Defined as an account of a journey, specifically a long journey to a distant place. Well here is an account of my journey. Let me tell you, embarking on photography, specifically as a career, can feel like a never-ending journey to a distant place of success. But I suppose the truth is, that it is just that. It is a constant evolution, progressing daily, and there is never really an "ending." There is no destination, I'm discovering. For me, that is intimidating.
This is not my typical post. This is my journey in a journal. Last year I decided to pursue photography wholeheartedly. I began in 2012, officially opened my business in 2014, but it took another four years after that to take myself seriously. I thought of myself of a ameuter-professional. Others believed in me, but deep down, I felt like I could never compare to the other successful photographers in the industry.
Now, one year later, I am in a different place entirely. The Voyage Workshop, created by Jessica Perry and Molly Grunewald, marked a significant point in this journey. It was the first time that I invested in photographic education after college, and I am overjoyed that I did. I ordered my Fuji Xt-3 and Pro in Style dual camera harness the week before, and I was heading up to Traverse City with new gear and an eager heart.
We arrived to a home filled with talented women, greeted with smiling faces and open arms. As if that weren't enough, we also received a gift bag with some pretty awesome treats by local businesses. I absolutely loved the necklace by The Giving Keys and as I am writing this the no.22 Mojave candle by PF Candle Co fills the air. And the cookies that were in the goodie bag by Baker Babe Cookie Co did not make it to the end of this blog. I love that Jess and Molls teamed up with local businesses to provide an outstanding experience. And that was just the beginning.
On our second day we spent time learning from Molls and Jess about their experience as photographers and the wisdom they've gained over the past several years. Amongst the various topics we discussed, the thing that stood out the most is that our brand is not how we define our aesthetics, it is us, as individuals. It is my goal this year to show more of myself in my work, because after all, it is artwork that I take some pride in creating.
I worked hard this past weekend to allow myself to show in my photographs and thankfully we had some amazing products and locations to document which helped the process. We started our adventure at Brys Estate Vineyard and Winery, and then the following day continued to photograph with Michivander Studio near the beach in Traverse City, Nature Michigan, and ended our session at the dunes. We were also able to team up with amazing brands such as Indy Brand Clothing, Dazi, Ox and Opal, and The Good Rug. And the sessions would not have been the same without our stylist Lauren Russell or our florists, Grandiflora and Frank & Arnie. Oh, and not to mention our amazing videographer who joined us!
On the third day, I met Maria, the extremely talented videographer and owner of Acre and Arrows. She was the life of the party. Truly she lights up the room when she walks in. As one of the a few highly successful female wedding videographers in Michigan, it was an honor to meet her and learn about her journey. Ultimately, it starts with a small spark, a little passion, that soon explodes into something incredible. Yet, with all the excitement and positivity, it was challenging not to look at other talented photographers and focus on their strengths verses my weaknesses.
We live in a highly comparative culture. It is all consuming. By day three, I started to feel it sink in. I was surrounded by almost twenty talented other female entrepreneurs and photographers. But as I spoke more with the women and saw their authentic demeanor, I was reminded about the idea of community over competition. We are stronger together and truthfully everyone was rooting for each other. That alone was encouraging.
I left motivated and inspired, reminded of my purpose. I often lose sight of the value of photography. Yes, as a photographer, who constantly stresses to clients how valuable photography is and how it is a great investment. Yes, I even doubt it's worth. Not because I don't believe it, but because I doubt myself. After reevaluating my work and who I am as a photographer, I am more grounded, focused, and self-assured. I am looking forward to continuing this journey as I progress this year. I am extremely grateful for the couples, individuals, and families who have entrusted me to document their lives over this next year.
But before I get too ahead of myself, I'm off to another voyage. We leave in a couple short days for Europe. My husband and I are off to another adventure, starting in Edinburgh, then Berlin, Budapest, and ending our travels in Lisbon. If you're wondering how we've traveled to Europe the past two years, it is all about priorities and discipline. Yes, it's that complicatedly simple. But before I go off on another tangent, here are some images from the weekend. And don't you worry, more from the sessions will be coming!
Headshot by Amanda Lalama Photography