As this year is realistically coming to a close, I feel like a “pre-reflection” is due (before of course, my in-depth reflection that will come along with fear and nerves on exactly December 31st).
This year has been one of growth. Saying that feels a little silly, because it’s something that’s said almost every year for me. But this year it resonates with me very much. At this point in my life I feel like growth is something I won’t ever stop resonating with. I’ve grown a little bit more into my skin, I’ve grown more strongly in what I believe, and I’ve grown to realize that everything is subject to change.
I feel incredibly lucky that I have such freedom in my work. I make my own schedule, there’s endless creative freedom, everything goes at my pace and it’s because my work is my doing. I’ve been building this business since I was thirteen, and now being nineteen it’s something I feel more and more confident in every day.
So with that being said, it’s confused me more than ever why I’ve felt such disdain about it. I’ve never lost the gratefulness I hold in my heart for my work, but it seemed that I had gotten a little lost in what I was doing. Doing portrait shoots was fun, but it no longer ignited this joy and inspiration in me. It didn’t exactly feel like work, but it felt like an obligation.
That too could be said about my October video/picture challenge. Believe it or not, when things get inconvenient, it’s hard to find the fun in it anymore for me. It was inconvenient. It was something that was getting in the way of my workflow. My family and I have a habit of putting too much on our plate when said plate is already full! Now, this isn’t me trying to make excuses for myself. If I commit to a project, I need to finish it. When those projects aren’t optional, I do finish it.
The point I’m trying to make is that while I am so very thankful for what I do, it also became a very big point of stress in my life. I felt like I needed to constantly be doing better, I needed to carve out time to specifically become a better artist every day. I needed to work harder to be smarter in my business. While both of those things are true, I also realized that I needed to step back and figure out the why’s.
The why’s came to me while I was laying in my bed talking to my mom. I finally realized that all this time, I’ve been putting most of my energy and focus into my portraiture work. It’s made the most sense to! It’s where most of my business comes from and it’s something that I had found a good groove in that I really loved doing. But more recently, it had become the obligation I mentioned before.
Since I found Fine Art Photography, it’s where my heart has been. I explained in the “afterword” of my poetry book that telling stories has always been a part of me. Being able to visually tell those stories is what makes me happiest. But, in the last year it’s something I accepted as being a creative outlet and nothing more. It was what I did to get my emotions out. I had almost completely let go of the idea of working it into my business.
I told my mom that I loved simply creating beautiful photos. The story behind them or not, creating beautiful things and getting lost in that while shooting, editing, etc., that’s what I wanted. I live for the excitement and joy I find in creating, telling stories, and I simply haven’t been doing that. I’ve been doing things that I thought were right (and were at the time) so that way my business could expand and grow. I don’t in any ship, shape, or form, regret those decisions. As I said earlier, I’m beyond thankful for what I am lucky enough to be able to do. But, once again, it’s time for a challenge.
Early this year I raised my prices for my photography. That was the first scary thing I did this year because quite frankly, I had no idea if people would still want my services. The little voice in the back of my head kept me worrying, “Am I worth this price?” Eventually, I realized I was worth the price, but I also realized that if this brought me clients that weren’t afraid to pay for my time, editing, and passion, any hit I would take would be worth it.
So now at the end of another year, I’m going out with a bang.
I will still be doing portrait photography as much as it comes my way, and I will even be throwing some (a lot?) of event photography into the mix. But what I’ve decided to make my primary source of focusing is Fine Art Photography. Whether that be with clients who are interested in telling stories, or clients who simply want beautiful photos. Book covers, magazines, album artwork, anywhere where I can use what I know and what I love doing. I want to do what makes me passionate, happy, and alive (and a little scared).
Throughout these past 12 months, I’ve forgotten about doing things that scare me. Not totally, though. I’ve had brief moments of the good kind of anxiousness that turned out to be something wonderful! I’m hoping this next move will be of the same.
Welcome to the new chapter of Ellie Chavez Photography. A new website and a new focus. A beautiful new story to unfold, to later tell.