June 18, 2009

Personal: Me, my Sony camera, my unknown blog, and my 250 business cards...

Have you ever read something and gone, "OMG I know EXACTLY what you mean. Are you trying to tell me something. Not just anyone... but me?" And then you start crying. Ok, maybe not the crying part, but have you ever had a moment like that?

I did on Tuesday.

But before I get to what made me start crying like a baby, let me give you a little background information.

I'm not the type of person who would ever do well at a normal 9-5 desk job. I lose focus very quickly when I'm not getting to be creative or I'm not doing something I love. Trust me... my internship senior year of college = FAIL. Then again it didn't help that I was trying to plan a wedding at the same time. :) In the past I've found working with kids to be my way around the desk. Not teaching, but camp. I loved it, but it's extremely hard to make that a career.


I've always loved photography. I was the person who always wanted my photos to be the best they could. Not because I was trying to impress anyone or make it a career, but just because I wanted to. My dad was into photography when I was little, so over the years he let me play with his camera and learn little techniques that now come naturally. I remember sitting in a free photo class at Ritz Camera recently and the guy taught everyone how to hold a camera correctly. It shocked me that some people own giant cameras and have no clue how to hold them.


In college I needed an art credit, so I took a photography class. This was the last class this specific professor was ever going to teach. He had always taught using film, so he was going to go out teaching film. Well, slides to be exact. He didn't want us to go out and photograph what we see, or find certain lighting in our surroundings... no. He wanted us to take objects from our home and set them up and put the lighting like he wanted. Unless it's a ring or shoes at a wedding, this just was not my style. I ended up with a B in the class, but only because our tests were open note, and I had some general photography knowledge. Needless to say, a career in photography was not on the top of my list after that class.

Fast forward to last summer. I had just finished an internship that made me never want to step into a office ever again and I felt lost. I went back to working the job I had before my internship, which really wasn't getting me anywhere. I went to a wedding of a girl from The Knot with a few other "LA knotties" (as we like to call ourselves). As I was taking photos of the bride and groom with my little point a shoot, one of the girls mentioned that she was really impressed with my pictures. Later that evening she asked if I had ever thought about becoming a photographer. Honestly, I had to answer no. It had never occurred to me that I could make it a career if I really wanted to. Plus, you can't become a pro with a little point and shoot. :)


The week before the wedding I lost my point and shoot. Or it was stolen. I still have no idea. Doug and I had been talking about buying a nice camera before the honeymoon anyways, so we headed to the store and picked ourselves up a brand new dSLR. I had so much fun on our honeymoon learning how to use it. In the back of my head I still had that little voice from the wedding wondering if I could become a photographer. And that little voice never left.


After a few failed interviews where I realized I really didn't want the jobs I was applying for, it finally hit me. Doug and I took a trip to Mammoth to visit my uncle and I told myself that I wanted to prove to myself that I was good at this photography thing. I love those pictures. That trip cemented for me that I wanted to make photography more then just a hobby.

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Since then it's been a roller coaster of emotions. I've been terrified to tell people that this is what I want to do. I've been afraid that people will look at the pictures on my blog and think that they totally suck (no, I've never gotten bad comments... I just have a complex). It scares the crap out of me to say when people ask what I do for a living, "I work at an after school program right now, but I'm trying to become a photographer." When I talk to people with fancier cameras then me and they ask what lenses I use, what kind of flash I have, etc. , I have a hard time answering because I don't always know. "Umm, ya. I use the lens that came with the camera... and a zoom lens... that also came with the camera. O ya, the flash. No clue. I just know it works with a Sony, unlike most. That's all I know." I feel like some little girl running around the world of adults pretending to be a grown up.

Then Tuesday comes and I come across something that makes me start crying.

I was reading the extremely fabulous and talented Jasmine Star's blog. She has been going through FAQ in the past few weeks and answering them in her blog posts. Here are 2 of her FAQ's from Tuesday's post:

Molly asked:

My question is this: Did you go to a photography school? Would you suggest getting an educational background in photography? Or perhaps were you self-taught? And if you went to school for photography, where did you go and how did you decide on the school?

No, I didn't go to photography school. But I thought I would. It wasn't until my good friend David Jay talked me out of it. I was too afraid to teach myself and try to make things work on my own...so I thought school would be the best route. He said going to school for wedding photography wouldn't be worth the time or investment and if I was up for the challenge, I could make things work. I just had to believe they could.
Three years later, I'm writing on this blog as proof that anyone can learn photography and follow their passion if they're willing to try, fail, and try again.

Joel asked:
How did you overcome your (what's the word I'm looking for) "fear" of just diving into it? I just need one little tidbit of your retrospect.

Okay, so this is a complicated question to answer. Because, really, I STILL haven't overcome my fear. I know that's totally lame to admit right out on the web for everyone and their mother to read, but it's the truth. I still get nervous before shoots, I get nervous before I shoot a wedding, I am nervous about booking 2010 weddings...I suppose fear is always around.
But the thing that matters most--the precipice of differentiation--is how you handle fear.
When I made the decision to dive into photography I was fearful. Of course. But this fear was shadowed by my fear of not living the life I wanted. The fear of being trapped in a 9-5, wearing a black suit, and having power meetings. Ugh. I dove head first into my business when I realized fear shouldn't dictate how I live my life...because the life I wanted to live was trapped in a Canon camera, a unknown blog, and 250 black business cards. That's all I had, but fear couldn't rob me of following my dreams. It shouldn't rob anyone of them.

Umm, ya. Jasmine, if you were talking to me, I heard you. Loud and clear.

Me, my Sony camera, my unknown blog, and my 250 business cards... we heard you.


I'm ready to dive in head first. I'll be posting pricing in the next week and my first real photoshoot! I'm so nervous and excited!


MCH said...

Laura, I wish you all the best!! Everything you mention I recognize, especially the complex, it's awful how it gets in the way. I have heard of soooooo man y photographers teaching themselves through practice. You have already proven yourself, now go out and fly!!!

Yelena R. said...

Congratulations! This was such a great post and I really admire you for taking this huge step! I'm looking forward to following your career from the start :)

Hannah said...

I can really identify with this post. I think one of the big kickers for me at the moment is getting the confidence to start doing portfolio-building shoots and scraping the capital together for my own camera and some decent lenses.

Aileen said...

Good luck in this new adventure!

Shell @ Disappearing Mist said...

Awesome! I know you can do it! Your photos rock!

Meli said...

I wish I can Dive in head first already=/.. not there yet!! Thank you so much for posting this:: while reading your post, I seriously got giddy =)
Because someone out there, is feeling what I am feeling, and she is doing something about it!
Congrats && Good Luck ( which, you dont need )

Korey O said...

When I read that on Jasmine's blog I had the same thought. She was my wedding photographer and is so amazing. Her personality definitely sells well, but her photographs are really, really great, and she is so modest about it. She always says if you want it badly enough, you can do it, and because of her I really believe it. Good luck!

Jenna said...

Good for you! Are those photos of you that your dad took? They are so darling!

And my advice is to invest in a portrait lens if you're going to work with people. It will change your photographs by 100%.

Anonymous said...

Go girl! You can do it! ~Kristin (AKA Dazzle)

Anonymous said...

Kudos to you for following your dreams! I love your photos! knottie "chiweewee"

Kendall said...

Wow!! You have wonderful Sony camera... Love to see all those interesting and amazing pictures!!