I just did something crazy. | Stories Framed Photography enters a contest.

There's something you probably don't know about me. I HATE CONTESTS. I avoid competitions like the plague. Ratings make me nervous. And no, it's not a test anxiety problem. It actually stems from something very specific. 

In high school, I ran for student council president. FOUR TIMES. And I lost. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. One time, if my battered mind remembers correctly, I lost by only a handful of votes. Ugh.

Clearly, my doomed political career has scarred me for life.

Now, when it comes time for presidential elections, even if I am not posting signs in my yard, I get really nervous for the candidates. I just don't want them to have to face the next morning sitting in the loss column. 

Clearly, I have issues.

Flash forward to today.

I never enter contests. When I was a hardcore scrapbooker, I never submitted my work for publication in magazines or website contests.When I was a hobbyist photographer,  I never entered my photography to the State Fair. I still won't enter my work for competition through PPA, galleries or magazines. I just can't do it. If there is voting involved, count me out.

But today something came across my desk  today and on a total whim, I entered, shocking even myself. I knew that if I hesitated for a single moment, I'd back out. So I quickly wrote up my answers and whizzed it off to the Interwebs.

This is me, hiding behind my laptop after pressing "send".

This is me, hiding behind my laptop after pressing "send".

Here's the scoop...

For the last year, I have been utilizing a great referral site called Thumbtack. Honestly, in several photography message boards I participate in, mentioning Thumbtack  results in heated debates over its usefulness. Say what you want, fellow photogs, but I have had great success with it. I have been hired by some really fantastic people who I never would have met otherwise. I have been hired almost 50 times in the last year JUST from Thumbtack.

(If you are a photographer or other professional, drop me a line, I'd love to help you with your Thumbtack strategy.)

Thumbtack just sent its Professionals an offer. They will make one (two? three? twenty-seven?) of us a video advertising my business (ha! did I say MY???).

If nothing else comes from this contest, I took a moment to write down some of my thoughts on WHY I chose to become a professional photographer. It's nice to revisit your WHY every once in a while. 

Keep reading.... this is what I sent them. 

How did I decide to go into business as a photographer? 

It was December 12, 2011. I had recently turned 38 and was struck by a defining moment of clarity - if I have a single regret when I turn 40, I'll only have myself to blame. Five days later, my husband and I decided on a name for my business and began working on my website. It went live January 1. And to this day (past 40, thankyouverymuch!) I don't regret starting my business for a second!

Why photography? 

As most photographers will say, I have a passion for it! Of course. But I also love telling stories. Stories Framed Photography gives me the opportunity to tell stories in pictures. My stories, clients' stories. The quiet and still moments and the big, bold and loud moments. 

I love it when I know I've caught the expression on a child's face or the love in a mom's eyes... and then THEY see it in the photograph. If I weren't a grownup I would probably jump up and down and cheer when that happens. It's so invigorating! Or when a parent says, "you CAPTURED my child!" or "they don't even look like they're freezing cold!". That's my work at its best.

How do I know when I've hit a home run with my work?

Verbal confirmation, like I just described above, is one way. But not everyone is so free with their words. Sometimes the way I know I've succeeded is when there is absolute silence. When I show the photographs to a family and they say nothing, many times I only have to look at their faces to know. More than likely their eyes are filled with tears. For me, emotion is success. Especially when it's the dad who is flooding the room! 

Ultimately my goal with child and family photography is to capture children as they are - happy, serious, mad, glad - because they grow up TOO FAST. I want to capture tweens and teens for the same reason. Whatever lingering youth remains in their faces and expressions I want to bottle up, and sprinkle onto the canvas that is my photography. 

Quick, before they grow up.