Why I Love This Shot – A Happy Lass

This is not the first time this lovely family have made it to my “Why I Love This Shot” series. This is partly because I’ve had the pleasure of working with them more than once and partly because their home is a photographer’s dream and but mostly, it’s because their girls are so much fun to be around! I’m pretty much in a position where I’d never say no to photographing them!

Here is one of my favourite shots from our most recent photo experience. This little lass was feeling really quite unwell during our shoot but in this moment, you’d never know. Even though she was feeling miserable, she still managed a cheeky grin in my direction and I’m so glad I captured the moment. What a little trooper!

Always such a privilege to work with these guys. x

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

Imposter Syndrome. It’s a thing. No, really, it is. Here’s the definition:

Imposter syndrome (also known as imposter phenomenon or fraud syndrome) is a concept describing high-achieving individuals who are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.

It was identified by researchers at Georgia State University in 1978 when they noted that successful women had a tendency towards high levels of self-doubt. Since then, more recent studies in Belgium have shown that it is common across different career types from “white collar” jobs to scientists. Men feel it too (although possibly to a lesser extent) and sometimes it’s joined by it’s unwelcome friends – anxiety, depression, low self-esteem and guilt. As you can probably tell, it’s not really a charming guest.

For me, it’s an overwhelming feeling that I really don’t know what I’m doing. Like everything I’ve achieved has been through luck and is a fluke. Like I’m just pretending I know what I’m talking about and if pushed, I’ll flake out and be discovered for not really having a clue.

It’s a fairly regular anvil of self-doubt that hangs over my head and threatens to come crashing down with little notice. If you look for it, you can see it through the facade. The unwillingness to make a big deal of things that others would be singing and dancing about. The hesitation to sell myself and recognise the work that I’ve done and things I’ve achieved. The avoidance of talking about my work and myself for fear that I’ll let something slip that “shows me up”. The second guessing myself and wanting to “double check” everything when I do talk about my work. The never feeling quite ready to do things and being able to find a million reasons not to try.

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The trouble is, I tend to compare myself to everyone else’s highlight reel. Thanks to a mix of social media where we only really see the extremes of life (cause let’s face it, posting “hey I got out of bed today, had a shower and then sat for 10 hours working at my computer” isn’t really InstaWorthy) and knowing some super confident people who seem to do nothing but talk about all they’ve achieved. I have nothing against the latter, it’s just foreign to me and adds to the feeling that I don’t know what I’m talking about.

It wasn’t until I was talking in a recent interview about my meandering career path that I realised I have a lot of experience and different skills. Even writing that now makes me very uncomfortable.

I’ve been running my own business for almost three years now and sometimes I forget that in terms of a small business, it’s still early days. I hold myself to extremely high standards and get frustrated when I’m not exactly where I feel like I should be. It’s very easy for me to pattern spot and give much higher value to the things I’m not happy about and to dismiss the success I’ve had a long the way.

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Recently, I’ve been doing well. OK I’m not bringing in the money I’d like (but who is?) and I’ve got a list of ideas for improvement longer than a Mo Farah run, but when I consider the direction my work is taking, a lot of great things are happening. From being asked to deliver a photography class for Skillshare to having my #RealGirlsRealBeauty images up as part of the Visible Women Festival. From starting new collaborations for my wildlife work to finding more time to connect with my wildlife and nature photohttp://www.meiphotography.co.uk/overcoming-imposter-syndrome/ ‎graphy. It’s really all very positive.

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So why do I wake up some days and think I’m just playing “make believe” at all of it? Without reading all the research (and thus being able to thoroughly back-up my opinion without horrendous self doubt…), I guess I won’t really know. I just have to keep pushing through it and finding ways to work around it.

It seems that speaking up about it is part of that journey. Putting my hand up and saying that I often don’t feel like I’ve got a clue what I’m doing. Confessing that most days feel like “fake it til you make it” days.  Coming clean about this and finding other tortured souls helps. It’s why I’m writing this blog.

Other ways of tackling it are keeping track of the successes. Reminding myself of the victories I’ve had, how far I’ve come and accepting praise when something great happens instead of getting cagey and awkward about it.

Sometimes, through the midst of all this, there are perfectly timed moments that give me a much needed confidence boost. Like today, when I felt the sensation of that anvil getting ever closer to landing squarely on my head, this blog popped up in my feed. A review of a photoshoot I did last year.

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It made my day.

