You Have a Specific Spot

I believe that we all have a specific spot within the ‘work ecosystem’. That our passion and interest can be our work and our ecosystem works more efficiently when we say yes to that spot.
 
Why would I try to be an accountant when I don’t enjoy that work and am not inherently good at it. And it’s great that I’m not because this allows for someone else who is damn good at that type of work and enjoys it to have that spot.
 
When we say yes to the work we love and are genius at – our ecosystem flows unbelievably fast, fluid, fierce, and an insane about of incredible collaborative work happens.
 
Since I said yes to myself as a photographer I have seen this truth get stronger and stronger. I get to work intimately with folks who are doing just that. Folks that have identified their genius and won’t accept a way of life that doesn’t make that their focus.
 
How can I help you and in turn help this entire ecosystem run a whole lot better?
 
#onassignment

How I See Success

It’s not being recruited to work as a photojournalist at an international news outlet, it’s not to have a six-figure income, it’s not to have a house, family, or multiple degrees. It’s not to have published work throughout the world.

When I started out on my own last year this idea of success would be something I would have to really look at. Success coupled with self-worth and other ideas like this.

At what point would my mom and dad be proud and what point have I ‘made’ it? I could keep sharing my week to week assignments and achievements, the praise from clients, the income flowing in, the growth of my business and my skill. But that started to feel like this never-ending wheel of reporting and the idea of needing to update to prove my success for me felt exhausting and not where my energy needed to be focused in.

Since I was young my own desires didn’t aline with the common ideals of success. I didn’t find marrying appealing, nor buying a home, or having a family. I found myself desiring travel, self development, hard work, being adventurous, and giving. I found success in the hustle and my ability to continue to push and drive myself forward.

With some true reflection, success really just means doing something well. Doing something really well- that is success to me. Having integrity and respect for the craft and every element within it. That feels like success for me. Nothing else matters and we don’t have to prove or measure anything to have a sense of success. It is all already in us.

Moment captured by Miles Woodworth

Why I’m Moving into Minimalism

I have always found pleasure in a minamalist lifestyle. When I was young we moved around a lot so it was important that I didn’t have a lot and that the things I did have really meant a lot to me. I remember the day I found out we were moving from England to the States when I was eight. My mom came into my room and handed me a book box. She said that all of my toys needed to fit inside this box. Thus came the process of really looking at each toy, book, letter, etc. and placing value on it.
It was things like this and just watching how my mother cleaned our home and never had anything extra. Maybe it was because we didn’t have the ability to have extra but either way this ingrained in me something. It showed me that to be whole we don’t need extra. We lived in a small condo when we moved to the States. It was technically a one bedroom and there was four of us. But we made it work and perhaps it caused us to spend a little more time together than apart.
Simple, basic, clean, we don’t need anything extra to exist and actually when we don’t have extra it is all much easier. There was less for my mom to clean and I see the value in this now for me. I live in a lovely apartment that is just right, it could actually be smaller but thankful for the space too.
This idea that less truly brings more joy after basic needs are met. I so believe this.
I am in love with this concept and it is an every moment practice. I check in when I am craving something and ask what the benefit is. So for example I bought an Apple Watch a while back- some may think well that’s a little above basic need but for me and my craft this was important and I also place value on quality. This watch will last me a long time and does a whole lot in one simple accessory. Same with my clothes. I try to buy things that I know are made well and will last a hella long time so I don’t need to buy more for a long, long time.
I believe in this with my work and equipment in photography. I don’t have multiple cameras or fancy accessories. I have just enough and it’s actually great in the since of pushing my talent with what I have to the furthest limits. Only when I can’t capture the image I know I can take then do I upgrade.
This year I have chosen to move my wardrobe to match the type of lifestyle I love. I have donated many items and have been drawn to wear more black. This color also happens to be the ‘unofficial uniform’ as a photographer so perfect!
When we have less we can focus on being more.
#onassignment

How One Photo Shifted my Mindset.

