I decided to do it with only the hopes of learning some more about photography - my passion. And I love a good challenge and knew I was just stubborn enough to follow through - to not let the challenge drop. I'm not going to lie, there were certainly days that I felt like throwing in the towel, felt like my work was dull, lifeless, boring in comparison to others and that it was just plain darn hard to get that photo in for the day.
What I didn't anticipate with this challenge is what 2015 actually held for me both in life and photography. Very soon into the project I felt very intimidated by the work of others and boy, does that have a way of working into your head. I felt discouraged, like I would never be good enough (although, looking back I'm not exactly sure who I thought I needed to be good enough for). I felt vulnerable. Like, standing-naked-in-front-of-a-standing-room-only-auditorium-and-having-to-give-a-speech vulnerable. Here I was putting photos of mine in a very public space, photos that I often put a lot of thought into, trying to make them 'just right' and that is awfully scary. Very quickly that faded as we had a death in the family early in the year and my focus needed to be on all the things involved in helping my family through the loss, cleaning out a house and getting it ready to sell in a very short period of time. I still shot every single day through that but I didn't have the time or energy to focus on others, what they were doing or how I compared. By the time we had sold the house and things quieted down that comparison and even some of that vulnerability faded. And until I started writing this I didn't even realize that those feelings had kind of dissipated.
I bought a new 'real' lens in the spring and that, I felt, made a huge difference in my photography and really understanding things I could do and accomplish.
I second shot at a wedding (this one still blows my mind away...Eric is very trusting!). I almost bailed on this opportunity - I had myself so psyched out that this wasn't a place I belonged, that I had no business being there. I am so, so glad I stuck it out and took advantage of the opportunity.
Then along came late summer and I was asked to take some senior photos for a friend's son and his girlfriend. Another challenge! I managed to successfully freak myself out on this one but overcame and rocked that first-ever senior photo session (on the absolute hottest, most humid day of the summer, I might add). And from there a couple of other inquiries. At some point late summer, early fall as I reflected I realized that, Holy Hannah, people like me (yes, borrowed that from Sally Field!) and are actually willing to PAY me to do something that was not only my hobby but my passion. I started wondering if I should start a business and if you know me, you know that I have a hard time letting things rest. So did what I do best: I researched. I analyzed. I talked to people. And the bug kept growing and growing and a few more photo sessions and BAM! Aimee Anne Photography was born.
With these sessions, I have a confession to make: I was terrified to show images to these families/seniors. I had no idea that I'd feel that way. I would send off the gallery and I think I nearly held my breath until I heard something back from them. It is terrifying and I don't think I'll ever get over that. I pour my heart and soul into these sessions and I only want my families/seniors to enjoy and hopefully love the final product. These experiences left me feeling more vulnerable than ever and more jubilant than ever when I got the 'I love them' text or message. Shoulders dropped, exhaled a sigh of relief and relaxed.
I am not perfect, never claimed to be and know I have so much yet to learn and know that the learning never stops. My goal for these quiet winter months is to take some classes online, understand business and marketing practices a little better and hit the ground running this spring with the warmer weather.
This whole time I had some fantastic, out-of-this-world cheerleaders. I am 100% certain that I would NEVER have done any of the things I did without their support and encouragement. I don't think some of these people realize the impact that they had and that I could not have done it without their support. I am eternally grateful and owe so much to so many. Thank you to each and every one of you - you know who you are. I am truly blessed.
So, now what? Well, since I bought the camera I've dreamed about for months (yay!!), it really needs to be broken in and I need to learn this baby. :) While I won't do a 365 project, I may try for a 52 project. I saw an article with some structure for a 52 project and it looked interesting and challenging.
If you're still with me after the novel I've written, here's the final photo for 2015, Project 365, Day Number 365: