Barking Up the Wrong Tree

Apr 11, 2014

I've been frustrated. Hell, I'm always frustrated. This whole photography business has got me frustrated for one reason or another.  But, instead of talking about what frustrates me (because it's seriously the same ole, same ole) I'll talk about my revelation as to why I'm frustrated and what I'm going to do about it.  And, it's no one's fault but my own.

Just a few months ago I decided that I wanted to focus the direction of my business to high school seniors. While I'm still open to taking pictures of children and families, it's no longer my main focus. Why does this frustrate me? Because I'm still barking up the wrong tree. How so? I'll break it down for you.

Social Media

I still follow many children and family photographers on Facebook and Google+ and they're awesome and they're amazing and I want my photographs to be just as good as theirs. This train of thought is damaging for two reasons.
  1. The Comparison Trap - I've talked about it before and I'll say it again. It's a killer.  
  2. This steals from my main focus. I don't want to be a lifestyle photographer. I do not want to be a children's portrait photographer. I do not want the main focus of my photography to be family photography. I want to be a high school senior photographer.
Time Stealer

It's a time stealer. Don't get me wrong. I love the images that I see. They're freakin' amazing, but the time I get to spend with my kids is very limited because I still work full time. Those hours that I spend taking pics of my kids just doing what they do are hours that I'm wasting in my desperate attempt to create images that are share-worthy for different sites and pages. And again, this is not the photographer that I want to be. Sure, I love to take pics of my kids, but I no longer want my camera to be tethered to my side just so I can capture that one perfect shot. Yes, that may work for some people, but it no longer works for me.

Jack of All Trades, Master of None

My focus is not taking pics of kids anymore. My focus is not lifestyle photography. My focus is taking pictures of high school seniors. Spending hours trying to capture that perfect shot of my kids doing whatever it is that they do isn't going to help me pose a high school senior. It's only taking time away from perfecting my craft. "Jack of all trades, Master of none." For once in my life, I want to be a master of my craft. 

Now what?

I'm redirecting who I follow on social media. Sure, I'll still follow a few family and children's portrait pages, but I'm starting to shift my social media circles to include photographers that are mastering the same area as I am; high school seniors. Will I still take pics of my kids? Heck yeah! But just not at the frantic pace that I once did. Capturing their every . single . day .  just isn't as important to me anymore. I have a business that I want to get off the ground and I have to focus my energies, and the time spent behind my camera, on what will make me a successful photographer.


I Feel Pretty?

Feb 28, 2014

It's something that I haven't really felt in a long time. (Pretty) I've been told I was pretty since I was about 10 years old.  I always looked at least 2-3 years older than I was, so getting hit on at the age of 12 was a common happening where ever I went. My dad said that he needed to make a sign with my age and hang it around my neck. I never went far without him or my mom in public places for fear that someone might make an inappropriate comment about my looks. To which they replied, "She is 12!".

I felt pretty.

While my wardrobe was, usually, much to be desired, I always felt pretty. DNA was on my side (for the most part). I have high cheek bones.  Long lashes. Green eyes.  A decent nose. I'm shorter.  5'3".  I have a small waist and big hips. I had a solid petite figure. But there was always the wants. I wanted long legs. I wanted longer arms. I wanted a tighter bum. But even with the unattainable wishlist I still, for the most part, felt pretty.

I felt pretty when we lived in Brooklyn. I felt pretty when we lived in LA. I stopped feeling pretty when we moved the MD. It's not Maryland's fault.  It has nothing to do with the state, but a lot changed when we moved to MD. Enter baby #2. Enter a longer commute. Enter 2 drop offs every morning. Enter a boy at age 3 and a girl at age 7. Enter fighting. Enter bickering. Entering climbing the counters. Enter homework. Enter very little time to myself. 

I had, in a sense, become everything that I vowed to never become.  I wear my sneakers to work. I wear my jeans to work. I'm unpressed. I leave the house with no make-up. My hair's not done. I shy away from mirrors. I walk with my head down. My brows go unplucked. I make my showers quick and my post shower even quicker. I don't want to see my weight gain. I'm stressed.  The word "mom" can send chills down my spine. I lock myself in the bathroom for quiet time. I stare at walls. Feeling pretty doesn't fit my mood on most occasions.      

I feel guilty when I feel pretty. It means that I took too much time for myself when I should be taking time to do something else. Wash dishes. Cook. Fold laundry. Vacuum. Clean. Grocery shop. Make the beds.     

But, this is wrong. There is nothing wrong with feeling pretty. 

For my selfie's in this post, I decided to try something that I haven't tried in a long time.  I decided I wanted to try to feel pretty.  I did my make-up. I did my hair. I assembled a few pieces of clothing that still fit. And I shot my session.  And it worked.  I felt good. I felt pretty. I still do.

What I'm trying to say here is that there is absolutely nothing wrong with feeling pretty (or good).  There is nothing wrong with taking some time to yourself to do something that makes you feel good. Go for a run. Go for a walk. Get a massage. Get a facial. Get your eyebrows waxed (hello!). Do your hair. Being a mom is tough business. It's a mental drain.  Rewarding, yes. Draining, yes. I still look like crap today (no make-up, hair all stringy and yuck), but I can still know that in some way shape or form, weather it happens every day or not, that I can still feel good about myself.  So go on. Go forth and every once in a while, dress like you're a princess. Do you're make-up like you're a rock star. Don those 5 inch heals collecting dust in your closet. Make yourself feel good.  The effects will last you;).

