I have had a crush on photography for as long as I can remember. A camera in hand as a little girl felt like a compass providing a connection to how I felt inside, to the world I adored on the outside. As the years passed, photography became a constant source of clarity in the background. It is where I went to find comfort, inspiration, and connection. Until the day it clicked, quite literally and figuratively. The day I realized that my crush could become more was liberating. For the first time I got it, I realized when you follow your heart and all the clues you have left yourself along the way, you can live what you love. There was one more thing, I had already found love as a military wife.
Traveling the world by his side, coupled with the love I had found inside, led me to a journey of self discovery, unlike any other. It has been seven years to the month and here the story goes.
I have shot for clients on the beaches of Japan, in the flowering fields of Germany, taught photography classes under the lights of the Eiffel tower, and worked in the cities that live between. In one little sentence I could sell this life to anyone. It is a glorious way to live. Not just seeing the cultures but living the cultures opens up a world of possibility and understanding. Working with the amazing clients that are living and breathing what I hold so close, breeds friendships and relationships unlike any other. It is a blessed life, let me leave no question. But there is more.
As a military spouse you live your life in a series of circles. You move from one circle to the next and if you are lucky they overlap like a web. Each circle represents a new assignment to another place, another group of friends, another job, another house, another, another, another. With each passing circle begins another round of closure full of see you laters, scratching another notch on the resume, and cleaning out yet another set of closets. It is a never ending cycle of circles.
This allows for endless opportunity to see the wolrd, have the cleanest closets and one of the best, most worldly social circles on the planet. Now let us add a business into the mix.
I have gone from filling a four month calendar of sessions in less than 30 seconds, yes truly I was humbled too, to just a few months later not knowing a single client.. With each circle comes another transformation. Each transformation is accompanied by a series of highs and lows and being able to ride the wave between is crucial to success.
During the highs your business is running itself. Clients are flowing in and out and the level of trust you have earned is soul soothing. It is where I dream most photographers outside of military circles get to live and breathe. It is the purest feeling of achievement and unfortunately within our circles it is short lived in comparison. More time is spent earning you way to this special place.
Because so much of what we do as artists is from the heart, or from within, the lows can way heavy on self doubt if you are not careful. It is understandable, often times we have just left a highly successful circle, full of clients that love and respect our work. The absence of such can feel empty and can be a cause for question. Unless you seize the moment. This time of transformation can be enlightening with a little searching.
When your business is at a high there is little time to alter or to evaluate yourself artistically. The supply and demand is busy at work. Part of seizing the moment of transformation is to give yourself a period of time to refresh yourself artistically. Evaluate what you love about your work and dedicate yourself to a direction. Use this time to practice and refine the skills it takes to achieve that direction. Do a workshop, read some books, get out and shoot.
As military spouses we often arrive to a new assignment and at that moment we are presented a choice. We can lock ourselves down, hide from the unknown, and dwell on how alone we feel or we can throw ourselves out there. As a girl who lives on the shy side of things, this is always a time to put my big girl pants on and step out of my shell. You have to go to functions, join classes, introduce yourself a hundred times to obtain new possibilities. The same is true in business. You must put yourself out there. Earn, I can’t stress this enough, EARN the trust that will bring success. Again go to functions, join classes and introduce your work a hundred times to obtain new possibilities.
These words have never been more true. I now find myself at a brand new assignment and know just a handful of people. I have worked with over a thousand clients and yet I do not know a single one here. So I dig deep into the time of transformation, peacefully, knowing that it is my time to refine and earn the trust of those around me. I know this to be true from the circles that have come before and I look forward to what lies ahead.
A circle is the perfect shape as it is must be completely round in order to roll. So in essence looking back there are truly no highs and lows, just different stops on your circle.
This post is part of a circle of military spouse photographers sharing a day in the life, click here to follow the circle to Kricia’s post.