CREATE.SHARE.INSPIRE. // ups & downs in the creative world
Hey ya'll. It's Erin. Today I wanted to get real. I wanted to share a little bit of my honest feels lately - which I know we all go through in some capacity in our lives. From struggles to motivation to feeling totally rockin' awesome - life and creativity as an entrepreneur is a constant roller coaster ride. It's fun and exhilarating, but also terrifying and out of control at times.
If you know me, you know that photography is an extremely important part of my life. It's a huge chunk of who I am. Also a huge chunk of WHY I am here. For the last 8 years I've been a photographer and I honestly can't imagine my life without this outlet. I also can't say or imagine who I would be without being a photographer. Creating art is the fuel that keeps my creative fire burning.
Sometimes though, that fire starts to slow down and cool until it's just hot coals that need a little stoking before they completely burn out. I think all artists and creative entrepreneurs go through these ups and down, ebbs & flows of creativity, confidence, self doubt, recognizing what works and what doesn't, struggles on staying focused, feelings of failure - and losing track of why you create in the first place. I am currently working on coming out of that negative side of the creative mind. A place where I get in my own head, telling myself - I'm not good enough - I'm not improving - doubting my skills - judging my self based on others successes - anxiety over what others think. I tend to let negative thoughts consume my mind, and in turn diminish all confidence in the art I create. At times I need the reminder to stay true to who I am, my own unique style, and not judge my skills and worth based on others. It's easy to look at others work and tear yourself apart. These negative feelings affect me for days on end and put me in a huge rut.
These ups & downs are a struggle I work on daily to overcome.
If you struggle with self doubt like me - until finally you can move that annoying road block to the side, stand back, and realize that what was in your way this whole time was yourself. I get in my own way of chasing my dreams sometimes, and often need a little reminder of why I do this in the first place. So I remind myself, because I LOVE it. I create because it's my passion. I create to work with a team of people who are all crazy about their craft. I create to fill spaces in my life that need a little colour sometimes. I create to express emotions, joyful or not. I create to help others see the beauty they posses and how important they are to the world around them. I create to help others reach their dreams. Often I forget that they are also helping me reach my dreams as well.
I often need to step back - breathe - look at how far I've come, and remember that art is subjective - it's about passion - it's vulnerable - either people will like it or they wont, and then realizing that that's okay.
I had a little breakthrough last weekend. I was feeling full of nerves and anxiety. I was booked to teach a one-on-one mentoring session to a fellow photographer here in Saskatoon. This wasn't my first rodeo in teaching, I've taught numerous workshops and mentoring sessions - but no matter how many times I get this experience to share, the nerves and negative voices flood my mind. I was so excited to share my day with her - I had three amazing shoots planned to teach her three styles and techniques I use in my work, with an incredible team. Yet through my excitement, that road block in my brain kept creeping in leading up to our day in the studio - causing me to question if I had anything of value to teach this wonderful photographer. I wanted to be sure I had things to share that would help her in her photography path, and could provide a positive and inspiring experience. The day of the mentoring session came, I woke up early, had my coffee, prepped myself for a 12 hour work day, looked at myself in the mirror and told myself that I have value and, pardon my french, told all those negative feelings to f**k right off.
I met lovely Lindee Heffner Photography at the studio along with my fabulous and inspiring beauty team, Holly Decker Makeup Artistry, Kailyn Adamson Hair, Laurie Brown fashion designer, and my amazing models, Hannah - Edge Agency & Next Models, Maddi - Stray Model Management, and Kristen - Independent. Getting in the groove with all these amazing women around me reminded me again why we create and why teamwork fills my soul with so much passion. Seeing the team execute my vision for each model and the look come to life ignited my fire to start teaching.
In my mentoring sessions I show others from start to finish how I create portraits and fashion photography. From the inspiration, booking the right models & team, lighting, posing, tips & tricks, and finally my retouching workflow. I've had others in the industry question my mentoring sessions, telling me I am giving too much away, and that I am only creating competition for myself. This I completely disagree with. I teach because I feel empowered and blessed to share. I teach because I want others to see that you can create beautiful work with simple steps, skills, and vision. I teach because I love seeing the lightbulbs go off in others minds. I teach because I love to see others become inspired and excited to pick up the camera and challenge themselves creatively. I teach because when I got my first camera 8 years ago and said "I want to be a fashion photographer", I would have loved to meet someone willing to share. All these reasons bring me back to WHY I do this, and why I love this work. I am blessed to be an artist, even through the constant ups & down - I always come out stronger.
So, if you're still following along - if you struggle too - know you're not alone. Continue to grow, continue to put yourself out there, and continue to shine!
A few behind the scenes shots of Lindee capturing beautiful Kristen in our outdoor & natural light session. Lighting assisting by my good friend and amazing designer Laurie Brown.
Beauty portraits of Hannah Dawn - Edge Agency & Next Models Canada. From our segment on beauty photography and retouching for cosmetic/makeup/skincare portraits & campaigns. Here I taught how to shoot with a simple two light set up, additional reflectors for a beautiful soft light on the skin, followed by photoshop retouching to create natural yet flawless skin results.
This look on Maddi was based on teaching clean studio lighting for fashion, working with model movements and expression all while showing off the designers wardrobe in a flattering way. The shot below is a natural light portrait, creating a romantic and dream like look. Two different styles of editing/retouching with the same model and wardrobe. Wardrobe by YXE designer Laurie Brown! So beautiful.
If you're an aspiring portrait / fashion photographer and looking to add to your portfolio and learn a thing or two, visit my website, www.erincrooks.com to read more about my one-on-one mentoring session and how you can book one customized to your skills and photography direction!
Sending Love & Light out!