Oh how far I've come...
From my first wedding on December 9, 2006.
(Shaking my head at the cheezy pose I made them do and over cross-processed look.)
Dear Scarlett 2006,
Wow, today, December 9, you shot your first wedding for photography. Who would have thought that a wedding videographer could have made the jump over to photography? What an exhilarating rush it was to be able to document a special day for the daughter of your dad's friend he grew up with. You are going to learn that you are starting the beginning of an amazing career. This is only the beginning of a bumpy ride. There will be sleepless nights, hard drives that crash, mean people who try to tear you down, and lots of stress, but sooooo many more positives along the way. Your camera will take you to amazing places all over the country and beyond, like Jamaica, Dominican Republic and more. You'll get published in beautiful magazines, get asked to speak, interviewed on podcasts and teach other photographers all the crazy things you've learned on your journey.
One thing, lay off the actions. You'll get annoyed when friends tell you that in the beginning, you've always been stubborn and you want to do things your way. But listen to them, they were right. Find your own style, just lay off the actions. They waste time, and editing in Bridge is soooo much faster.
Second, don't waste your time on print ads. Put that money toward better gear or save it in the bank. I know, you are still going to believe the sales people that it's "great exposure", but I promise you, it's not a great return. Focus your time on taking care of your clients and that will generate great word of mouth.
Third, ignore the critics. Yes, it's going to hurt, but it's the tough times that show you who your true friends are. You're the one who has courage to wear her heart on your sleeve and not hide behind an anonymous comment. Keep praying for them anyway.
Fourth, hug your dad EVERY DAY. Don't ever forget how his hugs feel. Take as many photos of him as possible. You'll understand why in two years.
Fifth, stop reading other people's blogs for a while. You need to take a step back and find YOUR own niche. Yes, it's inspiring, but you only beat yourself up by comparing your work to others. Remember, there is only one Scarlett and you see the world a unique way through your camera.
Sixth, pay it forward. You wouldn't be where you are today without others investing their knowledge in you and answering your dumb questions, don't ever get too good for that. And don't take forever to write back to people's emails, you aren't THAT cool.
Seventh, give thanks for all you have. I know you feel like you don't have a lot and you barely live paycheck to paycheck trying to pay the bills, but God will prosper that one day. Keep tithing anyway and putting Him first in your business.
Eighth, forget MySpace. Go invent something called Facebook or Twitter. If you don't, someone else will. And though you don't get the point of them, you'll give in anyway!
Ninth, BACK EVERYTHING UP including your personal pictures. Stop putting it off. I'm telling you, your harddrives WILL crash.
Tenth, it's better to have loved and lost than never loved at all. Your heart will get broken, you'll break hearts, but keep seeking God's heart and He'll lead you to the right one.
Most importantly... enjoy every moment. Live life to the fullest. Walk through your fears. Be bold. Ask for forgiveness not permission. Use your talents to bless others. Give back. And again, hug your dad every chance you can.
This is the first wedding of the rest of your career and God has AMAZING things in store. Hold on tight!