Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Best of 2009

pom wonderful pom wonderful

The best thing 2009 gave me, as a photographer, was the understanding that I am unique. In a sea of photographers with their own uniqueness, mine matters. It sets me apart and will determine the unique and singularity of my business and art. I learned that I am not you. I learned that practices like comparing and premeditating do not improve my uniqueness. I learned the power of unplugging, clarity, praise, hard-work and forgiveness. 2009 presented opportunities that improved my confidence when something doesn't fit or feel right.

Whenever I am lucky enough to mentor another photographer who is building their clientele the best piece of advise I give is this- anything that matters requires a certain level of difficulty. A photographer's work is both incredibly rewarding and deeply personal and because of that, we can expect difficulties including; second guessing, friends who take advantage, thankless effort, perfectionist confusion, late nights, pricing crisis, identity issues, gear lust, feelings of inadequacy, etc. I have a file dedicated to emails entitled "Hard Questions". Questions like, "Where are all of the images? Didn't you take a lot more than this?" or "Why isn't your disc included in all of your packages?" Questions like these can seem intimidating but here is the fact- your client is not a photographer and it is your job to explain your approach, work and art. I decided long ago that sensitive as I may be, these are learning opportunities that help me define the work I do not only to my clients, but to myself.

2009 gifted me with incredible clients, wonderful growth, great client feedback, technical improvements and a better sense of who I am and where I want to be as a photographer. There are certain aspects of this work that I have no interest in and there are some tedious necessities that drain my creative juices but there are things about my work that make me feel like the luckiest woman alive and after all is said and done, I love what I do.

I welcome 2010 and all of its success, growth, clients, challenges, and learning. I have some really great things brewing in the office and I cannot wait to get the Spring/Summer portrait season going. Expect to see more photos, more thoughts and another year of my hard work!

8 comments:

mary elizabeth said...

thank you so much for this post! this is exactly what i needed to hear. i'm at a complete crossroad as to what i want to do, where i want to go, how i want to do things with my photography. i will definitely remember your words here, when i'm feeling down or frustrated.

Garrett said...

One of the best things 2009 brought me was the opportunity to meet an awesome, amazing photographer named Ashley Thalman. How cool is that?

Ash said...

I feel you there. SO MUCH! Thanks for posting this... I'm glad I'm not the only one who can admit to struggling or second-guessing, etc., etc.

That said, I like you. And I like your honesty. Thanks for your encouragement all along the way--my website is almost done!

Kiera said...

You amaze me with your point of view.
You are such a incredible photographer and friend.
I learn so much from you.
I am so grateful to know you.

{Marie Long} said...

Thanks for the post. I wasn't sure about starting a business in Photography because of all of the many photographers in Utah alone. But I relized after a while that I love the art of photography, that I too can have at least some kind of success in this field, and that I am different. You are a great Photographer and I love your work (almost more than my own ;) Thanks again for your greatness!

Vitality Spa said...

Haha I know there are a few emails in that file from a few people in my circle! I'm glad I could provide people to send u those emails...

Good advice though. A lot of it applies to all kinds of small business owners trying to stand out- such as an esthetician :)

Holly-girl said...

Oh, Ashley ... this was good, VERY good. My thoughts this year have been running along this same thread, but I haven't been able to articulate them quite as eloquently as you did in this post. Thanks for giving voice to my thoughts! :-) Thank you for providing some much needed inspiration today.

paige said...

Thank you for posting this. I just came across your blog, and I just got my first professional gig as a photographer this past summer. I worked so hard on it, and the feedback was mixed. I thought I nailed it. I learned a lot about what I want to see in my images through this process, and the truth is that the images toward the end of the editing process were much better because of what I learned throughout the process. This is so encouraging to me as an artist. Thank you.