I think this years post is going to be more about the road blocks I faced this year and how I learned from those roadblocks.
How the year ended is not how I ever imagined in a million years that it would end. It seems as though the years really begin to blend together. Harder and harder to figure out what my mistakes, accomplishments and failures were for the year as they merge into one big uphill journey and rocky adventure.
The year started off with a butterfly on model Grace's beautiful face, then veered to a direction where I was shooting with multiple models exploring beauty, femininity what it means to be a female. I began to shoot more film this year and that was rewarding. I started a series called secret Garden then veered away from fashion and conceptual work to build and work on my wedding business. At this time I was also going through a creative block with my conceptual work. By the end of the year I found out a lot about myself. Some of those things were unpleasant but alas growing is the only way to move forward in life, work and creatively. So here's what I learned in true list form.
1. Creative Blocks are soul crushing but worth it.
No one ever asks for a creative block. Having the eagerness to get out there and create something but having no idea's or thirst is very disappointing. I went through 6 months of a creative block. What people don't understand is this didn't mean that I couldn't take any photos at all. Of course I still had my camera in hand. I was still working as a photographer. It just meant that when I wanted to shoot concepts or creatives I was drained.
I felt pretty low at the time, but an amazing thing happened. As I spent time completely focusing in on other aspects of photography (my business, client work) I had given myself a bit of a break. A break from the complexities of having to constantly create and have work published, tons of sewing and creating as well as reaching out. I gave myself a well needed break from all of that and when I was ready to jump in again I could do so with a very clear mind. (check out my video on creative blocks here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qzu_6aFleDw&list=UU2wE0XSNilWItnsKpd-36JQ)
2. Running your own business is hard but can be very rewarding.
I dove in head first this year. I started to think about branding, marketing and so much more. I didn't really have a lot of experience in business... Okay I had no experience. Surrounding myself with people who helped me grown and could challenge me and my business moves was extremely helpful. I learned so much from just throwing myself into the whirlwind.
There are still many areas in which I need to build and also challenges I need to overcome but this was the year that I really became a working photographer and yes it is very rewarding. I learned new skills and new ways to overcome. (Check out my video on being a working photographer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SlVFt7nhY_M&list=UU2wE0XSNilWItnsKpd-36JQ&index=8)
3.Sometimes you need to be challenged, the hard way.
I am an extremely stubborn person. When I have an idea or thought it's my way or the highway but this year I started to take in the opinions of people I trusted. There are a lot and I mean a lot of things I didn't want to hear but I'm glad I did. Even if in the end I still disagreed I learned the importance of someone else's advice. I am still a strong believer that advice should only be taken if it's coming from someone you trust will be honest and open with you.
My husband is this person for me. He challenges me a lot when it comes to my photography and business and there are times where I want to throw things at him but in the end I am grateful for his advice and opinions.
Balance is a huge one for me this year and I am still searching for it. I think it's what I want more then anything. More then success more then achievements. If I can find balance I know everything will be alright. I need that ying and yang. It isn't easy being an entrepreneur and artist but I know balance is out there.
5. Just jump in, head first and be okay when your head hits the pavement and cracks.
It never fails time and time again when I just get off my lazy butt and try something I either get rewarded or I fail miserably and both are awesome. One feels better yes but one is better in the long run. Every time I just decided to reach out to someone or find a way to get myself out there I have achieved a goal or failed.
This year I found a way to get a gallery show ready for 2015. I always thought this was going to be a very difficult thing to accomplish turns out it happened a lot quicker then I expected. Determination is key. It really never fails you even when you feel like you failed. The greatest thing about failure is that it makes the fire under your feet that much hotter and the flame that much bigger.
6. Screw it do what you love.
One of the things that comes along with doing anything artistic is negativity. Positivity is there too but I find it's human nature for us hold on to the negative words and thoughts much longer then the positive ones. I have had it all, I have been online bullied by other photographers (yup that happened) told my work was awful, it's too fairytale, it's not edgy, too European I have heard the words "No" a lot. I have had inquiries and never heard back. I have been told my work isn't worth the prices I think it is and at the end of the day none of that really matters. I have held back on shooting concepts because I was afraid of criticism I was afraid I would be compared to others.
I woke up one day and realized if this was the last day of my life how pitiful it would have been that I had a talent and I was only using it to please others. I love what I do with all my heart. Photography is how I breathe. Just go out there and create images you love and don't worry about anything else.
7. Giving is so much better then receiving.
This year I created something called Fairy tales for Charity. It is in it's beginning stages just a small seed of a much larger vision I have for the future of fairytale photography and children who need our help. Having a goal that is so much bigger then me is the most rewarding feeling in the world. I know I can't stop because there are now people who rely on me to make this happen.
During my creative block I had a lot of time to think about my work, my business and what fulfills me. I began to think about what the photography industry was like in 2008 when I first began shooting with my dslr. I thought about community and helping others. It was more then just a longing to help other photographers but a part of me that knew I was very lucky to have the life that I do.
I researched charities and decided that it was time to get involved in something. Something I could do where my work meant more then just being creative for me or gaining attention and praise. It's all starting already with my series secret garden and the plans I have for the future of the project are massive.
This year I learned that helping others is something that I can do, and it has become the greatest aspect of my life.
So there it is 7 things I have learned this year. I could go on and on but I think these really were the top spots for me. I can't wait to jump in head first and hit the pavement. Either landing on my feet or cracking my head open. I'm ready.