Some of you may know that I had knee surgery the day before Thanksgiving. So, with that said...I have been sitting/laying here with my leg up thinking. :-)
I have been thinking about many things business related. Things such as the new studio being built and my husband working with me. All things I am grateful for. And then, I began to think about why I am a photographer and how rewarding this career has become. In my baby business stages, my take on my duty as a photographer was completely different than it is now. This is where I want take you with this blog....a little explanation of who I've become as a photographer and how it has changed the way I run my business.
---WARNING: The words you are about to read are the words that fly around in Melissa DeWitt's head after surgery. If they sound loopy I promise I am not. This may be long, drawn out, and maybe just not make any sense.---
Photography was a hobby, something every now and then I did with a film camera. I had semester after semester of photography in high school, but I never *understood* photography. For me then, it was plainly snapping a button and watching how cool it turned out...plus in high school Mr. Roberts (the photography teacher) was an awesome laid back teacher. Who didn't want to be in his class? He really started to bring out that more creative side of photography for me. I began to take images of things I found more interesting...things that showed emotion. At that point, I realized how awesome photography really is due to it's ability to invoke/provoke emotion. Ainsel Adams and other photographers mentioned in text books were the only photographers I knew of. I never realized how different photography can be per photographer, but I knew I liked photography.
Then, after college, where I did not study photography, I once again picked up the camera to photograph my kiddos. Talk about provoking emotion. New ball game. Realizing this was something I enjoyed and loved to capture, I began photographing events for my friends purely for fun, and eventually it turned into a legit business.
When I first started, I wanted so many clients because I wanted to take SO.MANY.PICTURES! I loved it. It was fun, exciting, and a great way to supplement my husbands income while doing something creative. I don't want to say I did not take it seriously, but it was a learning experience. Remember, I knew nothing about photography except for high school classes. I snapped pictures here and there, and eventually it seemed like that is all I was doing. I wasn't focusing on what I wanted my images to look like or where I wanted my business to go. I was taking millions of images, okay exaggeration, and I felt like I was drowning. Yes, I had a lot of clients. But what kind of photographer was I? I didn't know who I was as a photographer and neither did my clients.
This business is only almost 3 years old. It took me a good year and a half to figure this out > There is more than one type of photography and IF what I think looks good doesn't fit what others call good then it doesn't mean I am wrong. It means that what I like is *my art*, my taste. Essentially *that* very thought of the last sentence is what created my style and how I found it. I focused on *my photography*. I finally found a processing style that I loved and wanted to only bring in clients that would be attracted to my art. I felt so overwhelmed at trying to please everyone and customizing the processing to fit *them* I finally realized it would be much easier if I stayed true to my art and my style for then it would bring clients who appreciated it as art! Win.Win.
I then began to see the collective process I made to create one image. Session consulting, prop/backdrop prepping, wardrobe prepping for clients, the session, processing the images with my own sauce...it all became a process of mine. It was how I became an artist and styled my images to fit me instead of fitting into a "thought" of how photography could be. I have worked at trying to create a constant "look" with my images so you know when you hire me you get that look. My style inflicted on your images.
My whole disposition changed. I was photographing smiles, deep true smiles. Not just happy faces. I was photographing a new human being who just left their mothers womb...not just a newborn. I was photographing the stages of a family, their growth and love...not just a mom/dad/and their kids. I was *creating* through my camera lens with what *I* thought was beautiful.
This created the bigger picture. I shared this long drawn out thought processes with my hubby...I am sure he loved every moment of it. His interest in photography grew and he has became quite good I must say. We made a decision we wanted to both work from home, spend more time with our kids, and run the business together. And, this is what we are making steps toward for the near future. We also decided we needed a larger studio, one that can show clients who we are as photographers and give clients the experience we want them to have. We no longer want to just take pictures of your smiling faces, but we want you to see the art of it. Your beautiful smiling faces are honest, loving, so compassionate and real. But we want this emotion to match you with a piece of art that compliments you and your home whether that is in the form of canvases, albums, prints, or digital files. We want to offer you real art for your home.
So, what the heck does all of this mean. Well, I guess I can say that at the beginning I didn't know I was an artist. I was just someone who pushed a button. But now I know and believe I am an artist because I stay true to my art...my art looks like my art no matter what others may like, and that is the journey that has taken me through my growth to wanting to see my job as something meaningful. Art is beautiful and can display such emotion, it would just be a shame for me not to realize that. I have become more confident because I quit worrying about other photographers and focused on *my art* and how *I* wanted it to look...and I realized that I didn't want a million billion clients. I want clients who understand my art and appreciate it...my husband I want to make a session a great experience per client. I realized quality is better than quantity.
That is my story and where my husband and I are headed with our business. I have had days that have gotten the best of me, I am not perfect and there are probably misspelled words in this blog...but I wanted to share how I realized only a short time ago why I love photography and want to be in this business...it has so much more meaning this way.
Yes, these were my thoughts....and 5 mins later....hopefully you understand my photography a bit better. :-) Okay, done now :-)