I've been hard at work finishing up this job and just being generally busy with the kiddos' schedules! Going through a bit of a transition trying to find my footing with taking on more freelance graphic design work as well as starting up a photography business. Time management is something I'm struggling with especially when you add children into the mix! Sometimes I feel like I have too many pots on the fire, but then I realize how lucky I am to be able to dabble in several different things professionally. As long as I'm doing quality work with whatever I'm doing, I'm okay with that.
And speaking of photography, I had the wonderful opportunity to photograph one of my college friend's and his wife's new baby, Ripley. If you are an Alien fan, you know the kick-assery of Ripley, the character. My friend Gabe and his wife Jenny are super cool people with impeccable taste in pop-culture and more, so it was no surprise to me that they gave their first child such a fantastic name.
We talked a lot about gender stereotypes during the shoot, me coming from the perspective of having boys and them with a newborn daughter. I admire how that even from the beginning, the baby just being in the womb, that it was important to them to not fall into the stereotypes of what comes with having a girl. There was no pink on anything in their baby gift registry, yet they received many pink gifts! Ha. On the other hand, I talked about how people freak out if a boy has any speck of pink on him, especially here in the South (which really is just a homophobic reaction, but I won't go into that - don't get me started!) Anyway, the irony is: look at all of this PINK in these photos! Haha.
I brought the pink/orange polka dot scarf, but made sure to ask Jenny if she was okay with me using it after hearing her concerns about pink. She said she loved it and we talked about how it's sad that there's so much baggage that comes with pink for girls AND boys, when really, if you take away all of that, it's such a beautiful color. And that is all I see: a beautiful, flattering color - not the social connotations that come with it.
I asked Jenny if she had any flowers in bloom in the yard, and as luck would have it, they had just received a beautiful bouquet as a gift that she gave me permission to pluck within an inch of it's poor life. Of course what did I choose first? The pink gerbera daisies. : ) Like I said - it's a beautiful color. I found the blue patterned basket at Home Goods and the other basket and beautiful rug at Cost Plus World Market. I'm trying to build my prop collection for my business.
I got REALLY lucky with this sweetie because she wouldn't wake up no matter how hard we tried to wake her with loud noises and talking! I was amazed. You could handle her, talk to her, change her clothes and she barely made a peep. Dream baby. She was especially peaceful when we went outside, with all of the outdoor noises lulling her to sleep. I could have crawled into that hammock beside her, it was so nice outside.
Here she is in her Mother's own sweater that her Grandmother gave her when she was a baby, and her own crocheted blankie she carried around as a child. How precious that Jenny's Mom kept these things! These are the times I realize that it IS a good thing to keep some of the boys' things for those "one-day-grandchildren" even if that time doesn't come for another decade or two!
I've been thinking a lot lately about my pursuing a photography business. It's something I've fought against for a long time. I've had family members and more for years telling me I needed to do it professionally. Honestly? For years I've balked at the idea because all I could think is "There are just too many family photographers out there. Why do we need another one?" I'm not sure why I thought that way. Because you know what? There are A LOT of people in the world who need a photographer. : )
I'm very hard on myself. I think creative people, or anyone that has a lot of ambition or a competitive bone in their body, are especially hard on themselves. It's only natural to compare yourself to others. But that is something I'm learning: comparison really has no place in your life, if you want to live a happy and fulfilled one. If you don't believe in yourself, how can someone else?
I have a lot of confidence when it comes to graphic design. I'm not sure if the fact that I have a degree in it and I've been doing it professionally for so long that I feel that I've earned that confidence in my own expertise. And I have! But I've also been doing photography for the past 10 years or so, too - something beyond a typical hobby. I'm self-taught and I feel like I've learned so much over the years, and my photography has improved because of it.
For a long time I felt that since I don't have a degree in photography or any professional training in it, I didn't feel worthy of taking pictures professionally. But you know what? That is just not something you can think these days. How many incredibly talented photographers do you know out there that are self-taught and extremely successful professionally? A LOT.
Do I think that anyone taking photos should be charging for their work? Not necessarily. But if you work hard and present a technically sound, quality product that represents your own style, voice and brand? Why not?
I've been doing a lot of reading online, looking into workshops (these here and here have caught my eye thanks to suggestions from friends on facebook), I've upgraded my camera (Canon 6D... not the rockstar, but still a huge step up from my Canon 30d I've used for the past 7 years!), I'm researching pricing... I'm trying to find where *I* fit into the the photography business world. Do I have room for improvement in many areas? Yes, doesn't everyone?
But I'm realizing that I need to just go for it. Now. Is there ever a "perfect" time? Will I ever get to a point where I "deserve" to be a professional photographer? I'm trying to be kind to myself and not be constantly nitpicking myself and my work when it comes to photography. There are people that love my style AND my photos. I'm already getting inquiries, people interested in setting up a session and I'm ready to just do.this.thing.
You know the one thing I struggle with most? How to charge people for my time and talent. Even with graphic design! I think it's because I worked for so long for OTHER people, they set the price, they dealt with clients, I just collected a paycheck. : ) It was easy. Wow, pricing myself is a whole new ballgame. What I'm trying to learn most is THAT I'M WORTH IT. My talent and experience should be valued.
It's a learning process, but I'm ready for it!
If you are a freelancer in any field, I'd love to hear your experiences with having the confidence to take your business to the next level! Any workshops that you gleaned valuable information from that really had an impact on your business? Please share! : )