Yesterday, while I was backing up my iPhone and going through the 7,000+ pictures I somehow managed to rack up (I know it's been awhile), I started looking at the pictures near the top of my camera roll. That's when it hit me. I realized that it's been almost exactly one year since I officially started this crazy new journey!
Last August, instead of getting ready to return to a college campus like the rest of my friends, I was a college dropout excitedly, and somewhat naively, holding a fancy new camera I hardly knew how to use. I had never shot in manual. I barely knew what aperture and ISO were. I was building a new brand and website from the ground up, and basically only had enough work in my portfolio to fill up the homepage. Rough drafts of my first ever logo were being dreamed up, and there were so many little things I knew had to come together in order to get my little business off the ground. But while there were so many things I was unsure of, there was one thing I was sure of and that was I loved photography. Because of that, I was determined to figure the rest out.
Now here we are and August has already rolled around again. I can't believe it's already been a year, but at the same time I'm sitting here with a lot of gained knowledge and experience that I couldn't have even imagined a year ago. I've attended several workshops both in Denver, and around the country, taught by nationwide/worldwide known photography industry leaders. I've second shot with a well-known wedding photographer, I shot and helped plan my first styled wedding shoot and I've worked with well-known artists and models. I now only shoot in manual, ISO and aperture no longer sound like a foreign language to me, I have created a brand and website I am proud of and I'm even more in love with photography than I was when I first started.
I get to be creative everyday and my "job" hardly feels like work, and just that alone brought a year full of amazing ups. But just like everything else in life, there have also been times that can't be sugarcoated. I've always appreciated some good ol' transparency and honesty so I'm not going to sit here and pretend like it's been great and easy every step of the way, because it hasn't and still isn't at times.
While I didn't expect this first year to be free of trials, nothing can really prepare you for when they do come along. With any true risk comes failure, disappointment, closed doors and a lot of self discovery. There's no guide that gives anyone a step by step guaranteed success plan on how to start a small business at the of 20, or any age for that matter! And there's no guide that explains how to perfectly handle the self-doubt and anxiety that can come with turning a new chapter.
I quickly learned that no one has it all together, and that reality is far from perfectly curated Instagram feeds and the pretty pictures that fill them. Even though there are many beautiful moments, there are also moments that are messy and very "un-Instagram worthy". Life isn't supposed to be perfect, and I've learned to embrace that.
So through all the ups and downs and taking it all one day at a time, I have arrived at the place I am now. I have so much more to learn, but when I reflect on this past year I can truly say I'm proud of how far I've come and I'm excited to see where this next year will take me.
As cliche as it sounds, don't let fear or anyone else's opinion stop you from chasing what you know and feel is right. If I hadn't taken a risk, I'd be entering my Senior year in college with a lot of "what ifs". Anything that is worthwhile is probably going to scare the sh*t out of you at some point, but have faith in yourself, and have faith that if God brings you to it, He will definitely bring you through it. :)
With all that said, go get em' this week, and remember Faith > Fear.
P.S. I just want to say a huge thank you to all the amazing people in my life who have been so so supportive of me during this first year. Whether you've literally supported my business, or have just encouraged me with countless kind words, all of it has meant more to me than you'll ever know. Cheers to another year and many more adventures! xx
Photo creds to the lovely Jenna Kutcher.