I’m at the point in this 365 project where taking a pic each day is a little bothersome but I’m going to keep going. I’ve realized that I’m most happy with the project when I use my DSLR instead of my phone. It takes a lot of mental effort some days since I have to set my camera up on a tripod, prep the remote trigger and try to figure out what to do in the pic. Not to mention, my tripod is literally falling apart! woo sahhhhhh.
It’s time like these when I try to shake things up with lighting and location. I’ve been shooting in my apartment most of the time but as the weather changes, I will make it a point to get outside for more colorful shots with plenty of background details.
Sometimes you just gotta keep going, keep working, keep trying, even when the sun goes down. The more productive I become, the more proactive I realize I need to become. Next year, I want to put myself in front of hundreds of couples and women via pictures and videos. Anyone whose had to make videos alone knows that it’s a time consuming pain in the butt. But (hahah) people love to watch videos because they make us feel like we are getting to know the person on the screen. Hence, I just have to woman up, record, edit and post my work consistently.
To celebrate their first year of marriage, my clients booked a photoshoot together. The weather has been rainy and cold lately so I asked my good friend Brandi of B Grand Events for help. She helped us set up a session at the Downtown Dallas Westin Hotel. She also took this picture of me in action! Both myself and my clients were grateful to have such a lovely spot to work in.
It’s getting cold outside and that air blows up and down the hallways of our building. When I go to the gym, I put on layers so I don’t freeze on my way in and out. When I took this pic, I was pretty tired from jumping on the elliptical. Haven’t gotten my pre-thanksgiving stamina back yet!
We spent the evening at the home of a really kind couple (they are on the far left). A lot of Brandon’s co-workers were there so we took this pic before the end of the night. We went for the first time last year and had a blast so I was happy they invited us again. We made sure to leave gift bottle of Bellini. Turns out, its our hostesses’ favorite! Afterwards, we made our way back to our side of town and I paid the rent for my shared studio space. Gotta order some new checks pronto!
I needed to get back to business so I posted up at my local chamber of commerce and did some admin work. Guess the vacation is officially over! Now I’ve gotta re-train my brain to focus after having so many days off in Saint Louis. I’m falling back into my morning routine pretty well though. Not so much can be said of my evening routine yet.
Today I got up at 5:30am feeling fully awake. It’s probably because of the daylight savings time shift. Anyways, I took advantage of the my time and started my morning routine early. I got a great cardio workout in and headed to the library to get some work done. I was done with everything by 12:30! It was nice finishing my work so soon but I admit, I was bored after a little while, LOL. In the evening I went to a Young Professionals of Plano Pizza Party to celebrate the fact that we all voted. Every new person I met was a financial advisor, strange. Well everyone except this lady who works in the libraries. She showed me how to get my work exhibited in the library for free! This made the trip worth it! Tomorrow is technically my off day but I can’t just lay around!
If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. — African Proverb
I’ve been challenging myself to take myself more seriously when it comes to telling others about my lifestyle photography brands and finding new clients. So far, I’ve gone to a few networking events, reached out to lots of people online and conducted a styled shoot at my studio in preparation for a new marketing initiative. I’m on fire! It feels invigorating to be taking action towards the kind of life I want for myself. If you haven’t seen them yet, check out my photography brands: Sweet Girl Photos and Gernelle Nelson.
It’s also been a little draining. I managed to catch a bug from one of my social escapades and have been fighting it off for about four days now. Sunday I was stuck in bed, the worst of the virus had caught up to me but now I’m at that ‘coughing but not contagious’ stage. You know, the part where you sip large amounts of hot fluids and feel antsy because your energy has started to come back.
Anyways, back to these connections. One of my friends is working on building her makeup artistry business. She moved here from Puerto Rico after the hurricane with her husband and only two suit cases of her belongings. Leaving everything behind, she’s hoping to start fresh by finding opportunities to work with new clients. I recently collaborated with her on my styled shoot. She did an amazing job on our model and has agreed to be my preferred MUA whenever I have a studio session. Check out her work below and follow Damarys on Instagram.
