Monday, September 23, 2013

Letting Myself Breathe

  Photo Cred: Jessie Raetz, intern

I feel as though I am continually re-evaluating my world. Sometimes, I finish a "scene" in the movie that is my life. I am starting to see that my life is actually a series of projects...I guess as a kid I thought that there was the "kid" level......and one one special day, I'd LEAP up to the "adult" level, and things would be perfectly even and consistent all the way into old age.

I am blown away at how often I am shown that life isn't anything like how I thought it would be.

There are WAY more choices.

About EVERYTHING... I make choices about having a clean sink or what papers to have on my tiny desk. How to spend my time, and what to type next.

A camera up to my face allows me to SAY with my EYES what I can't say with words.


I've officially quit promoting weddings as my "bread and butter" focus. That "scene" is over.  The lifestyle of a wedding photographer is intense. I felt so pulled to champion for that they could see images from their wedding and SEE what I saw. Because I realized at some point in my early 20s...not everybody sees what I see, how I see it. And I thought they should be given a chance to. I see beauty EVERYWHERE.

After more than a decade, something inside me started changing. I wasn't as inspired by the emotions and gorgeousness of a big wedding eye started to get distracted with other things that I hadn't even noticed before. A large portion of guests also document the wedding....the wedding parties seem to have, too. So many beautiful faces aimed down at glowing screens. Ipads held up high in the air throughout rows of seating. My eye did not feel as special anymore...everyone was doing it for themselves. I felt pangs in my stomach as it dawned on me that I don't want to capture that, and I don't want to adapt my style to dodging it either...

There are more emotionally engaged, artistic wedding photographers in our industry, available to hire at all price points, than ever before! Certainly more than when I was a bride. Now, more than ever, wedding photographers are shooting with their hearts. I can move onto another subsection of photography that DOES need me...and THAT is a very exciting search to begin. I have spent the summer taking any gig that EXCITES and INSPIRES me...I'm in a free and spontaneous segment of the movie of my life now.

From photographing the MOST artistic and vibrant seniors, to creating the most beautiful portraits of sandwiches that a "mom and pop" sandwich shop ever saw, the only requirement right now is that I'm stimulated and challenged by the project...

To boudoir images in drag car race shops, to nervous yet heroic medical imaging techs posed like rockstars in front of their equipment (can't show you those yet)....

Oliver's Sandwiches, Edgewood/Milton, WA

                                                                 Northwest Embroidery, Fife, WA

                                                     Dr. Chrissy Blair
I am enjoying the lack of restrictions, and after  years of having most photoshoots scheduled on weekends, when my kids now ask me what's going on "this weekend", it never gets old to reply, "Hmm let me think? Nothing....."


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Life's Priorities....Am I doing what I'm supposed to be doing?

Lots of changes in the last year. Some of you know that in 2010 I did a bold and audacious thing by deciding NOT to just stand there and complain about the fact that there's no suitable pants out there for women photographers....I found a seamstress, had a prototype made, found a pattern grader (someone who makes the "official" patterns for several sizes) AND secured financing to have small runs of Photopantz made at a local cut and sew factory. OH and I learned how to internationally import fabric. :)

AND I spent the last couple of years working on promotion and branding with Wendy Roe. I created a tradeshow booth and showed at WPPI's Launch Pad, ImagingUSA, got to attend Photoshop World, and more. I made SO many vendor friends... Zenfolio and Borrow Lenses and Photoflex and SanDisk...I love you guys! The Pinnacle was scoring a two-page product review spread in Professional Photographer Magazine in June 2012 !!

Actually, that wasn't the pinnacle. The pinnacle was having women photographers email me or walk up to my booth JUST to tell me that they not only bought, but they LOVE their Photopantz. The fact that I was making a difference for women all over the world. Really! As far as I know, there is one pair in Germany, a few pairs in Australia, two in Korea, and I'm really hoping the gal who inquired from South Africa about shipping costs buys a pair too!

It's pretty amazing to know I accomplished all of this with determination and the help of my family and friends. But here's where it gets real. I'm not turning a profit. Turns out passion and determination are great, but unless I figure out how to have them made more inexpensively OR sell way more, I'm at a standstill.

Can you believe after all of that, I felt like a failure?

I did. Big-time. How could I spend almost three years of my life on a project...having people say awesome things like how I'm going to be a millionaire someday because of it....and. feel. so. stuck.

You have to be careful about feeling stuck, because it usually means you're thinking too much and doing too little. Is that how it is with you too?

So at this point, I'm trying to figure out what to do next. How in the world do I find someone who will buy my company? Someone that can promote Photopantz nationally AND has the resources to have large runs made so as to decrease the production costs? Will I be able to stay a part of Photopantz if I sell it?

With the HUGE shift in photography becoming primarily a female-dominated career choice, I know it's inevitable that a company will soon debut as the first BIG successful clothing company for women photographers. But who? And when?

All of a sudden, I don't feel like the determined founder of ANYTHING. I feel like enthusiastic eccentric Julie who placed all of her bets on being able to figure her way through this, running on passion and determination as she went along.....

(To Be Continued)