I received an email from a budding photographer this morning that has continued throughout today, and with her permission we decided that there is a lesson to be learned from our stories. They’re so similar after all. I am going to be very honest here too, something I’ve not ever really done on this page is shared inner secrets or goings on. I’m not going to make it a habit either…but here goes: this fellow photog. messaged me and asked about support. How to get it, where to find it, etc. When I read the message a part of my heart broke inside for her because I know all too well the struggle she is facing. It seems that when you first start out as a photographer, you get a mixture of reactions. They range from excited, to neutral, and even to jealous. It’s hard to deal with some of the more negative reactions, it’s even more difficult when the negative reactions come from within your own family. This photographer and I have that in common. I do not get a lot of support from my family. I’ve had family members call what I am doing a joke, not a real job/business, I’m “playing house.” I’ve had family tear my pictures apart…”you cut her head off,” “I don’t like that editing,” “why did you do it that way,” “I don’t see it.” on and on and on. This, coming from the people who should support me most. In the beginning, it KILLED me. I hurt so much from all of it. But finally, I stepped back and asked myself, Am I doing this for ME? For my customers? For Beauty? Or am I doing it for them? You know what the answer was??? Yeah, I am doing it for me…for all of YOU, to create, to build something beautiful, to push myself further than I ever have before. This is a business. This is my livelihood, my lifeline, my LOVE and passion. I will never again let someone make me feel the way I did in the beginning of this endeavor and neither should you. I am very passionate about this, if you have that passion, you need to harness it and bring it to it’s full potential. Listen to NO ONE but yourself. Sure, get critiques and information from outsiders, but never feel you HAVE to implement it. This is yours, it should reflect your inner vision and no one else’s. People will come to you, for your own unique vision. For all the rest, there are plenty of other places that will fit their vision. Love yourself, boost yourself up, believe in yourself, work HARD…harder than you ever have in your life, and the rest will come. I’m always here for you guys…thick & thin. You need anything, and I am your gal.