Monday, December 19, 2011

Julie's Stint as a Radio Show Cohost

Aww, hi everybody! Can't wait to update you with what I've been doing besides blogging. Everything is changing so fast. If you aren't following my antics on Facebook, do it!

So one of the most fun things I did this summer was cohost a radio show on AM with Jennifer Westby for six months, called "Motivational Happy Hour":

There are TOTALLY archived shows you can listen to RIGHT NOW on that link above...don't know how long they will be up there since our show ended in November, so download/listen while you can! lol

See, when Jen asked me if I wanted to be her cohost, I said "Yes!!" without hesitation. I'm trying to discover my method for supporting others in life, really. I love one-on-one talking...I mean that's probably my favorite, whether it's on Skype or in person. But I love to write, too. And now that I've started Photopantz and been working non-stop on that project for a full year now, I'm starting to feel more comfortable in the role as "Founder of Photopantz". Which, guess what, involves being more of a public representative, going to conventions, meeting tons of people, etc. It's VERY different than my role as a photographer. I don't know why. My goal is to become completely comfortable public speaking. But I'm a little freaked out at being on video. So when this radio gig came up, I was like "Sweet! As long as nobody's watching, I can totally pretend there's not thousands of people out there listening!" And no kidding, it worked. Jen and I were on the air 4 hours a month for six months, talking to guests who were fellow entrepreneurs, and just talking about life and generally trying to be entertaining. I learned I LOVE radio. I hope I get another chance to do it in the future.

If YOU ever get the chance to go to a radio station and be on the air would you please, for me, just DO IT?!! Yes, you might be a little freaked out your first time on air, but every single "newbie" who came on our show beamed afterwards about how it was MUCH more fun and less scary than they thought. And once they heard themselves back in archive, they noted how they sounded better than they thought they did while they were doing it. It's amazing how forgiving our ear is to listening to live radio. But when you are the one in front of the microphone for the first time, you notice every tiny hesitation or "imperfection" and imagine it magnifying and broadcasting across the land! To the listener, however, it sounds just like everyday talking would sound and they think nothing of it.

My whole adult career in photography has been about being behind the camera and setting a tone for my clients so that they can truly relax and get images of themselves they've never seen before. I've started to realize that not only is it OKAY for me to have a more prominent and public role, but that maybe I've secretly wanted that for a long time but felt it was more appropriate to help behind the scenes and support other people face their fears and realize they are capable of doing things they never thought possible. :) I had a major epiphany at legendary photographer Ken Whitmire's Wall Portrait Conference last year. I realized "Holy cow. I not only CAN do the things I assumed I cannot....but could it be possible I was MADE to do these things? And the strongest feeling I ever had in the world replied YES.

I wrote and wrote and wrote after class at the 6-day wall portrait conference, late into the night. And when I got home, I walked into the garage where my husband was and talked to him for SIX hours straight about the incredible perspective shift I had...I mean it was a TRIP. It felt like, holy, or something. You guys ever have an experience like that? Where the universe kind of hits you in the head with a brick?!

As 2011 comes to a close, I am still in a state of exploring what my voice is, and where it belongs. I've been Facebooking like crazy, on my personal page, Julie Watts Photo business page, my Photopantz business page, and not quite as much as I should on my Photopantz Blog. But I've always loved this, my Julie Watts Photo Bloggillicious. This feels like home to me. And even though I have no idea who is reading this, similar to being on the radio, it is easy for me to imagine there's nobody there so it's okay to talk about what I really think.

Thanks for reading my blog posts, whoever is out there. I hope they are inspiring. I hope you get as much out of reading them over the years as I enjoy writing them.

I probably wasn't clear, but our last show aired on Thanksgiving 2011. This was the kind of thing where you paid the network for airtime, not the other way around. So that's why we enjoyed our time while we were there but moved on to other things. :)

Friday, May 6, 2011

Meaningful Locations....

Awwww! It's engagement session time with Erin & Chris!

When talking about the appropriate setting for a photoshoot, a meaningful, personal is always better. Just going to "a park" is oh so amateur....there....I said it! A professional knows how to ask the right questions and key in to the unique vibe each client has. A professional photographer can "see" what the client wants and can explain how easily it can be given to them. Choosing a meaningful location is HUGE! I lucked out with Erin & Chris. They described the place Chris grew up...where they met and fell in love. Not only was it incredibly meaningful to them, it sounded beautiful. A lot of times clients are apprehensive about using meaningful locations because they tend not to be nearby (like the park). It was a decent drive into "no cell phone service" country, off the beaten path, you might say....but I just remember this "snippet" of a reply during the conversation about potential engagement shoot spots... "Oh...Erin...we have to go there. Oh no....we HAVE to do it there. That's totally where we have to do it!"

