The New Year, New Challenge

Hello again. It's been over a year since my last post. Pretty embarrassing. 

My husband has challenged me to blog twice a month in 2017! Seeing how I didn't even get one out in 2016, I requested a simpler task...like only once a month. But he is holding strong at 24 blog posts this year. 

So I figured a good place to start would be to reflect on my life and business last year. 

2016 got off to a rough start. Going into my 3rd year being self employed, I started to understand why people say life can be lonely as a small business owner. It felt like days would turn into weeks without talking to anyone besides my dog, Hydi. At first I didn't mind, I tend to be a bit of a hermit. But when it turned into a lack of work, panic attacks turned into a regular occurrence.

I had to make the effort to double down and change my day to day experience. 

I realized that one of the first things I had to do was put modeling on the back  burner. I ended up turning down an offer to be represented by an agency because I realized modeling was not a long term goal of mine. I didn't want the distraction any longer. 

The next thing I wanted to do was look at ways of expanding my photography work. Ryan (the husband) was involved in a lot of networking groups. I attended some of the social mixers with him and got to talk a lot about what I do. Opportunities to work outside the realm of family photography were starting to appear. It turns out something as simple as talking about your goals can open up doors! By the end of the year I was able to add a sizable amount of professional portraits/head shots to my portfolio. I hope to share some of the work with you that included some politicians, corporate clients, doctors, dental offices, and campaign brochures in future posts. 

I also had to opportunity to get my face out there once or twice. I was a guest on This Week in Photo 3 times in 2016. You can go here to check out the episodes I was a part of. 

Being featured in Lavish Living Magazine was also important to me and my business this past year. I was introduced to the publication early on in 2016 when I was featured as The Face of Sacramento Fashion Week. The publisher found out about my business and did a follow up story introducing my photography business to the Folsom/El Dorado Hills area. You can view the write up here

My biggest take away from last year was that it is possible to pull yourself up by the bootstraps and that people want to help you. All you have to do is talk about your goals. I also learned that I have a strong network of women in my life.... and I am pretty sure they are taking over the world. And you know what...I want to go with them!

Until next time!

~Christine

The First Year

I've officially made it through my first year of being self employed. It was bizarre. It was terrifying at times, but mostly it was fabulous. I've had some time to reflect on my year. Here's my list of 5 things that sum up my life this last 12 months.

 

1) The "how's it going?" question.  

'Hey Christine, I heard you went out on your own, how's that going?" Always leading me to decipher if the person asking wanted to know if I was succeeding or failing. Then accepting that not everyone wants to see you make it. Or maybe they do, but they assume that because I have chosen photography, I don't have much of a chance.  I got to a point when, no matter the intentions of the person asking... I answered "Well I'm not starving", poking fun at the age old "starving artist" adage. The truth is, I am very lucky to have supporters in my corner.  My husband thinks I have what it takes, my parents think I'm finally on the right track, I have a mentor helping me along the way and a handful or friends who believe in me. 

 

2) The "fake it till you make it" mantra

I started my year thinking this everyday. Up until last week it was still my motto, but it was a cop out. It was a way for me to take less responsibility. I've realized, I'm not faking anything. I'm working my tail off. I'm emotional when I need to be, and am truly happy with the work I am doing. If I'm faking my way through it, how can I possibly capture true and honest portraits? Sure there are many things about running a business I am learning as I go, but that is true for anyone. The important work, the images and my connections with my clients, there is nothing fake about it. 

 

3) The realization that I like my work.

As my body of work grows and I curate my favorites, I am proud. I am encouraged to keep going. If you had asked me 5 years ago to photograph a newborn baby, I would have probably run the other direction. I had every intention of working towards a boudoir/glamour business. But I am so happy with the direction my clients have taken me. I LOVE working with families, I love seeing them every year and being a apart of their traditions. I think documenting families as they grow is important work and I'm happy I get to be the one to do it. 

 

4) The crippling fear of everything!

So maybe this is just how I am, I can't say this is unique to my being self employed, but it's still very true. Maybe this is just how I operate, but it's (usually) incredibly motivating. Being an artist, having a creative profession, you hear time and time again "you can't compare yourself to others" Well, why the hell not? I'm terrified of failing, so the best way I know to avoid that is looking at images I love, study them, compare myself to them, and then figure out how I fell short and improve upon that! I LOVE looking at others work,it hurts and inspires all at once. I spend more time then I care to admit looking at photographs. Are there days it's discouraging? Obviously. But it's necessary and you can't let it slow you down. Failure, money, marketing, growing a business... yes there are days I don't want to get out of bed, but then I remind myself of item 3) I like my work... and that helps me put everything else away and keep moving forward. 

 

5) The Top Twelve

"Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop" 

-Ansel Adams  

If it's good enough for Ansel, it's good enough for me. 😉 

Here are my 12 favorite images I made this year...