Going Pro

To go pro or not to go pro? That is the question. Enjoy some of my application set, then read why I chose to no apply for Pro for so long and why I finally decided to. Did I get accepted?

When I really started to delve into digital photography in 2012, I feel like it was a bit smaller of a  world. Perhaps it was, or perhaps it was my own photography world that was small. Regardless, in my small world was Clickin Moms and In Beauty and Chaos. These are two photography communities & blogs offering an immense amount to their members. Their schools offer a wide range of classes from expert photographers/teachers (the pros), feature opportunities, articles and magazines, conferences, friendships and so much more. They are the two communities that I would say are held highest in the newer industry of photography moms (hence the name of Clickin Moms). We are a group of women who don't have the same story and aren't all moms, but hold an incredible amount of similarities and commonalities in both our achievements and struggles in life and photography. 

Being a member of these two communities has, without question, molded who I am as a photographer. I have become apart of the communities, quietly, as I follow well known photographers in their breathtaking skill offering constant eye candy and inspiration. I have taken some of the most amazing classes and break out sessions that have become apart of my foundation. Since becoming a member however many years ago, I've always, always wanted to apply for Pro. 

Applying for Pro is no easy feat. The process of applying for pro is gathering 100-150 of your very best images. And not what YOU think is the best, but what is actually the best. Perfect exposure, composition, use of light, post processing, use of focus and depth of field. You'd think it'd be easy, but it's not. The rubrics used to grade the application sets is tough. There's little room for error. You can lose very few points before you receive the rejection letter and to try again. Because of this, I never applied. It's tedious and scary. 

Last year I went through mentorship with Courtney of The Rusy Lens (and BC & Click Pro and amazing role model of a mother, woman and photographer). In my mentorship, I explained that applying for Pro was a big goal of mine and she asked me why. This was a pivotal point for me because we went into a discussion about how important it was to not hold this status in correlation with my value or worth. I think a lot of people do that, so that if you get rejected, it's crushing and if you don't, you're still holding the wrong weight and reason to hold the status. She asked me why I wanted to apply outside of the status and adding value to who I am as a photographer and I didn't know. I sat on this for almost a year and chose to not apply until I knew why. 

As last year continued on, I became brighter, stronger and out of a difficult struggle. As a full time mom trying to grow a business that is my passion and identity, the balance and stress is real friends. It's crippling. It's a daily struggle in which some days I feel like I have it all on point and the next, I feel like a complete failure. As I became more immersed in the photography community, I couldn't help but notice that there are a tremendous amount of us that are the same woman. The mom at home with her camera, fighting to create, comparing ourselves in our work, how clean our houses are and how to balance running a business and finding time to do ALL of this work, but still attend to our children. It's nearly an epidemic and I don't know that it's fully talked about yet because I don't think it's fully recognized as a problem. 

Since leaving my counseling position, I knew that I wanted to somehow incorporate that part of myself into my photography, but I never knew how. I decided to not try and find it, but to allow it to find me. And I think I'm there. Over the past... I don't know, maybe close to 3 years now, I have worked my ass off in life after reaching a completely unexpected rock bottom. A rock bottom that I know so many women are facing and sitting in. Whether you're a photographer or not. This is why I decided to apply for Pro. To open more windows of becoming more connected with my communities, having more opportunity to reach the lives of women and to share my gift and love for storytelling.

I decided that applying needed to be a priority goal for me in 2018. You can apply every 90 days after getting a rejection. I figured if I could get my applications in early enough, I'd have time to reapply a few times in the year to hopefully reach my goal before the end of 2018. Through a very tedious process of selecting images (that's actually pretty brutal because you're essentially harshly critiquing every image that you select to put in), I finally put it all together and submitted. While holding my breath of course. Two weeks later, I got two congratulation e-mails. I absolutely couldn't believe it. Tears fell from my eyes. This is such an accomplishment. 

I did not cry because I felt like my worth and value were raised. I cried because of what I knew I could do with this. This was not my end goal but the beginning. I am so excited to move forward and use my Pro status to be there for other women. 

1. Mentorship.

I want to mentor. I would never be where I am without those who mentored me and shared their skills and knowledge. Whether it was about how to use lighting, processing or how to balance working from home. I want to share what I've learned and be there for other women on this journey. 

2. Teaching.

I love teaching. When I was a counselor, I'd smile when I was asked to go into classrooms to give lessons or create a huge presentation for the Super Intendent. I was on it and honored to share what I knew with people who wanted to learn. Oh my heart, to be able to do this in the photography industry. I don't know what this will look like yet or what I'd teach, but I'm gonna. 

3. Writing. 

I think I've wanted to write a book my entire life. I don't even know what about, honestly. I've waited to see if the Universe would tell me. I think I'm close. I still don't know, exactly, but I think this is a stepping stone. Outside of writing a book, perhaps I will blog more, maybe I'll write an article. We'll see where this goes, but it's going. 

4. New Relationships

Life has so many twists and turns that need to be embraced. I'm learning to surrender to them and welcome what comes with each new part of life. As I continue to grow, learn and change, it's been so fulfilling to meet other women who really align with where I am in life. Holding onto and exuding positivity, spirituality, grace and joy. Adding to my tribe is nothing less than amazing and I can't wait to meet new, like-minded women.  

Thank you Clickin Moms and In Beauty and Chaos for taking the time to review my set and welcome me as a Pro into your communities. I hope to wear it well and contribute like so many have before me.