And that cheeky toddler face from one of my favourite photo sessions of 2016 reminded me that sometimes we just need to stick our tongues out at Impostor Syndrome and keep on doing the best we can. x

 

Why I Love This Shot – A Moment with Mum

Second in my new blog series “Why I Love this Shot” is a photo I refer to as “A Moment with Mum”.  It’s from a shoot earlier this year that was won on Facebook as a Christmas competition on Glasgow With Kids.

As luck would have it, the winners were friends with some of my friends and some of my other clients. I was really excited to meet them and the competition was perfect timing, they were expecting the arrival of their newest addition in just a few weeks.

The shoot itself went really well and we had lots of fun. My job is always so much easier when the family are naturals in front of the camera! The light for the day was also just beautiful and let’s face it, there’s not a photographer out there who isn’t inspired by light.

But the main reason I love this shot is because of the connection between mother and daughter. It’s a precious moment together that feels special and here it is, captured to treasure forever.

A photo of mother and daughter taken through a doorway. They are sitting on a chair together and the baby is being bottle fed.

A Moment with Mum

The Glancy Family

It became pretty clear early on that to survive in this highly competitive industry, word of mouth was going to be a hugely important factor in my business. The same is true for most businesses but it’s quite obvious that without recommendations to friends and family, I wouldn’t have nearly as many bookings as I do now.

I’m always delighted when someone recommends me to their friends and family. It really is one of the highest compliments that they can give.

A couple of months ago I was working with the Glancy Family. You may recognise the boys in the photos. They are the sons of my good friend Kim and I’ve taken their photos a few times now. Especially Christopher’s. He’s so used to me having a camera in his face now that we could barely distract him from showing me his toys long enough to get the shots.

I loved this shoot because it was a little bit of a challenge. It was the first time I’d worked with teenagers, a toddler and a baby all together. They all needed their own space and time to be comfortable in front of the lens. When sessions are short and time-pressured it can get a little tricky at times. In some instances this could easily boil over into a stressful shoot but my experience has taught me to wait them out. If I’m relaxed then my families will relax.

And sure enough, some silly songs, a Darth Vader toy and a few glasses of juice later and we were well underway with everyone happier to be themselves despite a camera in the room. Photographers are entertainers and baby whisperers too you know! xGlancy, Lorraine - Sneak Peek WR

 

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Wedding Nerves…

I always said I wouldn’t be a wedding photographer. I have so much respect for those who carve their careers out in this part of the industry. It takes hours of dedication to their craft; the ability to work with large (sometimes unruly!) groups; a cool head in stressful situations with those one-off-moments and a mountain of pressure to capture them all.  It didn’t seem to be for me. Not with my ambitions to capture family portraits and find a place in the ever competitive and demanding field of wildlife photography.

But then I was at a friend’s wedding in Italy and of course I had my camera with me so I took a few shots. I had so much fun capturing the love and the laughter, it was an amazing day!bigabow blog wr

I had so much fun in fact, that when my other friends got engaged, I offered to help out and take photos for them.

I almost instantly got cold feet and second guessed my decision to offer my services. Not because I didn’t want to help my friends and be a part of their big day, but because I had an overwhelming sense of doubt in my ability to do it well. I was nervous and unsure of myself. This was the first time I was going to be the main photographer at a wedding. In my rush to help I’d put myself under the very pressure I’d said wasn’t for me. And so the worries began.

But I made a promise to a friend and I was going to keep it. I listed the things that were concerning me and set about tackling them. I went through my manuals again and reminded myself of things that had slipped from my memory. I researched and practiced the shots I wanted to take and more importantly, the shots the happy couple wanted me to take. 

It turned out my biggest concern was the indoor lighting. Not an unusual worry for a photographer, but certainly one I was used to having more control over or the fun of dealing with natural light outdoors. So I found tutorials and classes to attend to help me improve and get better. It made me feel more confident on the day. The last thing anyone wants on their wedding day is an anxious photographer.

The day rolled around a few months later and I was a mixture of nerves and excitement. Fueled by a heady mix of sleepless-night-compensated-for-by-too-much-coffee and pure adrenaline, I headed over early for the celebrations.

I really needn’t have worried. It was another day of love, laughter, family and friends. I was so grateful to be part of it. It wasn’t a perfect shoot. Things went wrong as they always do. The best laid plans gave way to mishaps and changes but the important part of the day remained. My two friends were getting married in a room full of love. There’s nothing better. I understood why wedding photographers dedicate their lives to capturing these happy moments.

