So, the first photoshoot I ever shot was of my first baby eight years ago. I went and purchased a polyester textured BLACK fabric and draped it over my couch. I then plopped my new naked sprout down and began shooting. To my horror Charis refused to just lay as a gentle sleeping bundle of snuggle. Her wiry legs and arms flailed about and her head bobbed around weeks before What to Expect the First Year said it should happen. I finished her session sweaty, exhausted and in tears, never to touch a camera again.
You can imagine my chagrin when that Christmas I opened a big fancy camera from Matt. I was baffled. What was I going to do with this, it was obvious I sucked at photography?!
Matt didn’t seem to have any such a notion in his dreamer head, and immediately began encouraging me to pursue a career in photography, yes, career. Since I was a stay at home mom and we were having more babies we thought what every other new mommy thinks holding a baby and a big new camera, I’ll become a professional photographer.
I began to take lots of horrible pictures.
I needed professional help, so I paid for a two-year correspondence certification from New York Institute of Photography.
I still took lots of horrible pictures.
The more horrible pictures I took, the more I wanted to quit, but Matt continued to tell me how awesome I was and how awesome I was going to be. I still say I’m a photographer today, because Matt wouldn’t let me quit.
I got my first paid newborn session. Like a skydiver about to make his first jump, I made Matt pose in our living room holding a Cabbage Patch Kid while I practiced.
At the session I asked to hold the baby to help make a connection. I took the baby with my cold clammy hands causing the tiny infant to scream in horror. I left the session sweaty, exhausted and in tears, never to touch a camera again.
Except, for one shot. There was one shot that gave me a glimmer of hope. Maybe somewhere deep down inside was a professional photographer after all.
I entered the image into a photography contest, and you should’ve heard the seasoned photographers gnash their teeth as this newbie walked up to receive her first prize.
Then, I got my first wedding. My mom came along to hold my brand new gold metallic reflector. Lindsey and her husband, with tears streaming down their faces, kept telling me how much the reflected sun burned their eyes, but all my training taught me there must be reflected light, so I just encouraged them to push through the pain. I’m so sorry, Lindsey.
I left my first wedding session sweaty, exhausted and in tears, never to touch a camera again.
Somehow, Matt believed in me and kept me from giving up. I took thousands of more terrible pictures, but over time I began to create more and more good ones, and the days I wanted to quit were farther and farther apart.
Then, one day I seemed to emerged. I was confident. I was good. I was a professional.
I eventually achieved gentle sleeping bundle of snuggle with my babies. Here’s my youngest, Christian, at his newborn photo shoot.
I still have days, and seasons that I want to quit or I often fumble around and fall short of a perfect image, but I’m in a much better place than when I started. I’ve walked a journey that now brings me great delight.
Do you have something you want to do, but seem to end your times sweaty, exhausted and in tears? Do you spend most of your days doubting that you’ll ever make it? Or doubt that you could ever be a professional?
I’m here to tell you, we all start somewhere. Just take one more look at Charis’s newborn photoshoot and remember, if Charity can make it, then anyone can make it. Never give up, keep pushing on, because one unexpected day you’ll emerge to the other side and you’ll be really good at what you do.
I have no idea what my photography will look like in the future, but I do know it’s been a wonderful journey and it will always be a special part of me.