I figured out last week what I want 2014 to look like. I’ll need to travel a bit less, shoot a bit less, and have a completely free summer. I’m hoping to book four AMAZING weddings and at least two editorial shoots, and oh – maybe I could fit in a workshop somewhere too? It doesn’t feel like very much compared to what I did this year, but really, it is a lot – these are HUGE goals that will involve a lot of growth for me on both personal and business levels, especially considering the changes I will need to make in 2014.
As I was showering yesterday (yeah, I usually do my best thinking in the shower), I realized that I will need absolutely everything I shoot next year to count, both financially and visually, as well as emotionally.
I have shot a lot this year, but I wasn’t paid for about half of it, and I can’t use a lot of that work toward my brand or my portfolio, largely because *I* devalued myself in not charging properly. This left me without the resources (or the balls) I needed to tell my clients HOW to get the Kelly Sauer photos they wanted. My own investment was a bit half-hearted at times because I was underselling my own value, just for the sake of getting *something* to shoot. And you know what? I hated a lot of it. A lot a lot of it.
Nobody has time to waste on mediocrity, and as a person, I absolutely need to be deep in love with everything I do. I feel that I wasted so. much. time. this year chasing my own tail, spinning, as it were, around my own voice and vulnerability and creative reality. I’ve been in a constant deconstruction zone in my head, pulling other photographers apart to see what makes them work, pulling my own work apart to see what it is about it that makes me what I am as a photographer. It is no way to live, and I hate everything right now, because *nothing* is good enough. The wonder is gone.
So yesterday’s shower brainstorm resulted in a new determination: I will LOVE everything I shoot. I will take the time during my sessions to FEEL. I will screen my clients and screen my weddings and charge what I am worth so that I don’t have to detach myself from work I don’t like. And I will look for WONDER, wherever I am, so I never run out of things to photograph.
SPIN GIVEAWAY WINNER
Mariah E. Wilson
If you didn’t win, YOU STILL HAVE TO GET A COPY OF SPIN.
I promise you – it will change your creative life!
This week, with my Spin giveaway for Claire Burge, I’ve been listening to memories, and places where people have drawn inspiration, and I can’t help feeling that it is only fair for me to share a paragraph or two of my own.
I baked pies yesterday, the same kind my grandma used to make, the kind she taught my mom to make for my dad, and then taught me how to make because she knew I would want to know when I had my own family. I always think about her when I bake. I think about how careful she was to scrape every last bit of everything out of the bowls with her spatula – in spite of my impatience. I think about the quick drop-flip of her satiny bread dough into a greased bowl for rising. I think about her almost-neurotic arrangement of dishes in the dishwasher, and about the way she let us make the biggest mess ever all over her kitchen with our own little loaves.
And then inevitably, my mind wanders out of her kitchen to the smell of bread and roasting meat in the house, the sound of her many clocks knocking off the seconds and minutes and hours of the longest, most wonderful days of my life. I think of her handwriting in the journals she kept, the weather report and the garden reports she recorded there, knowing that time wouldn’t last forever, holding onto the things that she wanted to remember.
I step outside the sliding glass door and onto the weathered deck (it didn’t used to be weathered – it was new when I was small), and amble down the deck steps past the laundry hanging under the deck covering, past the basement door that we always slammed a bit too loudly, and find my spot on the swing hung just beneath the deck outside Grandma and Grandpa’s bedroom, positioned perfectly so we could eavesdrop on conversations above, where Grandpa sat in his rusted, creaky iron deck chair and told his stories.
I never hear a crow now that doesn’t send me back to that swing again, dreaming about the future and the past and all the things I am still finding to photograph as I looked out at the wind in the trees surrounding the open areas.
Mom told me yesterday that the trees are gone, and the old split rail fence bordering the pasture near the road. The new owners have changed the place beyond recognition. Her voice trailed off on the phone as she wished that she and Dad had known before it was sold that they’d be retiring to the area – life surprises you in the strangest ways sometimes, doesn’t it?
