Where did time go?
One year ago, I went for it - jumped head first into the unknown and surrendered to my passion to make something happen. I left my full-time teaching job to chase after a dream that started in my childhood and had no damn idea what would come of it or who I would be at the end of this journey. I prepared myself to fail, to cry, to experiment, and maybe, just maybe, thrive.
Here are some things I learned in my first year of freelance life:
surround yourself with people who understand that support comes in many forms
I knew going from a job that demanded extroversion from me daily to working alone in my office was going to be tough, but having people support me through the transition made it possible. The quick texts, random e-mails, and check-ins made all the difference. When busy season hit, the best way my friends and family supported me was by never judging or getting mad when I had to reschedule plans or bail last minute because I landed a gig. Confrontation isn't my jam, but when I'd text people and their response was emojis full of love and excitement, it made all the difference!
hustle hard + create for yourself
Busy season is definitely a thing for photographers, and it hit me hard this year.
I felt like a chipmunk, saying yes to everything and beyond in the summer and pushing myself to my limits. Caffeine became my best friend. But, I also tried to make time to capture for myself and to make passion projects happen. Even if they're still in RAWs on my computer, to shoot for yourself was key to maintaining my passion.
track your time
I didn't start tracking my time until a few months ago. I kept feeling like time was escaping me. It helped me realize when my mind wanders and to quantify the time that goes into prepping for a shoot or wedding. It also made me see that some days are bad days, and that's okay! It helped me balance my time more as I noticed weekends bleeding into weekdays and reminding myself to not feel guilty when I take extra time off during the week because I shot all weekend!
try to remember the ups during the downs
Damn, it's so easy to hang on to the bads - the failed shoots, the shot that had in your mind that was perfect but ended up being overexposed or out of focus, or not landing that job you wanted so badly. It was insane how many times I was high off of a beaming e-mail response from a client, to receive one criticism later that week, and be down in the dumps for days or how easily I forgot how many jobs I desperately wanted and landed after being passed on for another client. I'm still working on this one, and trying to remember that having bad days are a part of any job.
snapchat is life
I was never a snapchat person. I resisted it for years, feeling that instagram was all I needed. Now, I am the biggest advocate for snapchat. There's something to be said when you can see your friend or family's eyes (even if they're masked under a filter) and to be able to share the tiny, most ridiculous moments with others. Snapchat was definitely a distraction on screen days, but they were also a saviour that makes me feel remembered and loved.
lead with kindness
I shot a networking event once where we discussed business strategies and I admitted that I didn't have one, other than trying to be myself and to be kind. I try to be as honest and transparent with my clients as possible - admitting what areas of photography are my strong suits and where I'm still working on things, being realistic with return dates, and setting clear expectations for shoots. I try to make every business decision with humanity, and though some may feel that this hurts my bottom line, but dang, you catch way more bees with honey.
What does next year bring?
No clue! I started this journey with big dreams and high hopes, but unclear expectations, and that's the attitude I'm bringing into my second year freelancing.
I am trying to learn from my lessons and starting a new monthly newsletter as a personal project! I've realized there's so much more to learn and the best way to do that is to talk to people and hear about their experiences. This year's theme for my newsletter is: Go For It! I'll be interviewing freelancers, small business owners, and entrepreneurs who chased their dreams and came out, alive, on the other side.
Join me, why don't ch'ya?
Insane amounts of love to the man behind the lens who dealt with my awkward nature to snap these photos. I've never walked away from a photoshoot feeling like someone captured my spirit just right, like he did.
Show him some love!