Another friend has opened her own venue space and has agreed to partner with me on a monthly event to get lots of ladies and little girls in front of my camera. I’m hoping it brings lots of eyes to our brands and adds on retainer clients in the process. When you get a chance, check out all the Lemonade Lounge has to offer, especially if you want to host a part or workshop soon.
I’m going to join my local chamber of commerce soon and find ways to create more partnerships with local business owners in my neighborhood. The other day I attended a chamber meeting and was pleasantly surprised to find a room packed with excited people ready to talk about their businesses and support others. People were giving their 30 second commercials, thanking those who had sent them referrals and sharing events they had coming up. As I listened, I started coming up with ways I could parter with these brands to reach more of my target audience and it was pretty much a done deal from there. I’ll be getting social with the chamber very soon.
How is it that I feel energetic enough to make it through a Taebo workout, yet unable to get off the couch at the same time? (Gets up, walks down 5 flights of stairs, checks mail, jogs back up 5 flights of stairs and resumes typing) Sigh, it all started two months ago….(Proceeds to waste 20 minutes scrolling on FB while eating grapes… I have a problem!!)
This past June, Brandon and I took our first trip abroad. Since I was hired to capture a group vacation as the official trip photographer for Vron’s World, Brandon decided to book the trip too. When I tell you we had a blast, that doesn’t even come close to describing it. We experienced Havana, Cuba to the fullest. We danced the night away salsa dancers, saw a shipwreck while snorkeling (also a first!), took an AfroCuban tour ate dinner beside the sea and much more! All my years of Spanish class came in handy. Being able to speak with locals revitalized my desire to learn new languages. It was incredible and we can’t wait to take another trip across the globe with Vron someday.
Once we came back, Cuba felt like a distant memory. This is when the trouble began.
At this time, I was heavily considering what to do with my life after struggling to build my photography businesses. It’s fun, challenging and hard as heck to build your business from scratch when you only have a few hundred in the bank. There have been plenty of times when I felt like a failure but my heart kept telling me that this is what I was supposed to be doing. Looking over my life, my attention was heavily divided. During the week, I was spending 6 – 8 hours a day babysitting my niece and the rest of my time recovering, LOL. Weekends were split between errands, church, dance ministry and spending time with Brandon. Needless to say, I hardly had any mental or physical energy left for working on my brands. Something had to give!
I quickly realized that part of my anxiety of attempting to work in a cluttered apartment. We had stuff overflowing from our bookshelves, dishes taking over the countertops, books, bags and other random items invading my desk. It was no wonder I couldn’t get anything done. So I started discarding the junk from the life. Anything that didn’t get discarded got assigned a new ‘home’. Then I started clearing my schedule so that I’d have time to give my best efforts to work during the week and on weekends. Now I’m no longer babysitting and in a few weeks, I’ll be on hiatus from dance ministry. You’d think that would open up my mind to progress right?
Well I guess my mind has become weak from a lack of stimulation for two months and now I have to build it back up if I want to do anything productive. I’ve been eating primarily fruits, grains and veggies but my sleep quality has really sucked the last couple of days. When I’m up, I have to convince myself to try to work, or at least move my body until I feel an inertia to keep going forward. I guess this is the ‘withdrawal’ stage of my former routine. Dang it karma! Despite that, I have managed to book a few shoots, network and spend time reading for pleasure. You know how long it’s been since I read or listened to an audiobook just for fun? Months! Maybe a year or so!
And now, here I type at my almost cleared desk, staring at my to do list that hasn’t yet been finished. And yet, I feel hopeful. Hopeful, because I now have put time back into my hands. Relived because I was able to let go of some things and obligations that were stressing me out more than anything else. Thankful because I’m blessed enough to have these issues without a day job. Yes, I’m feeling antsy and tired (WTH) but I’m free to figure things out again. I can’t wait to see what happens when I create a new daily routine for my life.