Remembering the old has always helped me love the new. I think that is part of why I chose making memories for my job. We are all empty without our histories – they have made us who we are. Everything new begins with something old.
This post was inspired by the first story in Spin, about safety and finding your safe place. Today is the last day to enter the giveaway for the book – I am not even kidding you when I say you want it. Get over and leave me a paragraph of your own about a memory that inspires creativity for you even today!
I’ll draw the winner at random tomorrow morning and announce you on Monday.
I’m on my way out of town today for A Lovely Workshop with Elizabeth Messina, but before I go, I have to let you know who won last week’s springtime giveaway! Congratulations to our four winners:
1.) $50 Gift Certificate for Lisa Leonard Designs – #79 Deirdre
2.) $50 Gift Certificate for Lisa Leonard Designs – #69 Tory T
3.) 8×10 Fine Art Spring Print from Kelly Sauer Ltd. Co. – #139 Amanda
4.) $100 Gift Certificate for a session with Kelly Sauer – #56 Bri
Please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we’ll talk details so you can collect your prizes!
A few weeks ago, I got a personal email from Lisa Leonard (omigoodness, for real? I have dreamed that, but NEVER thought it would happen!) asking me for a blog post in exchange for a couple of her pieces. Of course I said yes, and then promptly advertised for a model because I couldn’t think of anyone to photograph with the pieces she sent, a sweet little “gold connected bracelet” and the lovely “fine feather necklace.”
And I got a model, and a GORGEOUS March afternoon, and a reintroduction to golden hour with a perfect spring breeze. Spencer, the 16-year-old daughter of Charleston blogging friend Elizabeth W. Marshall, let me play with the pretties in all that amazing light with a real person yesterday. We had SO. MUCH. FUN. For me, there is nothing like coming to the end of a session knowing that your client feels absolutely beautiful. I am so in love with these photos!
And as if this beauty weren’t enough to put you in the mood for The Spring Things (which are being rather standoffish this year, in spite of all attempts to get it here), Lisa and I are teaming up to do a giveaway!
Two winners will receive a $50 gift certificate from Lisa Leonard Designs.
One winner will receive a 8×10 fine art spring print from Kelly Sauer Ltd. Co.
One winner will receive a gift certificate good for $100 toward a lifestyle session with me (Kelly Sauer).
TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY
1.) Leave a comment telling me about your favorite spring thing or pick your favorite photo from this post.
2.) Tweet the link for this giveaway, using @kellysauer & @lisaleonard in your tweet.
3.) Share the giveaway on Facebook.
4.) Like Lisa Leonard Designs and Kelly Sauer on Facebook
5.) Follow Lisa Leonard and Kelly Sauer on Twitter
6.) Follow Lisa Leonard and Kelly Sauer on Instagram
Leave me a separate comment for each thing you do, and you can get up to 6 entries.
All right. GO. I’m looking forward to this one! The giveaway closes Monday at 12:00am. Winners will be announced on Monday, April 1.
I broke my “stop at five” rule and worked until ten last night, pushing to finish an article, write a villanelle, and finish a design project so I didn’t have to wake up to them this morning. I was hoping for a little time to breathe, and maybe, to write.
I’m running empty today. I don’t have much to give (except, of course, the weddings I’m hoping to give away this year – *insert wink here*), and I’m feeling quiet.
What do you do on the days you are tired? What refreshes you?
I might make cookies today – probably not the Christmas kind, if you can believe it – or granola bars. Maybe this afternoon, I will take advantage of my sitter and take myself out for a coffee date with my Google Reader. I miss everyone so!
But in spite of the fact that I don’t have much energy to pour out here today, I did have a flower, and the light, and a draping backdrop, and I’ve made a pretty. It’s not much, but it’s a happy place for my heart.
I wonder – do you think that’s why God made flowers and light? Because He gets tired sometimes and wants something to enjoy without all the effort and complication?