Recently, someone asked me what I did for a living - and I was like how do you not know?! I feel like I have "photographer" tattooed on my forehead (maybe I could get it tatted in like invisible ink so it could send out a subliminal message of some kind… #goodideas). When I told her I was photographer, she told me she thought I was a model because I have so many photos of myself.
I was like. That's the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me (except that one time somebody told me I look like Beyonce.) And then I realized.. this could be a problem. What if someone came on my site & was like oh cool look at this model, who takes her pictures?! This would be like my nightmare. Also what a first world problem to actually say (picture this in a British accent) "Oh nooo what if someone thinks I'm a modelllll" *hair toss*
Anyway, have you read my About Me? (You should). I'm a woman on a mission, for realzies. Because
I want you to know you're beautiful. I'll take your picture and prove it.
And that's where the photography thing started for me. I simply wanted to show my friends how BEAUTIFUL they were. And I knew how powerful that message was when I didn't just TELL them, when I showed them. Pictures are worth a thousand words.. blah blah blah. I could tell my friends a thousand times how beautiful they were and it would mean nothing compared to showing them their photos. Pictures are worth a thousand times MORE than words, is a better way to put it.
But anyway, less about everyone else, more about me. If I'm out there to prove to everyone else how beautiful I think they are, why do I have so many freakingggg photosss offf myselfff? Do I just need to be proven that I am beautiful time and time again? Well, I mean, if that were it, I'd be fine with that :) But there's so much more.
The Real Reasons I Have So Many Photos Of Myself
(and why you should, too)
1. I Love To Put Myself In My Clients Shoes
FIrst, I need you to listen to my podcast episode (did you know I have a podcast? I totally do) with Jamie Hyatt. We talked about different ways to empathize with your clients- aka to feel what they feel, and how they feel in the moment they're being photographed. Why is this important? BECUASE YOU'RE TERRIFIED TO GET YOUR PHOTOS TAKEN. Omgggg if I could have a penny for every time a client tells me "I'm really awkward in front of the camera, not like your other clients who look like models, but no, me, I'm the awkward one" (if I had a penny for every time someone said this, I'd have like 2 dollars.. so that's kind of a lackluster metaphor there.) And what if I had never stepped in front of a camera? What if I never felt the way that you did when you stepped in front of my huge lens? I would have no idea how to help you. I would have no clue how to guide you through posing, how to say "I know this feels awkward, you're doing great!", how to talk to you and not just hide my face behind Charlie (that's my camera's name), how to walk you through what to wear. And I couldn't have just pictured in my mind "What would it feelllll like" and sit all zen like and try to picture it. NO. I have to live it.
Being behind the camera helps me help you.
When Jamie photographed John and I (omg look at these pictures), I told her that I didn't love the right side of my face being photographed (everyone has their thing, you know). And she made sure to have my left side be the majority of photos without making me feel like she was agreeing with me, like "YES. The right side of your face is hideous, let's hide it." She was simply respecting my preferences, and wanted me to have the photos I felt the most comfortable in.
When clients have told me before don't photograph me like this, don't photograph this side of my face, etc, etc, to be honest I always felt like that meant that they didn't trust me. It always felt like they were telling me "I feel like you are going to try to take bad pictures of me and don't you freaking dare." 'and I would feel a little insulted! But as soon as I said those words to Jamie, I realized that that is absolutely not true. I trusted Jamie's vision, her posing, her photography skills, her judgement, I basically trust this girl with my life, and me telling her that I hated my right side had nothing to do with her, and everything to do with me.
Being behind the camera teaches me that everyone has pain points and how to respect them.
2. I have a ton of photographer friends.
And what do you think photographers do together? Sit and talk about the theory of photography, compare lighting systems, rejoice over Daylight Savings Time, Google what Jasmine Star is up to, reconfigure our ISOs, aperture settings, ooh & ahh over the new Canon 5d Mark IV coming out that may make or break the photography industry? Yes. Yes we talk about all of that. And then when we are done talking, we go take pictures of each other. Why?
- To practice. Want to be amazing at what you do? Do it every day.
- To location scout. We don't always want to test out new locations on clients who are paying for our time, we love to scout around for new spots with each other, finding the best spots, and making sure that we aren't like trespassing on private property, which has happened more times than fifty.
- -To test new equipment. HAVE YOU SEEN THE 85mm f 1.2?! I hadn't either, until I rented it, tested it out on Melissa Jean and then was like ohemgeeeee. THIS IS AMAZING I MUST HAVE IT NOW. What if I hated it, and wasted my clients time? Thanks pero no thanks.
