Anytime I submit any of my work to any type of publication, whether it be online or in print, I get that turn green, pit of my stomach, nausea type feeling. That spike in your adrenaline that leaves you just a little shaky. There's this little voice in my head that tells me I'm not good enough or I still have a long way to go before any submission will get published. Putting myself out there for such intense scrutiny is frightening to me and my thin skin tends to leave me feeling discouraged when I receive a rejection. I have received many of those and they never get easier. That said, I have a wonderful team of supporters that have my back. I have the best friends and family always cheering me on! I also have a wonderful, supportive community of friends, who are specifically in this industry (I call them friendors), who I never feel are competing with me and are always lifting me up and encouraging me to grow in this business.
At the top of the friendor list is the very incredible Misty Prewitt of Misty Saves the Day. To say this girl SAVES MY DAY is an understatement. She is my marketing consultant by title but really she should go by business and life coach not to mention when it comes to these types of things she is the most calming force. She has brought a smile to my face in the darkest of days this past year. If you are ever looking for someone to help you grow your business in the best possible ways with the most raw and sincere honesty then I promise you she is exactly what you need.
A few months back, Misty and I sat down to discuss the future of my business and what direction I wanted to take it. She asked me about stylized shoots and did I have any ideas. I fired off a couple and she quickly told me...nope, no, been done and nu uh! (see there's that honesty) and then it struck me. A couple weeks before that, I had read an article that featured wedding decor out of the ordinary and one of the pieces that stuck out to me was a feather bouquet. Then, at a recent visit to the Virginia Zoo, I was over in the area where they have birds and it got me to thinking about our brides (and grooms for that matter) and how their weddings are sort of this great event that symbolizes them taking flight on the most amazing adventure that we all call marriage. It's not an easy thing to do and it takes hard work and dedication to accomplish it but the exhilarating feeling you get knowing you are not alone, getting to share those experiences with the person you love and the wonderful things you get to experience together make it all worth it. So I pitched a bird themed shoot to Misty and her face lit up and she said "Oh if it's about birds you know I'm down." Then she asked where I see it happening and I just couldn't envision anywhere other than the zoo. I expected the look of "not going to happen" but instead got "we can make that happen".
A few weeks ago, I submitted that bird themed shoot to Tidewater and Tulle. It was a project I felt pretty passionately about submitting, if for no other reason than the very talented vendors who contributed to this shoot deserved to be showcased. Misty pushed and pushed me (in all of the best and positive ways) to hit the submit button and yes I was procrastinating. Why? Because that voice was back telling me that there are photographers with far bigger names and far better talent than I. Why would a site as HUGE as Tidewater and Tulle want my work? Right? I knew I owed it to those great people that helped me to hit submit so I sucked it up, put on my big girl panties and hit the button. Enter that turn green, pit of my stomach, nauseated feeling....haha. The great thing about Tidewater and Tulle is they are awesome with communication. I just knew and prepared myself to receive the rejection email within a week.
Within a day I was receiving emails from them requesting a few more pictures to showcase certain aspects of the shoot and then the glorious email letting me know this project was going to be....FEATURED!!! I was over the moon excited. I couldn't call Misty fast enough...or my sister, or my bestie, or my daughter or well yeah pretty much anyone close to me. Keeping it a secret from my friendors was going to be so difficult!!!
What I learned from this process you ask? (ok maybe you didn't but I'm going to tell you anyway) I learned I can do anything with the support of my family and friends. I learned that I need to stop comparing myself to others out there and love my own story and my own talent. When it comes to photography, it's not just my job. It's my passion. A good friend of mine continually tells me that when she sees a camera in my hand, my smile is the biggest. That's very telling to me. I realized I am good enough! All of that self doubt and trepidation wasn't helping me achieve anything. That little voice wasn't encouraging me to succeed. It was only hindering me. Yes I do still have work to do but the minute I stop having work to do or growth to accomplish, I am going to quit doing this. I think that's true for anyone out there, whether you are a nurse, a dentist, a wedding vendor, a midwife, a calligraphist or whatever you feel passionate about doing. From me to you: You are doing the work! You are growing! Believe in yourself! You are enough!!!
Now can we talk about the greatness that was this shoot for a second? Misty, of course, coordinated the contributors and the day of for me so that I could concentrate entirely on taking pretty pictures. She even calmed my heart when I dropped a battery on one of my favorite lenses. Ashley at the Virginia Zoo took such great care of us. The zoo gave us full access so long as we kept an escort with us so we stayed in the proper areas so that staff was aware we were allowed to be there. Ashley was a trooper as I dragged her around the zoo and she waited patiently for each part to be completed. Then the amazing team of Sharon and Brittney of Chic Unique Vintage Rentals and Events swooped in and turned the zoo into my vision within minutes after having only a couple conversations with Misty and I. They brought the most unique pieces. Pieces that I never even thought of but once there couldn't have imagined not having. Brittney even climbed a tree for me. That simple and yet stunning cake that was featured? That was the very talented Whipped Up By Mimi. I'm so lucky I got to have her work on this project. All of that glittery, sparkly, completely gorgeous jewelry that you see showcased in various places on this shoot was provided by Either Ore Jewelry at Strawbridge. The whispy, colorful, beautiful florals were done by Fluttering Flowers who never ceases to inspire and amaze me. Misty found this wonderful lady out of South Carolina called S Squared Designs to design and make the gorgeous stationary. Somehow she found the perfect colors and the right layout for this shoot. Those sweet little personalized touches you see like those wooden feathers with the bride and grooms name on them were provided by the great people at Jollity & Co were the perfect addition. These guys are my go to shop for any great party. They have the greatest stuff in their shop. Did you see that absolutely amazing model of mine? That is the very talented and incredibly savvy Elizabeth Alfier of Behind the Veil Studio. Anyone who gets the opportunity to have their hair, makeup or both done by her is blessed. I know I am just having her in my life. She has been a godsend to me this year. Last but never least, that sweet little tea length dress that Liz is wearing was provided by Maya Couture. It was delicate and the lace pieces were so beautiful! I cannot thank Staci Jelly enough for helping us get such an awesome dress. To all of you that contributed, you absolutely rock my socks! Everything you put into this made me feel so important and so special. I felt so ready because I knew each of you had brought your amazing talent to the project. THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH!!!
Here are some pictures from that day. Some of which you may have seen on the Tidewater and Tulle blog and others are some of my personal favorites. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did taking them.