Family photographer in Edinburgh - I thought I could, so I did

I thought I could, so I did

Jan 08

Family photographer in Edinburgh – who, me?

Oh what a year of it 2017 was! As well as the things I mentioned in my last post, I’ve made other quite big changes to my wee world.

Family photographer in Edinburgh - Collage of mother and son photographs outdoors at Lauriston Castle in Edinburgh

These two were a dream to photograph – up for anything and heaps of fun! I did well keeping up with them!

This time last year, Donna Green Photography was little more than a notion. Oh I knew I loved taking photographs, had done for years, and I knew I often got some good ones, but I didn’t really know what to do with it all.

I knew how strongly I felt about families, people like you and me, having beautiful photographs to remind us of what’s really important in our lives when we’re up to high doh in navigating the chaotic maelstrom of work and parenting. I knew that it’s vital to have “proper” photographs of those who mean the most to us, because we might not always have these people or they might not always have us.

Family photographer in Edinburgh - Family photograph of brother and sister in the daffodils at Lauriston Castle in Edinburgh

One of my favourite pictures from last year – I just REALLY wish I knew what they were saying to each other!

Not quite convinced

But did I believe I could actually do anything with this? Did I believe anybody would actually want my help in documenting what’s important to them?

Did I hell.

But at the same time, I knew I had do something with these beliefs.

Quailing at the thought of putting myself “out there” yet feeling at the same time I had the ability to provide something valuable, I started small. I decided I’d “practise” on some friends’ children and families and see where it took me. After all, it’s one thing catching some great images of your own kids, but the idea of doing this for other people petrified me at first.

Family photographer in Edinburgh - Family photographer Edinburgh Fife Lothian - family of mum, dad and three children at Lauriston Castle, Edinburgh

When your clients turn up dressed for an autumn session in colours like this … You just KNOW you’re going to get great shots! Aren’t these fabulous colours?

The fear, the fear!

What if I made an arse of it? What if I was so nervous in front of other people that I forgot how to work my camera? What if I didn’t have a good enough understanding of light and what, technically, makes a great photograph? What if the children in front of me were little horrors who wouldn’t sit still or do a thing they were told? What if, what if ..?

In short, I was crapping it.

And when you crap it, you have two choices don’t you?

You bottle it and walk away, or you shut your eyes, internally scream words at the top of your voice you NEVER want your children to hear you screaming , and just do it anyway.

No bottles

Well. I’m here. *beams from ear to ear*

A year ago, feeling like the biggest fraud in the universe, I lined up lots of families I knew as guinea pigs and photographed them. And in the course of “practising” on these children and families, something changed – I no longer felt like a fraud. The idea was becoming reality. I was starting to crap it a little less.

Figuring things out

I learned about light, I learned how to use my camera without having to think too much about it, I learned how to tell people what to do so they’d look their best in the photographs, I learned how to deal with children who maybe didn’t quite fancy standing “nicely”. I learned that looking “nice” is quite boring anyway and looking like themselves is so much more important. I learned how to find out what people really want in their photographs and what’s important to them.

Family photographer in Edinburgh - three children playing outdoors at Lauriston Castle

This was a hotly contested game of “King of the Castle” – there was only winner!

And I learned how it feels when people look at my photographs of their family and say things like “that’s the best picture I’ve ever seen of my mum”, “you’ve really got her personality”, “they’re my favourite photos we’ve ever had taken”. (You can see some of the things people say about working with me here.) It feels wonderful. Like there’s a point to it all.

So I decided this had to be a bona fide business, not just a wee favour for friends. Not wanting to sound all evangelical and what have you, but quite simply, I needed to get this “out there”.

Going public – by accident!

However, for it to be a business, I knew I needed a website and a Facebook page to actually reach people, and that was a real problem. See, the thought of that all made me feel a bit sick. People would SEE me! I wouldn’t just be emailing people their photographs behind closed doors, I’d be putting them in PUBLIC! *facepalm*

As it happened, last summer I accidentally published the Facebook page I’d been sitting on in draft for months. I was tinkering with it, again, because we all know tinkering is safer than actually DOING, right? And I must have accidentally hit “publish” because the next thing I knew, I kept getting all these “like” notifications.

Family photography in Edinburgh - little boy sitting on his father's back with arms round his neck at Calton Hill

There are fathers, and there are dads. REAL dads. Real dads who would walk through fire for their children. And this wee lad knows he’s got a real dad.

I really crapped it then!

But you know what? If I hadn’t published it by accident, it might still be in draft. Because the biggest concept I was struggling with (and still often do) was “done is better than perfect”.

Learning loads

The weeks went on. I learned more and more by doing, and I threw myself into learning lots of business and marketing stuff, geeking out and learning an insane amount in a relatively short period of time. Joining professional groups focused on doing things similar to what I’m doing here changed everything for me, as was working one-on-one with quite simply the best coach I could ever imagine, and her community.

By summer 2017, I knew it time to take this venture to another level.

Family photographer in Edinburgh - Collage of family photographs in Edinburgh

Yep, so last year THIS happened!

So I did. I wasn’t going to hide any more.

JFDI

And because of “just doing it anyway”, a lot of hard graft, learning from fabulous teachers, and support and encouragement from home, I’ve been lucky enough to turn this business from a mere “what if …” notion to now working with lots of truly lovely people. I’ve hugely enjoyed spending time with them, I’ve got to know them, and I’ll see many of them again.

To all those who helped me on my way by letting me borrow your family to “practise” on, thank you. Thank you for letting me get the confidence and experience I needed.

Thank you, hugely

To those in the photography communities I’m part of, thank you for your endless support and encouragement and never-ending great ideas. To all those who engaged me professionally for family photographs this year, thank you for letting me do what I love and making you happy. To Mr Green, thank you for the practical help you’ve given me, and for humouring me at the beginning when you hadn’t been entirely convinced this would work.

But it has worked, and it is working. And with all the plans I have for 2018, it’s going to keep working.

Believe you can!

So to all those with ideas in their head but a fear of putting themselves out there, remember what that wise mannie Henry Ford said: “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re probably right”.

So what do YOU now think you can do that previously you were convinced you couldn’t? Tell me in the comments! I’d love to know.