC and setting up a full business plan and scope of services and opening more doors for myself.  I know I’m good enough and I am constantly wanting to learn new techniques and learn from those more seasoned.

2016 – Begin the transition to becoming a full-time photographer

2017 – Open a fully operating gallery and studio

2018 – Retiring from full-time job and taking on photography full-time with my son Tommy

These are lofty goals and I know I will hit each one of them.  I don’t need to compete with anyone as my work speaks for itself and those who are in front of my lens are there for a reason.  I have been blessed with a talent, but more than that I have been blessed with the passion, to hold a camera, to view what is in my lens and to create greatness from that image.  A long time friend told me recently that my dad would be incredibly proud of me for where I have taken this love, and I understand now, what I did not understand then, my dad had a passion for capturing images and freezing time; it was his superpower.  This year I will make it mine.

Happy 2015 Everyone!