As 2013 makes its grand entrance, I find it impossible not to look back and reflect on the year I am leaving behind. This is a common theme in my world every new year so if you were here for The Best of 2011 a lot of what I am about to say will probably sound somewhat familiar.
I'd be willing to bet that if I asked those people who know me best to come up with some words to describe me, hard working, over achieving, critical and perfectionist would probably rank somewhere in the top 10. While those qualities have served me well and gotten me through many challenges, they also tend to be a bit of a curse.
In so many areas of my life I am my own worst critic and I find faults where none really exist. Instead of celebrating the many successes, I dwell on the few failures. Instead of recognizing the massive accomplishments, I fret over all that is still left undone. Instead of feeling proud of all that I now know, I feel shame over everything that is still left to learn. No where is this more apparent than in my pursuit of my photography business dream.
As DSLR cameras become more affordable and information about how to use them becomes more readily available, more and more professional photographers are hanging out their shingle every single day. It can be a tough market to compete in, and sometimes it can be so tempting to compare my work to that of others and feel that mine falls short. It can be difficult to watch other's businesses appear to take off virtually over night, while I'm left dreaming of the day that mine will do the same. And some days it is impossible not to wonder if I should just give up the dream and call it quits.
I think it is important to stop and remind myself that no matter where I am on my path, there will always be people who are better off than I am and people who are worse off than I am. The important thing to concentrate on is my own growth, and the best way for me to do that is to look back at all that I have accomplished this past year and realize just how far I have traveled.
I set out at the beginning of 2012 to try to realize that I am enough and I deserve to be successful in my photography venture, and in life. I actually wasn't sure if I would ever manage to accomplish this goal, but I can honestly say that I have finally reached the point where I do feel like I am enough. I am talented enough. I am creative enough. And my photos are good enough. It's been a long, hard, uphill hike to get to this point in my photography journey, but I finally made it. Whew!
I've recently begun to realize that the real joy in life must come from the journey, not the destination. Because let's face it, there is no final destination. Life isn't a race with someone standing at the end of it to let me know where the finish line is located. No matter where I am along the path there is always something greater to aspire towards. If I can't celebrate the success along every step of the way, happiness will forever be out of my grasp.
The goal for 2013 is to concentrate on finding the joy in the journey. I need to learn how to be content with the fact that my facebook page has 500 likes instead of depressed by the fact that it doesn't have 600. I need to be happy when I get 1 comment on a blog post instead of upset that I didn't get 10. I need to be thrilled at the opportunity that I am given when a single client chooses me to capture their special memories instead of upset that several more aren't waiting in the wings. Because let's be honest, spending my life doing nothing but reaching for that next number is a recipe for a never ending cycle of disappointment.
To start the year off headed firmly in the right direction, please join me as I find the joy in some of my favorite portraits of 2012, in no particular order. I'd like to send a HUGE thank you to all of these wonderful and amazing individuals, who allowed me to capture these images and to share a special moment with them and their families.
I didn't take as many pet photos in 2012 as I did in 2011 so I didn't think my furry friends needed their own post this year. Below are a few of my favorite pet portraits from 2012, in random order...