Photos are powerful. I say this often to my clients and help them to understand how damn powerful this tool is. Not only is it powerful in terms of business but also in terms of self-worth. Stay with me here.

As many adolencent girls I was not feeling like the girls on the cover and in the magazines I saw. I didn’t feel enough. I remember the exact moment… so vividly when that mindset shifted, just a little at least. This moment coincides with when I knew this camera thing was important to me.
I was laying on the warm wood floor at my grandmother’s lake cabin in Barrington and I turned the camera around so it would take a photo of me. A selfie before that was a thing.
When I turned the camera around I saw someone in the playback screen that was less far away from the other girls I saw in the magazine. This micro moment is a massive contribution to my mindset and shift in self-worth. That’s powerful.
It kind of felt like this proof I had. That I could also use this tool as proof for other people too. I challenge you. You don’t think you’re attractive, you don’t think you’re worthy, you don’t think you can look good in photos? Let me prove you wrong.
I have many reasons why I love the work I do. This is just one I wanted to share with you. So still to this day when I am feeling low, not enough, sometimes having a micro moment to help shift that mindset back to at least neutral is gold.
That golden moment above was shot by www.micaylajean.com.

Being Human is Hard (Especially When You’re in College)

I went back to UNH last evening to share with the students about my experiences at university and what I have been up to post grad. I had technical difficulties so I ditched the slides and just shared. We were over capacity and it was really a beautiful experience.
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The students asked questions from how I have built a business, to how I met my partner, to how I was able to change the trajectory of what my life could have been to what it is now. Really thoughtful questions which speaks so loudly to the type of generation that is going to be graduating from this school and serving themselves and the world.
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I shared with them that my experience at university was challenging. That I had many low moments, that my GPA was absolutely not great, that I struggled to balance my creativity while meeting requirements as well as a slew of personal growth as we all experience during this time. I struggled with how to go from a super small art and technology based high school to a more traditional way of being taught and showing what I have learned. I shared a memory of being on my RA’s floor freshmen year crying, feeling so lonely surrounded by thousands of people.
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I shared that they all are genius at something, it’s about finding what this is if they haven’t already.
I shared with them that I value experiences over education, which may have been taboo to say in academia.
I shared with them that being human can be hard. And that especially been a human as well as a student at university can feel really hard.
The ‘advice’ I left was that self-care is so damn important as well as compassion for ourselves.
It was so lovely to be back and so lovely to be back in a very different way. That the student then is far from this woman now. I hope I have left them with feeling that it is all going to be okay and that it is already all okay.

Two Things Good Photographers Have

What sets good photographers apart from others?

Is it education?

Is it equipment?

Is it your network and opportunity?

Is it being at the right place at the right time?

Is it your willingness to go where others won’t?

Is it your eye?

Is it your creativity?

Is it your interpersonal skills?

Is it your experience?

Is it your confidence?

Is it your self-worth and self-love?

I believe above all of these… a good photographers has at least two…

When people ask me what education I have as a photographer, my answer is that I have no formal education- though I have over 10 years of experience and experience is the best form of education.

When I was starting out in my business last year I had many points where I thought that I should sign up for an online course or go back to school for this. Why? I thought that this would make me more legit. More credible. Better. Worth it. Worthy. The reality is that why waste time and money on that when…

I am doing it, I am living it, and I am good at it. 

Education is not always the answer and absolutely sometimes it is. Just don’t let it stop you from actually doing what it is that you want to be doing.

I see some of my dear friends and people in my network who keep pushing what it is that they are really good at and are being called to do… pushing it off and getting degree after degree or certificate or certain certifications, etc. to finally feel ‘worth it’.

Girl, you are worth it! And you’re ready to get after it. 

The other quality I believe that good photographers have is interpersonal skills. How we connect with our people. How we interact, make feel comfortable, laugh, share stories, etc.

To really see people… 

I’d be interested in what you think makes a good photographer…

#onassignment