Recently my daughter found the movie leap on Netflix, she finds more things to watch on their then I do. Such an amazing movie and so many ways but my favorite part is when the little girl always gets asked "why do you dance" and it takes her the whole movie to come up with the right answer.
Photography has kind of been the same for me, I know I love it, and need it and am not sure how I could function without it in my life. But to come up with the perfect words to answer the question and make it sound great and effortless is another thing.
Being an entrepreneur reminds me of this too, I wake up everyday and am grateful for what gift and talent I have been given. Their are days that are challenging and test my patience or my confidence in myself. Its such a saturated market we are a dime a dozen, but I would like to think I have a special shine that makes me unique. I keep reminding myself it never matters what others are doing it matters what I am doing for myself and my family and most importantly that I am loving it. One of my favorite quotes...
I have to remind myself of this daily. So I go back to the movie Leap, this little girl was never giving anything easy, she worked her ass off for what she truly believed in even when she didn't fit in. So far in 2018 I am working at doing the same. I want to challenge myself to improve daily, weekly and to become a better me. With this comes highs and lows but the most important thing I have learned with every new adventure I take on is I ALWAYS LEARN AND ALWAYS GROW from them.
Recently I was apart of two great things. One was a Shoot and Share photo contest. This was my first year and it was both exciting and nerve racking. Its a contest where other photographers vote on their favorite images, but the way it is set up was brilliant. You are given 4 images and need to pick one to continue and then another 4 comes up to vote again. I was addicted to voting, just hoping I would see some of my images or some of my fellow photographer friends. Meanwhile I was being inspired by all of the other images that were from around the world. There was 412,379 images total submitted to the contest and over 81 million votes in a months time. The worst part was you had no idea how you were doing until they released the results at the end. People could favorite your photo and you would get notification of this, that was the only way you knew if a photo was still in the contest. There were 12 rounds total. I was beyond excited in the 12 round to still have something left I just didn't know what it was. Here are my final images!!
I had 4 images that were in the last round and made it to be a finalist.
I submitted 50 total images
I also was a part of an image competition at a convention I go to yearly called Shutterfest. You have to put a little more skin in the game here because each submission costs money, but it is then judged and scored. They record these and you are able to watch them to hear what they say about your image and why it got the score it did. I was amazing at last year after submitting I took first place in the beauty category. Never in a million years did I expect that. So I had to watch all the videos to hear what they thought. These videos were more informational then I could have ever dreamed, they are brutal sometimes, the truth hurts but it also makes you see your images differently and helps you know how you can improve upon them.
This year I was scared to enter because I always want to do better then before, and how do you do better then first place. Still was craving that excitement and i thought to myself, the worst thing I could ever do is stop trying for fear of not being good enough. So I entered 10 images total, some got scores that stung a little and others merited which made me still proud and happy I entered. I even received a 2nd place!!! So although it was tough to see low scores one ones I had thought would have been better its truly what you make of it.
The image that that did the best in one contests actually scored the lowest in image competition. What I took away from all of this was that I can never stop trying and pushing myself to branch out and do events like this. Putting myself out there isn't always easy but the payoff is greater then the fear.
These were the two images that placed 2nd and merited.
These were all the images I submitted.
So, as I still do not have that perfect answer to " why am I a photographer" I do know that it completes me in a way that I can't even explain. I will continue to do these contests and image competitions because I love being able to challenge myself and become better at my craft, my passion, and my career.
A special thank you to a few other photographers... you know who you are, Some have helped me with the business part of it, behind the scenes that no one ever thinks about, or just being there when I needed someone to talk to. Others have pushed me to go places I might not have thought I could and I have become a better person for that. There are also those that look up to me and ask me questions and I am honored that I am able to help others become who they dream and aspire to be. This whole adventure truly is an amazing one and I look forward to each day I can walk in my shoes.