his past week I met with a girl named Haily for a cup of coffee. Haily is a sophomore in high school with a huge love for photography, God, and people. We talked about starting a business, combining photography with a passion for God, and other inspirational things. Haily has a soft spirit. Her love for people was evident as we talked about the possibilities with photography. During our conversation, Haily asked me what I like the most about photography. I paused as I thought about it. You see, when I was in my final year at Point Loma Nazarene University the world had so many unknown possibilities ahead of me. I felt invincible with the endless thoughts of what I would do when I graduated. Photography was my passion and all I knew was that I wanted to do something great with it. I loved going to art class and listening to everyone's crazy ideas while thinking about mine. I was excited to conquer the world. So when Haily asked me what I like the most about photography, I had to head back to my college years and remember what it felt like to be completely and utterly inspired. I realized in that moment, that it's so incredibly easy to allow a job to just be a job. Don't get me wrong, I love my job. I love that I am able to work with so many amazing people, but to be honest, a job can sometimes just be a job. I'm sure even Leonardo Dicaprio at times feels a little burnt out despite making incredible movies and circling the world in a white jet plane with what seems to be no cares in the world.
As we talked about what my job entails, I was honest, brutally honest. I mean, it's an awesome job, but is also a very stressful one. Being in charge of someone's wedding photos? Ya, it's a little scary. But, I love it and God has made me capable to handle the stress at this time in my life. It is great, but is it really for everyone? No. I left hoping I didn't scare her away from pursuing photography. I often hear that a wedding photographer's lifespan is seven years. I never understood that statement completely until I myself am now standing in my 7th year. I get it. It's hard, grueling, and sometimes it is not always skittles and rainbows. A job can sometimes be a job right? There are always going to be negative aspects of every job.
I walked away and asked myself, "Have I lost my college heart? The heart that was so easily inspired?" I sat and thought about it. I talked to Stephen about it and really wrestled with it. I mean, don't get me wrong, I still LOVE this job and find inspiration at every single wedding. But do I still feel about photography like I used to? I chopped it down to this :
Yes. I do love photography like I used to, but I also realized that I need to do more things for myself. It's important to separate personal inspiration from work inspiration so you can then fuse the two together more efficiently. Finding time for YOURSELF and learning to say no is what brings my inspiration back. I know for me, shooting over 20 weddings a year, working during the week to break down the wedding, then edit the wedding and taking portraits for families and friends can just become a lot of work. So for me, the word NO has become my best friend. Finding a balance is what is important in any business. I encourage anyone to really take time for yourself and seek out some new inspiration to see things a bit more clearly in your present state. It's so easy to get lost in what you are doing and forget why you are doing it. Take time to remember why you do what you do and do it with all your heart.
Thank you Haily for your kind smile that reminded me of what it was like to be a dreamer again. I am excited to explore that love again and find inspiration in new places. Hailey - I know God will use you in so many beautiful ways if your heart is open to it. I know you will be a vessel in this world and I am excited to watch. To anyone reading this, Take time for you.
A quick sneak peek of this past weekend's wedding :)