There is something that happens when you decide to let go and specialize! Something freeing and something beautiful that takes place when you finally tell the world “Hi, this is me and this is what I love!”
I spoke a little bit about this in my post Jack of all trades master of none..
This past year I decided to really let go of all fear! I decided to push it aside and let the world know that I was a Children and Family Lifestyle Photographer!
It was amazing and it was freeing… but as much as I thought I did it with a full heart, there were some things I wish I had known and realized right at that second! Some revelations that took me almost another full year to recognize!
My journey to find these little revelations was something I cherish! It’s a journey that I’m still walking and will always walk! It’s a process… but it’s one I want to share with all of you, especially if you are like me: a photographer who has an area that you adore that’s a very special niche!
You don’t even have to be a photographer really, you can be a creative or a small business owner that just loves a part of the industry that is extremely specialized or boutique.
Something happens when you decide to specialize that just changes you! At first it starts small but it’s liberating! You start to hone in on that one special part of your field or business and everything else falls away!
There is less stress involved and you can find a certain type of balance! I found that right away! I found it after creative at heart and I reveled in it! I knew what needed to be done and I pursued it immediately! I was excited and I was ready to tackle my area like no one had before but then time passes by and catches up with you.
This.. this is where I wish I had known what I know now and so here is where I pass on some of my journey with you! Here are 5 little tips I wish I had known that I learned from Creative at Heart and also just from this year that have helped me so much!
1. KEEP YOUR HEAD DOWN! It’s so easy to go back to old ways and get pulled back in to the BIG industry where you originally started! For me this was photography as a whole and the biggest draw for portrait photography was weddings! If you look at pinterest the biggest pins and inspiration boards are weddings! The majority of blogs for photographers are wedding blogs! The educators in our field for other photographers who are OUT there and who are promoting community over competition, most of them are wedding photographers! They are fantastic photographers and more importantly they are incredibly amazing and inspirational individuals who pour their hearts into other photographers! At the end of the day though, they are wedding photographers and so it makes sense that coming to the community means coming back into the world of wedding photography and inspiration. The only downside for me is that weddings and thinking about wedding photography stresses me out! It’s not that it hinders my ability as a children and family lifestyle photographer at all, it’s quite the opposite… it just puts me in a place that challenges the way I want to run my business. For any other photographer, this might not effect them in a negative way, it could easily help them! For me personally though, being drawn into that world actually makes me feel a sense of pressure in my business that creates in-balance! I know who I am and I am a perfectionist! I want to make sure that I am doing everything “right”. I want to make sure my education is on par and my skills are in line with where the industry is going. This is the difference… what is “right” for one area of photography might not be “right” for another. And even more so, what is “right” for one photographer might not be “right” for another! I have to keep my head down and focus on what I am doing and what inspires me and how to best serve my clients! Only then can I be the best photographer for them!
2. FOCUS ON THE CLIENTS AND THEIR EXPERIENCE: After attending creative at heart I learned something that changed the way I feel about business and about the way I live my life! It’s not all about us! It should NEVER be about us… ever! When it is about us, we’ve failed! Almost every person at creative at heart who spoke made it a point to ensure that that idea hit home in our hearts! It’s about serving our clients! I don’t want to do this job for me! I don’t love this job because I’m taking pretty images. I mean yes it’s a bonus and I get so excited when I come home and look at the images! It’s like Christmas morning to me and I can’t wait to wrap these images up and send them over to you! It’s like a secret that I just can’t keep! I realize that the reason I love photography so incredibly much is because I understand the value of what these images hold! I understand that when your child stops playing and decides in that brief second of a moment to reach up with tiny hands and grab your face and plant a sloppy, muddy, messy kiss on your lips… well it’s the absolute world! Sometimes those moments don’t come often enough and to have one captured in a photograph that you can hold anytime you want… priceless doesn’t seem to cover it!
When we forget about that… that’s when we as photographers start to feel stressed, out of balance, lost and at war with ourselves! That’s when we begin to feel competitive and upset and all these other negative feelings! SERVING other’s will always bring joy. LOVING our clients and realizing that life is always going to be about the love we can share, that’s when we know we are doing something right!
3. MISSION, VISION & VALUES: These are what help me remember WHY I am doing what I am doing and for WHO I am doing it! On the days that I am struggling because I have gotten caught up in the battle of self vs. serving my three V’s remind me why I love what I do! For the days when the balance of life as a mom and as a photographer and as a wife and a human being just isn’t working for me I sit down and I read a script that I have printed out next to my computer of my mission and my vision because it helps me pull my focus back in! Having a mission statement and a vision for my business keeps me grounded and rooted to what is important! Those three things help guide me through the days when I need help with tasks that might not be as fun as shooting on location or being with a real person! These help remind me that what I am doing is serving a higher purpose and it does matter! It means something!
4. BUILDING A COMMUNITY! I don’t need a big community, just a few people to help keep me accountable! Friends, Family Colleagues, Clients, and True Believers that will help me to remember those key points above! We all need encouragers and also those who will lovingly guide us and correct us on this path! People who will tell us when we step out of line and push us to grow to our truest potential! We also need people that we can continue to serve in the same way! It’s a give and give alike mentality! We aren’t meant to do anything on our own! We are always meant to have help and to be of help!
5. STAY TRUE BUT LEARN! Stay true to your gut but continue to learn and grow! Pursue education like wildfire but understand when it’s time to stick to what you feel is right! There is a time to say this is where the trends are going and these are the rules, but also this is where I can push the boundaries and break them! YOU HAVE DECIDED TO SPECIALIZE SO GO FOR IT! BREAK BARRIERS AND BE BOLD! This is the time to soar and keeping all those other great tips in mind reach above and beyond the imagination! Just make sure your heart is in the right place!
My goal for the rest of the season is to start breaking out of the box and serving my clients in a way that they never expected! I want them to reach into the depths of their imaginations and together I want to create something unheard of for Children and Families! I don’t know what that is yet because I don’t want it to come from me… I want it to come from them!
I feel like I will always be learning as I go and that’s the way it should be! I don’t ever want to stop learning! These are just a few of the things I’ve learned since I decided to step out into an area that has a smaller population than I’m used to! It’s an exciting time to go from saying I am a photographer (of all things) to I am photographer specializing in Children and Families and Lifestyle!
It’s exciting and it’s fun and if you are wanting to narrow down your field, don’t let fear get in your way! These 5 tips helped me keep my footing and provided me with a sense of peace! I hope they help you!!!
Here’s wishing you the best!