March 3, 2011

~ Quit your belly-achin ~

One of the mistakes I made early in my business was focusing too hard on the things I didn't have. The big jealous green monster sat heavily on my shoulder as I watched my colleagues buy top of the line - "to die for" - equipment.

I couldn't afford the kind of gear they had, hell I dumped out every single thing I had for my Canon Rebel and kit lens. I had a newborn baby and a mortgage and there were so many days I just wanted to quit because I was never going to be able to keep up with them.

I don't remember when I finally stopped complaining, but one day I just did.

Do you ever catch your self making excuses for yourself with the "If I hads?"

"Well, I could be as good as that photographer if I had THAT lens."

"Well I would get more clients if my website was THAT fancy."

So I am just going to sit here and eat worms because everyone has everything better than me! Hmmmmph!

Yeah, I used to do that to...until I finally quit the pity party and started challenging myself to be a better photographer with what I had, and what do you know, it worked!

Give Albert Pujols the crappiest bat in the dugout and he'll STILL make something happen at the plate.

If I decided tomorrow I wanted to be a race car driver, I wouldn't expect to be running the Indy 500 in a formula one open wheel million dollar machine. I would be in a piece of sh*t go-kart on a dirt track somewhere in the arm-pit of the midwest, because THAT is where you pay your dues, gain your stripes, and learn the business.

I am going to be completely honest here: I don't have the gear I want...I just bought my very first "L" lens last year, after being in this business 7 years. My website is a cookie cutter template I spent $104 dollars on, and I haven't touched it in 2 years (Which means none of the photos on my website were taken with my new L lens.)

This mama has diapers to buy and school to pay for, I do not frivolously spend money for every new fancy gadget that comes out on the market. I would like to, and I am tempted to, and trust me this pep talk is as much for myself as anyone else.

My rule is to invest back into my photography business on one big item per year, and I save for it all year. Re-investing in your business is important and necessary, but you don't have to do it all at once and spiral your family into debt.

Last year my big item was my 50mm 1.2, the year before that I bought my new MAC computer, the year before that was my 5D and this year...well this year is going to be a surprise, you'll hear all about it in 2 or 3 months ;)

So quit making excuses for what you don't have. If you're good enough, the talent is in your head and heart, not your hands.

Don't waste your time being envious or negative, it will only exhaust you.

Rock what you've got, shake what your mama gave you, fake it til' you make it baby - and for Pete's sake, QUIT YOUR BELLY ACHIN' - you can do this!

If Luci is ever going to be a New York City Rockette, sista-girl has gotta start somewhere ;)


Amy Meyerott Photography said...

Great advice Kelly! I just begged my aunt to make me a shoot baby sack because I couldn't afford the real thing right now! I really want to purchase every item Tonya has so I can get all the help I can shooting Maddie when she gets here but I will have to settle for renting an "L" lens for now : ) I am starting to consider myself a photography coupon clipper!!

Lisa Scherer said...

You are always so honest...and I love that so much about you. You are so right...when you got it, you got it...a "L" Series lens is not going to make anyone a great photographer. :)

Anonymous said...

Then why are you trying to teach other photographers how to take good photos when you admit that you aren't even where you want to be in your business. I agree, your website needs updated badly.

Veronica said...

I needed this message today. I'm convinced you are one of my photog angels, sent to me in times like today. Thank you!

Cheryl McDonald said...

Lovely lovely post!!

Pamela said...

While a part of me does get a little jealous sometimes, I'm really proud of how I've gotten this far and the direction I'm headed. I knew every Button on my dinky first camera and I feel like it made me a better photographer. It also helps me appreciate my new gear more.

Anonymous said...


Not only are you a fantastic photographer and a lovely person inside in out, but you carry yourself with pure class and have the unique ability to ignore ignorance and ignorant people with grace and a smile.

Anonymous (Mwah-ha-ha)

Kelly Park Photography said...

Hey Kelly, love that your family always comes first! I'm excited to see the new changes, it's obvious with or without these changes your still one of the most sought after photographers in STL. Keep doing what you do lady, your an inspiration to many!!!

Sherry Rosenberger said...

I was struggling with this today and sure enough you sum it up with your brilliant blog post! :)