Education | Then and Now

It’s been a long time, or at least it feels that way, since I’ve poured my heart out on my blog. As this can be a busy time in the industry, my life has been eat, sleep, cuddle my baby, work and more work, and repeat (obviously not in that order, but you get the gist), so I’ve sort of been head-down-and-do-all-the-things in this season of life, but that doesn’t mean the thoughts haven’t been racing.

I’ve been anticipating this Education part II post for weeks. Honestly, when I wrote part one I said this one would be out soon fully intending for it to be a week or two, and it has sat and sat and sat. And then lunch time yesterday came and I erased the whole thing and started over because for the first time in a while, I was overcome with the rushing thoughts of taking this topic down a different path than I originally intended, hoping maybe someone else needs the encouragement.

I look at these pictures and I’m totally overcome with passion – the same passion I know I felt in every single moment I found myself in when taking them. So, it’s hard for me to look at any of these and see anything bad, but as far as growth, and techniques and education, the differences are pretty clear. I can so clearly see how far education, practice and straight up hustle can take you and it’s inspiring. That’s not to say I’ve gone without days where I have been so completely frustrated, tired and overall just feeling lack of worth, lack of creativity, and just so far away from where I want to be and ready to give up. Because I have, and though less often, I still have those days now and then but I’m constantly thankful I never gave up.

For two years, I envisioned a “style” I wanted my sessions to have. In my head I could see light and airy, classic, organic, and authentic, and I’d nail that sometimes and man, was that feeling powerful. But other times I’d leave a session, upload the pictures and start to edit, and while I was happy with the results, I’d notice that overtime, my style felt a little all over the place. FOREVER, y’all, it felt like forever figuring out why. I felt like I was skilled at using my camera, I always shot in manual mode and in RAW, and I was also skilled at Lightroom and Photoshop, so why? What was it that was making me feel so frustrated? The overall image was always light, airy and carried that organic and romantic feel I wanted for my brand, but my greens were all over the place. One session they’d be spot on, and another they’d been lime green, overwhelming, and it was all I could see.

Earlier this year I had the opportunity to do my best friend’s engagement pictures, and I was (and still am!) so proud of those pictures (see that stunning session here). I had studied and practiced and we’d worked together to pick out not one, not two but THREE different outfit changes for their session. I was so excited, and I knew the passion I felt going into it meant they had to be good. This was it, this was the session I was going to sit in my chair and figure out that missing piece of the puzzle if it killed me, and it took time, and it wasn’t without some tears, but I did it. It was no doubt a turning point in my business. Not only was I able to nail the style I wanted, but it gave me something to believe in. My work made me feel something, and for the first time in almost three years, I didn’t care anymore whatever everyone else was doing because I had finally given myself a clear path forward. Compare the pictures I showed you previously to these:

I still remember being SO EXCITED after this session. When thinking of images to include in this post, I immediately knew I had to show before and after of images I delivered a few years ago, to now. I was so in love, I was hustling, I was proud. But look at the growth and the difference on the right. Education, you guys!!

If you’re sitting behind your computer day in and day out, feeling like you’re stuck on an emotional rollercoaster ride, all the while looking at what others are doing and thinking whatever they’re doing is the only way to success, here’s relief: it’s not. The only way this can work for any of us, with 500,000 of us in the same industry, is to be unique. The only thing that cannot be replicated is YOU. I have my own creative inspirations that make me want to be better because I feel so much from their work, but I don’t want to instead BE them. I want to be me, I want my own spin on my own work and I want it to be true to who I am. I want people to see my work and know it’s mine because it’s consistent and it’s cohesive. I want people to smile, I want clients who love the same style I do. I’m not the photographer who has a wedding every single weekend, and I’m certainly not the photographer who makes six figures at it, but I do give 150% every single day regardless because I love to. But it took finding myself in this industry, and an understanding that you have. to. hustle to get there. If you’re not investing in education, or seeking out where and how you can improve, but rather studying someone else’s branding, poses, pricing, locations, right on down to the way you post your sneak peeks on social media, you will stay on the emotional rollercoaster of not feeling good enough. Work to feel something for yourself today, no one will believe in your work until you do. You CAN do it. Don’t let it take you two years, commit to making your own unique mark on the industry today. I’m in your corner, and I’m rooting for you!

Thanks for following along on this little dream of mine.

XOXO, Taylor