OH 2018, you will forever hold a special place in my heart. A little over 5 years ago, I picked up a camera for the first time ever with no interest or intention of ever doing anything with it other than just having a little fun. The more I dove into it, however, the more I fell in love with it because it allowed me to connect with others in a way that my other endeavors never did. So a couple of years later, I started Wayfarer Photography, but still with some hesitance because I always feared that if I dove into it 100%, I would get to a place where it became hard to maintain a zeal and passion for it. However, the more time went on, the more people I connected with, the more friendships I developed, and the more memories I documented, my love for it only continued to grow, which brings me to 2018.
This past year, I decided to make a very monumental decision and that was to go full time with Wayfarer Photography. When I get asked how this first year has been, my response is always simply, “it’s been wild.” There’s no other way to convey it. There’s been hurdles, mountain top moments, lessons, rewards, all of the above. This year has stretched me to the max and taught me more than I could’ve ever imaged, not only as a photographer but as a person. So I wanted to start this year off by sharing some of the things that I learned in my first year of doing this full time. Thank you in advance for reading.
1. ITS ALL ABOUT PEOPLE // It doesn’t matter if you own a big corporation or a small business. If you’re in the business of people, it HAS TO be about people. With jobs in the creative arts, it can be all too easy to shift one’s focus on the art alone or on comparison, but this past year has really taught me the value of prioritizing the relationships and the people in front of my camera above the camera and art itself. This lesson sounds simplistic in nature but it has a profound effect in the long run. If you work with people in any capacity, make people your top priority.
2. MEMORIES AND MOMENTS OVER PERFECTION // This is one that has definitely taken some time for me to accept and learn. I’m a first born perfectionist so accepting anything less than “perfection” is extremely hard for me. If anything has taught me to loosen my grip on the expectation of perfection, it’s been working with little ones. If you are a parent, you know what I’m talking about, especially if you’ve had photos taken before. Working with kids can be quirky at times and you have to be prepared for any and everything. Sometimes the lighting is just right, all the kids are happy, you get everyone set up and posed perfectly, you’re feeling good, and right when you go to take the shot, one of the kids decides it’s the perfect time to start jumping and dancing.
If perfection is the objective, this scenario is far from perfect. The shots might even come out slightly blurry due to having to adjust to the fast motion of the little ones dance moves but I’ve learned that some of life’s sweetest moments are the most quirky and most unpredictable. Embrace them. I don’t know about you but at the end of the day, I would much rather have a slightly blurry photo of my family laughing our butts off (something that is a staple in our home) over a perfectly composed photo that is void of a story and memory.
3. DEFINE THE LINES // Having a job where you get to do what you love is definitely one of the sweet spots in life and comes with many rewards but there is much responsibility that comes with it. One thing I learned early on this year was that boundaries are especially necessary when what you do for fun and what you do for work look the same. It’s necessary to define when you are working and when you are simply enjoying. It’s also necessary to define when you are networking and when you are investing in the relationships in your life. Your relationships with the people you work with should look much different than the deep rooted relationships in which you get encouragement and accountability from.
4. FAILURE IS A FRIEND // It’s crazy how much we live in fear of failure. Some of us to the point of actually maneuvering our lives in such a way as to avoid it completely. But if we aren’t failing, we aren’t growing. In the world of weight lifting, in order to grow, you have to push to failure. Which basically means push it to the max till you literally can’t anymore. Why? Because it’s under tension and pressure that we learn what our limits are and it’s continuing to hit that place that we grow past it. So stop viewing failure as an enemy and start seeing it as a friend who’s there to help you grow.
5. STAY TRUE TO YOU // Comparison is the most crippling habit to any person, artist, and business owner. It’s not only beneficial, but crucial to remember that there is always someone who knows more people, who has more resources, who does better work, etc. So if you’re in a cycle of looking at others and finding yourself defeated instead of inspired, it’s time to stop, accept where you are, decide where you want to be, make a plan to get there, and start taking the steps. I’m the worst when it comes to comparing and one thing that’s helped me immensely is to constantly, and I mean CONSTANTLY, ask myself, “What do I want to be known by?”
This question has kept me grounded because I constantly see styles of photography that catch my eye and without being grounded, it’s easy to feel like a distracted kid in a candy store. Looking everywhere but nowhere at the same time. So I decided early on I want to be known for capturing simple, everyday moments that mean something. I want to be known for being someone that makes people comfortable and makes photoshoots feel fun and easy. I want to be known for being someone who cares not only about the photos, but the people in them. That’s what feels like me. So in whatever you do, filter all your choices and ideas through who you are and what’s important to you.
I want to thank you all for such an amazing year. Not only those who I had the honor of working with but everyone who’s liked a photo, went out of their way to send an encouraging message, referred a friend, or has just been following my work. You guys are the best and you make what I do fun. Let’s do this 2019, can’t wait to capture more memories :)