- To have fresh photos on our own websites. Marketing materials are just as important for us as they are for anyone- especially for those of us who run personal brands (aka I am Asia Croson Photography, not Moment Capturing Photography). It's important for my business for people to know what I look like, so they can be connected with who they are choosing to hire.
- To learn from each other. I pick up sooo many things every time I am photographed by another photographer, and I know they are learning just as much when they are being photographed by me. What I love about the friends I have made in this industry (near or far) is that this is a #communityovercompetition. I know that there are some photographers out there who wouldn't want me to improve at all, let alone be a part of that process. But I am so lucky that the photographers I have met and built amazing friendships with are incredibly generous with their resources, their equipment, their recommendations, their experiences, and their expertise. Jamie Hyatt taught me how to hold my fingers to look like a Disney Princess, Melissa taught me that I can do video & photograph at the same time, Deanna took a filter off my lens that was making it so blurry I couldn't even focus and I ALMOST RETURNED THE LENS because of it. *eye roll emoji*. Where I would be without my photog friends, I don't even know. Somewhere in a blurry world of no video and claw fingers. NIGHTMARE.
3. I do really cool things.
Just recently, I went to Sedona to visit Paige. In September, I took a road trip through Antelope Canyon and Grand Canyon with Mallory & Deanna. In a few weeks, I am going to Vancouver to visit Jamie. Last year, I went to Denver for New Years. This is not to brag about my fabulous adventures (but like, I AM SO LUCKY to have such fabulous adventures), but like. What those experiences would be to me without photographs? Memories that would fade. And that makes my little heart shrivel just thinking about it. I want to CAPTURE THOSE MOMENTS. Ugh how cliche can I be?! But seriously. The photos I have of John and I in Boston remind me of every moment we had there, of how much I bonded with his family while I was there, how well we travel together and how much I love him. And if I didn't have these pictures? I'd be like "DO I EVEN LOVE YOU?! HAVE WE EVER EVEN BEEN ANYWHERE TOGETHER?! WHO EVEN ARE YOU?!" ;)
I'm not a journal keeper- as much as I love to blog, I cannot get the consistent write-what-you-did-today or write-how-you-felt-today thing down. You know what's more efficient & more artistic for me? Photos. Consider my photos like a journal. Like a scrapbook!
Because photos of me and what I do make me so grateful for the life I live.
Recently, I've been super into video. That's been SUCH A FUN WAY to capture my experiences, or even to make them better. (Check out #asiadoesvideo on Insta!) When Jamie and I were stuck in DEAD STOPPED TRAFFIC for 3 hours, we had a blast taking clips for this video we were making for our trip. We even took the same footage & made two different videos out of it! This will be a totally different blog post, but you can check them both out here (my version) & here (her version).
Because photos (or videos) for me make my experiences so much more fun.
4. I love the way I look when I'm happy.
And I love looking at photos and remembering that I'm happy. I love that all my pictures are a time capsule of what I was doing, who I was with, what I wore (oh how my fashion sense has improved since I have started constantly photographing myself), and how I felt. I always tell my college graduation clients that I want them to look back at their college senior photos with me and think of all the hard work they put into their 4 years, and how PROUD OF THEMSELVES they are, how proud of themselves they should be, how accomplished they felt, how excited for the next step they were, how much fun college was, and how that happiness can translate into beautiful beautiful photos. It's hard to do that in a few photos, but it is my GOAL IN LIFE.
Every phase of my life has a feeling I want to remember: the excitement of starting my business, the excitement of realizing I have a thriving business, the fun and freedom I feel with John, the gratitude I have for my friends, the pure LOVE I have for my nephew. I never want to forget those feelings. If I forget my experiences, that's fine, but I never want to forget how those experiences made me feel.
5. I want my kids to have these photos.
And here's the real talk. Here's why you actually get photos taken, why you take photos on your wedding day, why you should print out your photos for Heaven's sake. For history of your family, of AMERICA, of the world. What photos do you have of your grandparents, your great grandparents? Imagine if they took no photos. This would be so sad. I want my children to remember me, I want them to be proud of who I was before I was their mom (really I want them to see how cool I was before I became Mom with a capital M and a fanny pack). I'm not about like being in history books or anything (not that I would mind), but I'd never want to leave my family behind with wishes that they'd had more photos of me. Ugh I'm so selfless.
After writing this, and rationalizing all the reasons behind doing what I love all the time I realize this:
You don't need an excuse to do something you love, something that makes you feel great and confident and fabulous. Ever.
But, if I had to have excuses, there we go.