Maiden Voyage

I'm finally doing it! It is with my feet dragging and teeth clenched that I finally start putting my work on a blog. I have put it off for far too long for many reasons, but the main one being that I didn't feel qualified to have one. Insecurity being a close second. Who will actually read or care about what I put out? Turns out I'm not alone in the world of insecure creatives and we're all swimming in the same sea of self-doubt at one point or another. I wish that made me feel better, but here I am taking my blog on its maiden voyage!

I thought I would start with my story and briefly share the journey of where I am today. I promise I will try to be brief, but no guarantees. I'm an ENFJ and the baby of my family so I'm a shoo-in for being a talker.

In the summer of 2014, the same summer I got married, I told my husband, Will, "I don't have a hobby and I really want a camera." Cue his support of me buying my first DSLR from a good friend (Hi, Ethan!).  My motivation was that I wanted to have a nice camera for documenting travel, family, our marriage, etc. and that was it. I've always been known to love taking pictures (my family would argue mainly of myself, whoops) and I'm pretty sure I asked for a new point-and-shoot camera every other year for Christmas. But this DSLR was purely for a hobby, nothing more.

 Photo circa 2008!! My family was right...I pretty much only took photos of myself for a while... And look at that  editing. So glad I put my shirt in color for a rad affect. (*eye roll*) 

Photo circa 2008!! My family was right...I pretty much only took photos of myself for a while... And look at that  editing. So glad I put my shirt in color for a rad affect. (*eye roll*) 

For Christmas 2014, Will bought me my first upgraded lens for a whopping $150. Boy I wish they were all that cheap. I fell in love with it. I couldn't put it down and would shoot anything and everything to get that good depth of field. I took my camera everywhere. No seriously, everywhere, to Will's dismay and embarrassment. It was attached at the hip.

Later that spring, somehow for some reason, a friend from high school asked if I would do her engagement photos. I don't know why she asked or what qualified me to do them, but I think I said "Uhh, sure!" and asked my good friend (remember Ethan?) to shoot with me! We were a nervous wreck at the beginning of that shoot...fumbling over our settings and trying to pose them with confidence.

We apparently convinced them that we knew what we were doing and they asked us on the spot (BEFORE they even saw their engagement photos!) if we would shoot their wedding later that year. Whaaaaat?! Of course we would! It was super exciting and I still don't know how it happened. I had no clue how much work would spiral from that point on. 

  Here's a few shots from the engagement shoot, because I assume everyone was itching to see what they looked like. Thanks, Britt and Tyler for being the best first clients ever! 

Here's a few shots from the engagement shoot, because I assume everyone was itching to see what they looked like. Thanks, Britt and Tyler for being the best first clients ever! 

Just weeks later, another great friend of mine (Hi, Bailey!) was in desperate need of a photographer for her wedding that was just a month away. I was apparently very confident in my amateur abilities (ha!) and told Bailey I'd shoot her wedding for whatever her budget was. Boy was I lucky to have her say yes! She was the most radiant bride, and it was her wedding day that revealed to me just how much I loved photographing weddings. And so began the greatest creative journey I have ever been on and continue to travel. 

I'm sharing all of these background stories for two reasons. First, because I did not buy a camera with any intention of "making money" or starting a business for myself. I find great joy in beautiful images and the creative process of photography. That was enough for me. And secondly, I did not start off with ANY clue about ANYTHING. Without the total support of my husband and the knowledge of others offered freely to me, I would still be a girl with a DSLR shooting flowers (probably in auto) in my parent's backyard. I owe so much of where I'm at to the help and support of others who have walked the road with me (too many to list!). 

I have come a long way in my skills, experience and overall understanding of photography. But I am so far from "arriving." I never will arrive! And I love that. It keeps me grounded and pushes me to keep growing and refining my craft. I am constantly changing, improving, and defining my style of work. Did I mention the part about insecurity?? Okay, just making sure. As much as I've grown and improved, insecurity still follows me everywhere I go and is a constant battle in my head. The community of other creatives/photographers offers great support, though.

For your viewing pleasure, I have included some photos from my early days that are quite vulnerable to share and that I am by no means proud of!! But I can't write this first post acting like I just blossomed overnight in my work. No, no. Please have a good laugh at these with me...

  My first DSLR! I posted this picture to tell the world about it. Too bad it's not sharp and my hands are blurry. And...is that a...bathroom selfie?! 

My first DSLR! I posted this picture to tell the world about it. Too bad it's not sharp and my hands are blurry. And...is that a...bathroom selfie?! 

  This was actually my first second shooting experience. Thanks to my cousin Greg who let me tag along and practice. ( Clearly  I hadn't learned the magic idea of cooling down photos!!! Yikes)

This was actually my first second shooting experience. Thanks to my cousin Greg who let me tag along and practice. (Clearly I hadn't learned the magic idea of cooling down photos!!! Yikes)

  Bailey- A long time friend, high school soccer teammate, and my first bride! (Told you she was radiant!) She made these photos much more beautiful than I did.

Bailey- A long time friend, high school soccer teammate, and my first bride! (Told you she was radiant!) She made these photos much more beautiful than I did.

  My sweet husband who has been my default practice model since the beginning! This picture wouldn't be a total fail if I had noticed the smudges on my lens (note the blurry lighthouse😑)

My sweet husband who has been my default practice model since the beginning! This picture wouldn't be a total fail if I had noticed the smudges on my lens (note the blurry lighthouse😑)

  The new lens I got for Christmas. Wow, Ashtyn! Blessing the world with this shot of...your fuzzy socks?! Truly inspiring.  😂

The new lens I got for Christmas. Wow, Ashtyn! Blessing the world with this shot of...your fuzzy socks?! Truly inspiring. 😂

Now that I've shared with you plenty of mishaps, newbie shots, and rookie mistakes, I can happily move on and share more of my recent and improved work in future posts. Looking back on these images has given me great perspective of this journey, and even more gratefulness in my heart to be doing what I love. We all have to start somewhere and I am living proof of "two steps forward, one step back."  Thanks again for joining me, friends!