I have always known that it is one thing to have family and friends encourage me and tell me what a wonderful job I do at taking pictures but it's a whole different ball game when you put yourself out there for professional strangers to critique your work. I joined a forum called Clickn Moms a few weeks ago and quickly realized this was something I should of done a long time ago. The atmosphere there is friendly and encouraging while at the same time chock full of things I have yet to learn. There are plenty of ladies who are team members that are encouraging yet honest with you. I have had a goal in mind of formally starting my business on September 27th of this year. That quickly changed after a critique of website yesterday. I have worked hard at building my site but knew I have reached the point where I could no longer continue building it with out some input from people who know the business. So, yesterday I posted a link to my site on the forum asking for serious critique. I do not have my head in the clouds and think that I have it all figured out. I KNOW I still have a long way to go and honestly want help. I geared my self up and was willing to take what ever anyone dished out. While no one was straight up mean to me, some were a little abrupt with their critique and while they offered valid points they didn't follow up with any thing encouraging. THAT can be hard to take, even if you are ready and willing to take it.
I honestly have a desire to be the best that I can be and want to continue learning so that I can keep moving forward. A photographer that I follow and just love to death offered a break out session on Clickn Moms that I purchased for a relatively cheap $50 and in no way regret that purchase!! Last week I also signed up for an online class on Manual Shooting at CM that starts in October and I can hardly wait for it. There is also a Lightroom class that I am going to take in November that has me drooling at the thought of it!! Money is an issue for me simply because it is. This venture of mine obviously has to be paid for out of pocket so I have to wait for the right times. I've known for a while now that because I am such a slow learner I have reached the point of not being able to truly move forward in my skill on my own. I'm okay with that because I truly want to get better and start producing consitently. And there is so much about Lightroom that I do not know and am painfully slow to learn on my own. I made the decision to start shooting in RAW instead of JPEG to hopefully be able to do a better job in post processing. And I can tell such a difference. I struggle with white balance and it's much easier to correct when doing post processing with a RAW file.
While I will keep on keeping on (because slow and steady wins the race) I will not formally start my business this Friday. I probably wont do it until the first of 2014 sometime. While I am a little bummed about that, I'm okay with it because I keep going back to an experience I had with a "professional" photographer a few years ago. While the fee she charged wasn't too astronomical and I got all my images on a CD, she only produced about 3 good pictures. I've kept that experience in the back of my mind ever since I started this journey to becoming a professional photographer because I never want to get that type of reputation. While I know I am sure to encounter clients that are difficult I want to know that I KNOW what I am doing. I never want to take someones hard earned money and not produce at least 15-20 images that are worthy of being blown up and hung on a wall for families to enjoy for years to come.
I feel the need to also add that while I still have a long way to go, I would not be where I am today with out the love and encouragement from all my family and friends on Facebook and who read my blog. And to those friends and family that have allowed me or even asked me to take pics of you or your sweet kiddos, I owe SO MUCH to you. Thank you for saying how beautiful your pics were even when they were not. Looking back at some of the earliest stuff I did.....ugh! Cannot wait to improve and do some re-do's!!!! And there are a hand full of you who, if you had not said such kind things about my photography on such a regular basis, I never would of thought that I am talented enough to try and make my dream come true and I would never of had the courage to take the steps to start making it happen. So from the bottom of my heart I thank you all for your love and support and kind words on a daily basis. I will forever be grateful to you!!
I know I keep rambling but I just want to say one more thing. Yesterday was gloomy around here for the afore mentioned reasons and the fact that the people who we had high hopes of buying our house have basically cooled their jets and are taking the time to look at a few other houses. They haven't formally told us we are no longer an option for them but I just have this gut feeling that we wont be by the end of the week. Boo hoo!!!! Today while Olivia and I were in the big T doing some grocery shopping I stopped at Chick Fil A for lunch. As I was pulling up to the window to pay I had the thought to try and bless some one else's day since my day was not looking so bright. So I paid for the lady's lunch that was behind me in line. I've never done something like that before but what a blessing I received for doing it. I hope my intentions were pure because I honestly wanted to help someone. She drove a nice car and looked nicely dressed so I'm sure she could afford her lunch but you never know what people are struggling through in life and perhaps she needed to have something nice done for her. Or maybe not. Maybe by me, a complete stranger, showing an act of kindness towards her she will in return have compassion on someone who really and truly needs it today. Or another day in the future. And by all of this the Lord's undying love, mercy and compassion will shine through and He will be glorified. I hope you all have a blessed day and week!!