With all of the #tbt posts coming through my Facebook and Instagram feeds … it got me thinking of my own “Throw Back” Photography by Brea images. And I started scanning through some of the first shots I took in the days after my super-incredible husband gave me the nudge to purchase my first DSLR (a Nikon D90). And this is one of the ones I came across… my Dad and my nephew who was getting a huge kick out of Papa blowing air on his face.
I remember taking this image, taking it home to edit it, and showing it to my parents and my sister. The emotional reaction that I got from everyone was so fulfilling. It was a memory captured. It was a moment between a Grandpa-and-Grandson relationship that is so intensely close. It reminds me of all of us laughing in the kitchen at how much the little man loved having air blown in his face.
Now, if you are a fellow photog looking at this – you’re probably not raving about my technical abilities. (Or my editing abilities… OHHHH that editing). And that’s ok – because I’m not either. I would have shot this image so differently today and CERTAINLY would have put just a few less, um…. enhancements on it. But what’s interesting … is that this image is one of the ones that inspired me to pursue this photography journey because of the way that it made my family feel… and the way it made ME feel to take it.
I’ve been talking with a couple of women recently who are starting their own path towards a photography career. Their fears/insecurities were very similar to mine. While I loved the picture above, I compared it to other photographer’s images as I thought about starting my own business… and immediately my head was ringing with the “I’m not as good as the other photographers” or “my pictures aren’t as crisp” and “What are other photographers going to think of me and my work?” and “how will I ever get as good as the people who STUDIED this for a living?” These fears almost crippled me to a point of turning me away from the thought of trying to make this a living for me.
But as I continued to take pictures here and there – what I DID realize is that people were getting emotional reactions out of them, and it was incredibly fulfilling to me to be able to “give” that to someone with what I was doing behind the lens. I realized that I had a gift for capturing emotion, and thus, went on an intense mission to get better at doing that. I took a class to learn my camera a bit better. I sat down with a mentor to get my mindset in the right place about what I wanted my business to be. And from there, I just photographed… and photographed… and photographed… and watched YouTube tutorials, and read blogs, and studied other photographers that I admired.
And now… here I am a little over three years later still alive in this photography journey of mine. Am I a better photographer today? A thousand times yes. Am I writing this blog because I think I’ve made it? HECK no. If I’ve “made it” – consider me out of business… because the day that I think I have nothing more to learn is the day that I am doing a disservice to myself and to my clients. This isn’t about me … in fact, my hope is that if you’re reading this as as a new photographer that you’re thinking a lot about YOU.
I get asked the question a lot… “What is the best piece of advice you have for someone like me who is starting out?” (which usually comes along with a lot of self-destructing comments about how they aren’t as good as everyone else) And this picture above carries a lot of my advice. That picture is not going to win any photo competitions. But what it DID do was show me the strength that I had as a photographer (emotion) … it showed me what I loved about BEING a photographer (making people feel emotion) … and that I had a heck of a lot to learn if I wanted to make a living out of it (insert a bunch of technical terms here).
So to those of you seeking out the answer to that question… I say to you, this: if your business was named “Photography by (insert your name)” – what does that name of the person behind the camera deliver? To help you figure that out… instead of hating on your images that you’re taking in these first stages… ask yourself what you DO love about them. And what do OTHER people love about them? Is it your lighting? Is it your color? Is it your editing style? Build on that. And the things you seem to “screw up” each time? Learn how to make it better. This process is not a quick one… it takes a lot of practice and a lot of patience to build your craft. But it will go a lot faster if you recognize WHO you are, emphasize the strengths you already have, and work your butt off to improve the things that you don’t. And oh by the way… don’t worry what anyone else around you is saying in the meantime.
So. #tbt Photography by Brea.
My old images are my inspiration to pursue the thought of what I can do in my NEXT three years (and the ones after that) if I continue to put the work in. I’m not “there” by any means, but I’m “here” and I’m not afraid to say that I’m proud of that. And to those of you looking for your “here” – it will come if you’re willing to get through all of the internal bashing and the fear of the external criticism… and really take the time to find out who YOU are – and rock the heck out of that.
My daughter (2011) and my son (2014)
My daughter (Feb 2012 vs May 2014)
My nephew (2011 vs 2014)