January 22, 2014

I was doing it all wrong | Life lessons I've learned along the way...

When I started this blog in 2010 I did it because I was told I needed to. 
I was told I needed to help people understand "my process".
I had no idea what I was doing. 
I didn't know who my target audience was. I didn't know what they liked, or what they wanted to read. I just spoke about what I was doing, and uploaded images that I wanted to "share". I tried to be open, hoping it would expand my growing photography business.
Over the years things have changed so much.
I have changed so much. 
I became a wife, grown as an artist, mother, and woman.
I've learned what I love to do, who I want to be, and the people I want to surround myself with.

Be fearless!
In my blog post titled My Testimony | My Story | My Life, I wrote about my childhood. I wrote about being a product of a dysfunctional family, and a child of domestic violence. I decided to put all my business out there, to be fearless! It was one of the hardest things for me to write, and was one of the biggest things I was afraid to talk about.  Growing up I was never allowed to talk about the abuse in our household. Once I became an adult no one in my family wanted to re-live any of those events. No one wanted to talk. After blogging about it, and putting it up for the world to see, there was nothing that could hold me back. 
I felt FEARLESS! I learned to do everything that I thought I couldn't do. There is nothing that will stop me from doing what I want to do in life. 

Art is meant to be shared! 
When I look back at the images I uploaded when I first started my blog I'm embarrassed. Not because of the image quality, but because of the watermarks. After having my images "stolen" I watermarked everything. I wanted everyone to know my work, and I didn't want anyone taking my work without my permission. It took me a long time to realize that my ART is meant to be shared. The watermarks only took away from my art. Allowing the viewer to read the "words" instead of enjoying the image.
I realize my art is meant to be seen. It is meant to be shared, so there is no need for the intrusive watermarks. Especially if it is art. 
Create art and share it with the world. 

Do what you love, and the money will come!
For so long I didn't know what to blog about. I focused on photo shoots. Displaying images that I created. It was so hard to update this blog. It became a chore. It wasn't fun anymore, and it felt like job. I became a photographer so I could do what I love, and this was making me second guess myself. I would say, "Do I even want to do this?"
At that time the answer was no. I was doing everything, anything my clients asked for. I was helping models create portfolio books and comp cards. I was helping business owners create business cards and marketing material for their businesses. Of course they were using my images so I thought I should do everything in my power to help. I didn't know how to run a graphics design business so I wasn't paying myself correctly for the amount of time that went into the extra work. I didn't know who the best printing companies were, so I was paying way to much to get these marketing materials printed. One customer, would bring another customer and I thought, "This is what I should be doing, right?" 
I was so unhappy. Yes, I was booking more photo shoots, but all those clients were not my target customers, and at that time I didn't wanna turn them away. I was too afraid to say no. So there I was, running my own business but I hated it. I had to stop, start over, figure out why I was so unhappy, and change it. 
I stopped creating marketing material for others and only provided them with photography. At first it was scary to walk away from money, but in the process I was happier. I began to only photograph what I wanted, and removed money as the main motivation in deciding if I wanted to work on a project. I only booked jobs I was excited about, with the people that I wanted to work with.
I fell back in love with photography.
I soon realized what types of photography I liked more than others. I realized I love to photograph people and events. I love documenting events and creating short films with interesting people. The birth of my son taught me I love to photograph babies, children, and families. So now, thats all I do. You have to realized it's ok to walk away from "money", never be afraid to tell someone no. 
I'm an artist.
I'm an African-American Portrait Photographer
and Film Maker. 
And I know what makes me happy. 
Until next time,
Stay Positive, Stay Inspired, and Stay Blessed!
What have you learned about yourself over the past few years? I'd love to find out, leave it below in the comment section.

January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! 

I'm so excited to see what's in store for 2014.
So much has changed and I can't wait to fill you with all the details.
This year I PROMISE to be more open.
I'll be sharing my highs, my lows, my art, and my life. 
So get ready!

Thank you for your continued support!
Welcome to my life. 

I am Tora Carter. 

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