Adventures Behind the Lens

So….in the spirit of full disclosure – often a rarity in the blog/social media realm – I thought I would take a moment to talk about my adventure in photography.

Photo Credit: Munchie & Company (I kinda miss all that hair!)

Photo Credit: Munchie & Company (I kinda miss all that hair!)

Yep – I jumped into this growing creative genre several years back. I have always had a camera in my hand. As a matter of fact, I fought going digital for a LONG time. I held tight to my Minolta 35mm film camera  probably longer than I should have. And then Minolta stopped making cameras right as I was ready to jump to digital.

After much trepidation and research, I finally jumped into the digital SLR world (for those interested, I’m a Canon girl and I will have another post soon about what is in my bag). I started small with a crop frame. Then I met my sweet friend, Kristina, who was farther along in the photography adventure that I, and we began to walk the road together. We took a class from one of the local photogs here in town , and then we had a bit of a mentoring session with another photog. And off we went.

I will tell you right now – I am a slow learner and there is NOTHING that truly makes sense to me in the world of cameras. I mean, the terminology is just backwards and trying to figure it all out makes me feel like an idiot fast that trying to build furniture would! And yet…I still stick with it.

At the time I thought I wanted to pursue this hobby to make it more of an income producer. After all…it was a creative adventure and I enjoyed being around people. That being said, the only way to know what you want to shoot is to shoot it all and see what you like. So, I did just that. You can see some of my work at Stacy MacLaren Photography (fair warning…I know there is music on the pages – you can turn it off in the lower right corner if you don’t like it. And yes…I should update it!)

For a while I was Kristina’s assistant and 2nd shooter, and I was perfectly happy to do that. I would still be perfectly happy just doing that! However, I also wanted to see if I could make a go of in as well. I did a few maternity sessions, a few seniors, a few engagement sessions, I second shot a few weddings and then had a wedding of my own (don’t ask…it was when I learned weddings were NOT what I wanted to shoot…too much pressure), small families, larges families and some pups.

I learned a lot in each one of those…and I’m still learning. What slowed me down was the relentless bullying and shaming that other ‘professional’ photographers were heaping on those just beginning in the industry. It was horrible. The last thing I wanted to do, in the midst of this hostile environment, was put my work out there for fear it would be torn apart, either in front of my face, or behind my back.

I put my camera down for at least 6 months. Nothing. I was scared.

Scared I didn’t have what it took to learn all of the post production skills. Scared that I didn’t fit in to this elite group of people who were ‘allowed’ to take pictures. Scared to ask for help in learning.

Just scared.

Do you know how much fear stifles creativity? It’s paralyzing.

Do you know what stifled creativity in a creative’s heart produces? Depression – a good amount of it. And then it produces more fear.

I had to place that fear at the feet of my Redeemer and beg Him to show me what to do. I had to ask Him to remind me that He is my audience, not man (a hard thing to do since this was a raft seen and judged by man). I didn’t want to stop learning. I didn’t want to stop shooting. But I didn’t know how to move forward. (I know that I’m not the only one who has felt this way. I know there are others out there who have completely given up because of the judgement and ridicule form others – in any creative field. It’s pitiful and sad.)

It was right at that time that I was getting ready to leave my full time office job (last year) and take on this adventure of Snigglefritz and Me. At the beginning of the summer of 2014 there was an advertisement for an upcoming Photography Conference – Click Away – coming up in Salt Lake City. I talked to the Rocket Scientist and decided to go (we planned out vacation afterwards up there as well). I went alone – and that is how I knew that there was change coming. I don’t do these things alone.

This conference changed the way I was looking at my photography adventure. Profoundly and deeply, I was moved in all aspects of my life. You can read about it HERE, and HERE. I met some amazing people, some I still communicate with on social media and I could not be more blessed by that (Moriah Ice, of Moriah Ice Photograpy is one of those blessed people…check out her mad skills!).

I came home changed…and yet still somewhat fearful. I am not shooting for profit right now – I don’t know that I will again. I am not rushing to learn a ton of stuff. I am shooting daily for sheer pleasure and the enjoyment of getting to know my camera. I shot my grandson’s monthly pics. Some were great and some were utterly horrid – but it doesn’t matter because I learned from each session…at my pace, in my timing.

I want to shadow someone. I want to ask questions and hopefully get things to stick – the way they need to for me. I want to learn Photoshop better. I want to learn to slow down in the midst of a session – to see things slowly and not feel like I am inconveniencing the person in front of the lens if I don’t hurry and get the shot.

Those things will happen.

More than anything right now, my desire is to start and facilitate a creative group that inspires and encourages, that removes the fear that has been thrown out there by bullies. That sets the stage and helps pave the roads of creatives who are on the journey but have hit roadblocks.

I don’t know what my photography journey will go from here. Right now it is just a joy to have happiness when I pick up my camera each day. For me it is a hoot to see how God comes through in my photography. Also, I’m not on a time schedule in my learning – this is something I still have to tell myself – this is a marathon, not a sprint. There are no time tables. If I ever do shoot for profit again I will do it differently. I will set my business on a course that is right for me - not pressured by what others say. Period.

So...let the adventure continue!