Want to know a secret?! I set a goal for myself 2 years ago that was pretty exciting and scary at the same time! A goal that once upon a time when I wasn’t quite as educated as I am now, I would have thought was pretty lame.
Want to know what that goal was?
2 years ago, I decided that I was going to shoot my heart out, acquire what I thought was an impressive portfolio of work, and apply to be a Click Pro.
For those of you who don’t know what a Click Pro is, you need to check it out here
Click Pro is a part of Clickin Moms and it is a pretty huge organization and also a pretty big deal. In our profession as photographers, our work is art. It’s subjective. What one person loves might not be another person’s cup of tea. Most of us are also self taught so measuring your skill level can also be a bit tricky. We are taught to respect certain rules but then at the same time, sometimes breaking the rules can be valued as well. It’s really confusing once you get down to the nitty gritty!
There are also a ton of us photographers out there now and competition can be pretty brutal. The comparison game is very real and sometimes photographers can be downright mean to one another and towards themselves, especially! Our inner voices can be harsh and we desire acceptance and more importantly that pat on the back that says you’ve made it more than anything else. That voice that says… hey you, I SEE YOU, you work is good!
I wanted a place where I could have my work evaluated by a group of professionals who I respected and then I wanted to have something behind my name that said yep, you’ve made it. You’ve done well in teaching yourself this craft! You’ve grown and you’ve accomplished something outside of just the subjective piece. I wanted something just for me that I could stand behind that wasn’t subjective. I wanted something objective!
Click Pro grades on a rubric scale in 7 categories: Exposure, Color and White Balance, Use of Light, Composition and Posing, Processing Cohesion and Polishing, Technical Skills, and finally Creativity!
It’s no laughing matter and the board of panelists that review your work is no joke. These guys are tough as nails on your work and the images you submit better be 150 of your very best images.
So I set out a year ago and submitted, and two weeks later I got a letter that said my application was declined. I will never forget that day. I was heart broken and I stared at the computer for the longest time. I had failed! I set a goal, I sent in what I thought were my best images and I FAILED!
What was worse, I failed by 5 points! It wasn’t like I was that far off. I missed by 1 point in just a few categories.
Ya’ll, I studied that e mail and the rubric and the suggestions that were made. I couldn’t even make sense of some of it. What did they mean?! How can I fix that?! What can I do better?!
That whole entire month I felt awful. I didn’t feel like picking up my camera at all, and I didn’t! I was crushed.
But slowly, about a month and a half later, I came around and the camera began to feel at home in my hand once again. I decided when the timing felt right, I would apply once more after I build up another portfolio of new work.
Almost a year later this November, I decided to send in my second application! Ya’ll, it took me a full year later to feel prepared and I have to admit, I was scared this time. I had an entire new body of work and this work was completely different than the last portfolio. I felt like I had really found my style and had some growth over this past year. I had spent the year learning from breakouts thanks to Clickin Mom’s and I was challenging myself in ways that I hadn’t really thought to do before. I felt ready, a little nervous, but ready!
So I gathered my 150 images and nervously submitted my application once again!
And once again, 15 days later after we got off the cruise boat I found an e mail in my inbox waiting for me that said your application has been denied. Once again, I sat staring at that e mail for the longest time, again for the second time I had set out to accomplish this goal and I had failed again and this time by a mere 3 points! I couldn’t understand what I was doing wrong or what it was that I wasn’t doing right! What is it that the panel is looking for that isn’t showing up in my work? How can I fix it? Why do I not understand the feedback they are giving me?
I realized that even though there is a rubric, the panel is still looking at my work through their eyes and that means this is still all subjective and that makes things a little more difficult. On the other hand it makes things a little easier to swallow.
So here we are: Big Goal, Two Failures and One whole year that has passed! Where do we go from here?
Most people that I’ve spoken with have told me to give up. They’ve said it’s not worth it or why waste your time on this! But this is the point:
No matter how many times you fail or fall, you have to keep getting back up and trying, especially if it’s something that is important to you~
“Just because you took longer than others, doesn’t mean you failed, remember that”
There is something to learn from falling down, or not succeeding on your first try, or failing at your first attempt and that is how much you want something! It’s easy to try for something you know you can win, or something you know you will attain or are good at. It’s also easy to give up and walk away when you don’t succeed. The real test comes when you have to struggle for something and when you finally succeed that’s when it will really mean the most! That’s when you know you have the heart!
Failure teaches us perseverance. Failure teaches us to be humble when we get to where we want to go!
So where do I go from here?
I TRY AGAIN! Third times a charm right?!
I start pushing myself with my camera in ways I haven’t pushed myself before. I dive into a project where I can harness my creativity and capture raw emotions. I shoot for myself and for my family! I seek out new Clickin Mom breakouts that will help me grow and maybe in doing these things I will be ready.
At the end of the day, we make our goals for ourselves for a reason! We don’t just choose our goals at random, they have a special meaning in our lives and it’s up to us to honor them!
I won’t quit on my dreams, no matter how long it takes me to achieve them!
What about you?