It doesn't matter how far, how difficult, how different. If it's meaningful and your face lights up as you describe it to me, I'll be hooked. My heart will be tied in a knot until I create a keepsake portrait of you in your special place. I don't care how expensive gas is or if I have to wear rubber boots. Sometimes, new clients are timid about bringing a "stranger" to meaningful locations...knowing that the stranger doesn't have the same history with the spot and may view it differently and without the love that they see it. That's probably my FAVORITE psychological situation to deal with...because when I see love, passion.... it's beautiful, no matter what. And the kind of bond and relaxation I get with my clients when they feel this from me, grants me access to capture what is priceless to them. Photography truly isn't about me. It's about you.


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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

What are Photopantz?

Hi Everybody!

Guesss what? That "mystery thing" I've been working on for the past several months is ready to be revealed on the blog. Or at least, I'm ready to reveal it. Have you ever heard of the phrase "building readiness"? Well that's what I've been doing. Building readiness in my own heart to be able to shout to the world "I invented and designed custom pants for women wedding photographers and I am launching a Pantz company!"

See those pantz? Those are Photopantz! The fabric is stretchy but looks formal. The pockets? NINE OF THEM (don't worry, some are hidden). My rear? Can't see it if I bend over! lol

I have spent ten LONG years worrying about what pants I wear while I am photographing weddings. You wouldn't think it's that complicated, but let me tell you. When I used to stand in front of my closet the morning of a wedding, these were my choices:

Pants 1: they fit and look fine but have NO pockets. I can't bend over without tugging at my shirt/shirts/tanktops, whatever I have to wear to be covered back there.

Pants 2: they are roomy and NOT cute, but they are comfortable and HAVE 2 hand pockets. My rear still shows if I bend so I have to wear certain shirts.

Pants 3: feel great, look great, BUT my rear shows if I bend and the slanted cut pockets means I can't put things in them because things slide RIGHT out if I squat or sit down.

Pants 4: you get the idea

So for the past several years, I have been designing, in my mind, the PERFECT pair of shooting trousers....after officiating Lindsey & Casey's wedding emergently (see past blog post), I had a lunch date with the legendary Me Ra Koh . I told her about the wedding, then I told her about my aspirations to speak and share what I've learned about the psychological side of pursuing a photography business. And finally, my idea for pantz for women photographers came up.

Let me tell you...when Me Ra Koh encourages you....

Fast forward about eight weeks, and I am at PartnerCon, Pictage's professional photographer convention in New Orleans, wearing the prototype pair of "Photopantz". Jeff Jochum, marketing and business guru (omg, just read his resume...that's all I'm sayin'), has my back and it's almost unbelieveable. Women want my pants.

So since then, I've spent hours and hours learning the ins and outs of textiles, pattern grading, cost ratios, international versus domestic labor costs, hard good marketing, and lots more.

And you know what? It's oddly exhilarating. It's totally risky. There are TONS of unknowns. But throughout it all....I have this gut feeling that I was made to do this. This opportunity is for me. Is it daunting? Um....YES. Terrifying? YES. Is everyone But at the same time, I have this weird calm. It's kinda like when you know you have a hospital procedure you have to go through. It's not life threatening, but you know you are going in for it and everything will be fine afterwards. That's what I feel like. I have to go like, get my tonsils out. Okay maybe bigger than that. But when I filter out all of the distractions in my life that do me no good (ooh gotta blog about that), and I focus on what my gut tells me, and on my life experience.....I mean.....starting a custom apparel company sounds perfectly sound.

Who do you listen to? Who brings you down with their perspective? Whose opinion should you listen to less? Whose opinion should you listen to more? Who means well, and has good information, but makes you feel less than capable of pursuing your dreams? You really do have the control to not allow hurtful and unproductive content into your world. It's not easy for me. It takes mental discipline that Allan Knight helped hone in me. I know there are certain people that just DIG right under your skin....but they don't have to. You can learn to view their "output" in a different light. Their lips keep on flappin but it doesn't have the emotional effect on you anymore lol!

"You are only free once you have lost the desire for anyone elses approval but your own."-unknown