If you want to see the rest of the images from this session, be sure to check out my album on Google+ --->

PPS - These images are a part of a Google+ Community I'm involved with.  It's called Style It! Masterpiece Project 2014 .  Be sure to check it out if you're on Google+!

PPPS - If you're NOT of Google+, then you need to get over there now.  Amazing things are happening!

My Posse

Feb 7, 2014

My circles are small, they always have been.  Even in high school, there was always a pretty small group of us that hung together.  It made life simple.  It was easier to navigate a smaller group of girls than dozens.  Even though I had lots of friends, girls that I would confide in and trust with my deep dark secrets of the time, there was always those few that I knew would always be there.  The girls that have been there since the start of time.

I've been feeling pretty down on myself with this whole photography thing.  I feel like I'm having a hard time fitting in. Ya know, figuring out where I belong.  I see lots and lots of blog circles that are invite only.  There are lots and lots of fun pages that I see, but as you know, I just stopped sharing my images.  I try to integrate myself, but feel I'm joining the party just a little too late. Folks aren't mean, but it just seems like relationships have been formed and I don't want to be the odd ball out.      

As I was reading my Facebook feed the other day, a post from Rock-n-Roll Bride stood out to me.  It was entitled,  Navigating Online Cliques. At first thought I was like, YEAH!  What do I have to do?  How can I be a part of the "in" crowd? But, surprisingly (and not surprisingly) what I read was the exact opposite of what I thought I was going to get from the post.  Kat at Rock-N-Roll Bride didn't talk about gaining entry into these "elite" groups, but she talked about how these "cliques" or better yet, groups of friends were formed.  In many cases, these pages and circles are formed because these individuals may have started blogging at the same time, or maybe they took the same photography class, or possibly they all started a business at the same time.  In just about all cases, these individuals have something in common that helped them form their bond and squeezing yourself into that tight knit circle could prove difficult and discouraging. Her advice?  Start your own circle.  Find friends that you can bond with.  Don't try to be a part of what they have, but be a part of something that you create. Sounds lovely, but maybe not so easy.  

Feeling slightly discouraged by the post (how in the hell am I going to do that) my Project Redirect - I Stopped Caring post was chosen as one of Christine's (Love, Life Surf) weekly roundup posts.  I was honored. I'm always honored when Christine features my posts.  And, to make the roundup even sweeter, she featured one of Ilene's posts as well.  Two of my very favorite bloggers.  Then I saw this post from Christine on Google+.   Check out Ilene's comment.   

"My old school friends."

Holy hell! I do have a clique.  I do have a posse. I have that group of blogging friends that I consider to be my great friends.  I do have go to girls.  The girls that I visit every day.  The girls who I know, without a doubt, will comment on my blog posts...even if it's crap.  This girls that I know will give me a "like" on Facebook.  The girls that will +1 my posts on Google+.  The girls that I have grown to know as my friends, virtially and then some.  This is my posse.  This is my circle.  This is my clique.  It may not be big, but it's more than plenty. They had me at "hello".

So if you're feeling discouraged, and your feeling down, and you feel like no one loves you and your work, take a closer look.  Those that really matter may be right in front of you.

Meet my posse!  Some of them aren't active bloggers anymore, but they still support me in one way or another.

Ilene Evans - She's the fierce diva who's following her dreams!  I started following Ilene when she challenged us to green smoothies, and I haven' stopped since,  She has a way with words that I 100% envy, and she's simply an awesome person.

Christine Yu - Christine and I live parallel lives.  Seriously.  If it's happening to her it's probably happening to me (or will soon).  Christine and I met in Baltimore a while ago, and it was like we'd been friends forever.

Jen Grantham - She hasn't been very active on her little bloggo lately, but I forgive her.  I think Jen was my very first Twitter follower and she's been amazing ever since.  She's the first to like my posts, and she's usually the first to like the photos that I post.  I think of her (and her mom) every time I see the tea towels that she sent to me (handmade by her).  They are super sweet and super special.

Emily Hughes - Emily and I not only share a love of photography, but we shared a hotel room at the I Heart Faces Photography Conference. We Google chat all the time.  We talk kids, family and photography.  We have a lot in common and have become good friends through our blogs. 

Jennifer Barbour - Jennifer and I have a little something in common.  Syracuse.  While I didn't attend the University, I lived there, I love that Jennifer is a 'Cuse grad. I can't make bacon without thinking of Jennifer.  I can't see a Wiener Mobile without thinking of Jennifer. And I can't think of 'Cuse without thinking of Jennifer.  She writes about really good things and has given me a reason to give back. We missed each other by about a week in Syracuse but I can see us meeting each other in the future, 

The group of us met during a SITS Spring Fling and we have been friends ever since. They may have more followers and more members in their posse, but they are "my" posse and I am thankful for them everyday. 

PS - I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Carol (who is simply wonderful!)

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Hello, Hello!

Hello, Hello!
Welcome to Callia's Corner! Hi! I'm Michelle. I'm a photography obsessed mother to two little ones (ages 3 and 7)! When I'm not taking pictures of life, I'm hanging with my husband, family and friends. And I love martinis. Dirty, spicy martinis. And, wine. And, chocolate. And, really, really short hair.

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