As the new year approaches, I've been taking some time to rest and reflect on Adventure Photo Stories- who we are and what we will stand for in the coming year. Sure, it's normal for businesses to do end of year evaluations, but this is a little different. We launched in August (only FOUR months ago!) and are still getting our bearings. It has been a wild ride, and I am so grateful to be doing so unexpectedly well already. I thought it would be nice to take a moment and share what I've learned in 2016:
1. Don't do something just because everyone else is doing it
There is this thing happening in the photography world where a ton of big-name photographers are editing in a desaturated, moody, film emulating style and creating GORGEOUS images that combine landscape and portraiture. I die. They are so pretty.
I bought a few of the trendy editing presets (think fancy instagram filters for Adobe editing software), and found that it was definitely NOT our style. I kept trying to make it work so that I could "fit in" with all the hip photographers, but the truth is: I really really really really really really really like color. Vibrant, sassy, joyful, color. I've actually pulled some inspiration from the luxurious matte shadows people have been favoring and am thrilled with the new style. It's fun and not too serious. Just like us ;)
2. Put yourself out there
When Colin and I moved back to Michigan, we basically had to start over. We had an incredible support system in Indiana. We had close friends to socialize with, and we had a professional network of creative people who we could count on. I was well-connected and took it for granted. It took 7 YEARS to build that, and in one 3 hour drive, it disappeared.
Luckily, I found The Rising Tide Society- a group of creative entrepreneurs who focus on community over competition. I started engaging in the conversation and asking questions. I let people in to my professional roller-coaster, and they accepted me. I now co-lead our local Kalamazoo chapter and am investing in others as they invest in me.
It is easy to get caught up in envy. It is easy to think that being honest about what you are going through makes you weak. Sure, there are some really sh!tty people in the creative world, but there are also some really kind folks who are looking for support just like you.
Sometimes, the hustle is HARD. I'm working a full time admin job on top of owning a full time photography business, trying to be a decent wife-friend-daughter-mom, and applying to seminary. Only God knows how I'm going to make it through school with all of this, but I had discovered that when I'm about to crumble, that is the time to DANCE and get WEIRD.
Margo (my toddler) is the queen of booty shakin' and can make the whole world happy. So when the jams start a playing, I get up and join her. For those few moments, I let go of my anxiety about the future and live in the moment. That is the gift of playfulness.
In a few short weeks, Colin and I will go explore Joshua Tree National Park and some of the
weirdest coolest parts of California (ever heard of Salvation Mountain?). I am going to go play in the desert and take pictures of friends. It's the perfect way to begin the new year.
Cheers to Adventure in all it's forms! I love you all,