"Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible."
-Saint Francis of Assisi
In June of 2010 (Who else can't even believe that is almost 6 years ago already!?) my sister's friend, Jennifer... urged me to start a photography business after seeing some of the photos I had taken of Brooke in a photo-shoot I did at home. *insert raised eye-brow*
All I saw was my inability in comparison to other photographers that were already doing well and I'm sure had been working at it for a while. I had always enjoyed creating with my camera... but those images were for me! For my walls, for my Facebook... and Myspace lol. I really dove in more once Brooke was born. I had a lot of fun once I learned more about photo-editing and operating my camera on manual. And that is where mini shoots ( all of Brooke) began and my skills began to be honed. Sure people complimented... but Jennifer took serious notice and did not stay quiet. She saw something in me, she saw something in my photographs that she connected with.
Then, essentially Jennifer bribed me. Ha! She offered me money, and referrals if I would start taking some pictures. She told me she would pay me to take some photos of her girls. She was my first client, and Valisa Henderson Photography was born. Well, actually... Forever Photography by Valisa was born I guess ;)
From that shoot came my moment. Most of those photos turned out just like all the other pictures I had taken, in my eyes. Except ONE. The picture I'm about to show you actually brings tears to my eyes a little bit. While there are things I would certainly "fix" about it now, It was this picture that made me say... "I can do this."
Through that summer Jennifer sent me probably 5 or 6 friends who were my first clients, and from there my business really began to grow. I did a craft show in the fall with a booth for my photography, and a home tour street fair booth. Things really boomed! Mostly because people are hungry to capture the fleeting seasons of their lives. No single shoot had a lot of images I was excited over, but every shoot had one, and then a few, and I tried to only deliver photos that I could be proud of. And, from those photographs that excited me, I learned what was creating the look I liked. What settings, what lighting, what looks, locations, edits... and I finally began creating what I wanted. I finally became an artist. If only this meant I improved with EVERY shoot. I didn't. In those first couple of years I made a lot of mistakes. I struggled with a lot, and often would just taking suggestions from clients instead of planning, which put me in circumstances, or lighting conditions, that I was not strong in. Those shoots turned out with more -okay- photos than good ones... BUT Mistakes are certainly good for learning!
If you know your way around a camera; here's a laugh: I had one shoot where I accidentally left my ISO up at 1600 where it should have been maybe at 400. OH dear. That was so painful to realize AFTER the shoot. Thankfully with the help of noise reduction and, editing help from my friend Rose, that shoot was saved! NEVER have I made that particular mistake again. Lesson Learned.
The pictures I am about to share with you were all within my first 6 months of business! I grew a LOT those first months, and the rest of that first year. I worked hard at figuring out what it was in these photos that had what I was looking to create. These were all favorites from their respective sessions. These were NOT the type of photos I was consistently delivering at this time. These were the best of the best ;) I worked hard at trying to recreate the good stuff and improve on the mistakes, crafting the good to make it great!
There are areas where I still want to grow and work on for sure. There always should be, in my opinion! But I can say I'm SO happy with how far I've come.
If you're trying to master your photography and your little one is your inspiration, you're in a good spot! Lots and lots of practicing is easily accessible for you! You can't go wrong! But no mater your available subjects... practice, practice, get advise, ask for help, study what you did right, and practice more! If you don't know how to fix what you feel like is wrong about your photos, look for those "ah-ha moment" pictures and figure out what about them makes them good! I feel like in the beginning those photos for me were 1 in 1000! But somehow people saw something in enough of everything else to keep supporting me. And I'm so thankful that they did, For they gave me the confidence I needed to keep improving!