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Just a few weeks later, a friend I hadn’t seen in years got in touch. He had found my instagram account and my website. Turns out he and his fiance love my style of photography and had been looking for someone to capture the moment at their wedding a couple of months later. I was available and delighted to be asked. My first official wedding booking was confirmed.

And then came the nerves again. Except this time they were more easily put back in their place. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a firm believer in a little bit of nerves and adrenaline being essential to keep you sharp before any performance but there’s a fine line and excessive nerves are no good to anyone.

Once again the day was beautiful and it was so wonderful to be a part of it. The happy smiles from reunited friends and family; the sunshiny day in the stunning Scottish Borders and the love between a bride and groom who danced the night away together. Davy & Siobhan Wedding July 2016 Square WRIt seems I may found my niche in this crazy world of Wedding Photography. My couples have both been in touch to thank me for taking the stress out their big day.  As it turns out, I’m ideally suited for couples who want to capture moments to remember but aren’t keen on being in front of the lens. They want someone who they can trust to put them at ease, to have control over the shots on the day and to know they won’t be asked to pose for hours away from their guests. My style of photography lends itself well to just that and I’m excited to be looking towards a future that involves more wonderful moments between happy couples.

For now though, I’ll still enjoy having my camera with me at all my friend’s weddings. I rarely go anywhere without it. Who can resist those happy memories?

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Birthday Girl

Last year I had the pleasure of being asked to capture the moment at a naming ceremony for a lovely family and their little girl Ella. I had a lot of fun with the family and meeting their newest addition. The ceremony was a beautiful celebration of their wee one and all the love they have for her.

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I was really excited when they got in touch again a few months later and booked a Cake Smash with me for her first birthday. Cake Smashes are always a lot of fun as long as you don’t mind the mess! We had to be a little creative because this one-year-old wasn’t too keen on getting her hands dirty. At least not at first!

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Being asked back again is the best compliment a photographer can receive. It really makes my day and lets me know I’m on the right track with my work. So when this wonderful family got in touch this year to organise another shoot for the upcoming 2nd birthday, I was delighted. I was even more delighted when I heard all the ideas for it! Such a creative family with a lot of style! We mulled over some ideas, and Ella’s mum decided on a Tea Party themed shoot. She bought all the props and we crossed our fingers for good weather.

This was the final result:

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It really is such a privilege to be involved at these important moments of this little girl’s life. I’m so thankful for my job and the ability to connect with people and capture memories for them to treasure forever. x

Baby Claudia

A while ago… in fact, a long while ago now, I was asked to take photos of a beautiful family and a lovely friend. The friend who is responsible for my websites and for teaching me the crazy world of web editing. Or at least how to scratch the surface.

It was so long ago, that this family is now a family of four! Baby Claudia is big sister Claudia now and her little brother arrived at the end of last month. I’m so delighted for them all and hope to meet them soon.

Congratulations! xx

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Lovely Family Storrie

Soooo, I just realised I didn’t finish my blog about this shoot. It’s from last year and is a very special one for me. My cousin Dawn has always been a big part of our lives and when she asked me to take photos for them I was really excited to catch up with this part of our family. My mum is one of 6 so as you’d imagine, we’re a big extended family and we don’t spend enough time together these days.

So off to the Gleniffer Braes we went last autumn. An afternoon of love, laughter, tree-climbing and gymnastics. I thoroughly enjoyed capturing the moment for them all. Here are some of my favourite shots:

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A Family Portrait

It’s been a long, long time since I blogged. So much has happened this year and I’ve let blogging fall by the wayside. But after this shoot in Glasgow’s Pollok Park, I had to share my favourite shots with you.

I worked with Lynn many moons ago in Glasgow Science Centre and we reconnected through her business Paws On Pet Services and her brilliant blog: Glasgow With Kids. Sometimes Facebook has it’s upsides.

So we got together last month and I finally had the chance to meet Lynn’s daughter, the inspiration for her blog and her husband David. Lynn is pretty great with a camera herself so it didn’t take too long for everyone to feel at ease.

We lucked out with the weather for the shoot and caught the tail end of those delightful few weeks in June when the sun was shining. A walk through the park provided a lovely backdrop for this gorgeous, happy family!White Family Sneak Peek

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I had such a lovely morning with these guys. My job is pretty awesome! xx