Monday, 22 December 2014

The Joy Of Doing What You Love: Reflecting On The Past 2014

As any business owner will tell you, starting a business is filled with excitement, joy and hope. You are taking a leap of faith on what you're passionate about; is your newborn baby. But also as first time parents will admit, it comes with fears; Will I be good at it? What if I destroy my dream? What if it's too overwhelming? Will I burn out?

I started 2014 with all those thoughts. 2015 will be the 4th year my business as Fela Photography has been running, but it was 2014 that I consider the official run. Before 2014, Fela Photography was my job on the side, working full time and hoping that I would get enough clients to quit my day job and dip myself full time in Fela Photography; something I've been dreaming for too long. But being honest with myself, I wasn't putting the necessary elbow grease on it to make it happen, so obviously results were not showing much potential.

When I started my maternity leave in 2013, I knew I wanted to work from home so that I could be present in my son's life. It was something that was heavy in my heart. My son was the reason that made me put my self together and really start working on it so I decided that Fela Photography would have my deserved attention. It needed revamping though. Before, I was all over the place, grabbing any photography gig that would come my way and it was feeling kind of "blah". So with the guidance of Accelerator YYC I found my photography calling and that's when in 2014 the Reveal Your True Beauty project happened.

I felt vulnerable and scared at the beginning because Reveal Your True Beauty came from the heart and a personal experience. I had to pitch it to many people, many times and always with the fear that people would think it was a silly idea but I found support and encouragement which motivated me to keep going, even if it felt like I was running in circles. 

"I had to remind myself constantly that there is something beyond  money in the path I chose. There was the opportunity to help change women's lives, to impact positively in others, to use my skills/gift/talent for good".

When I was working my butt off (excuse my english) and didn't see much money coming in and a LOT leaving, I was worried and felt small and frustrated many times. I had to remind myself constantly that there is something beyond  money in the path I chose. There was the opportunity to help change women's lives, to impact positively in others, to use my skills/gift/talent for good. I had to remember the spark igniting in these ladies' eyes to motivate me; that's what kept me going. The ladies' words of joy where the cherry on top.

When I felt stuck, I would stop, reassess what I was doing, where was I failing, ask for feedback and try again. Tweaking here and there, changing this and that, Reveal Your True Beauty has become stronger in one year than in the 3 years I was playing business owner in lukewarm waters.

Founding My Happy Place:

Since I know my husband, he's been a spokesman about finding your happy place. His is a beach and he'll think of it on stressful times, picturing the breeze, the sun heat and the sound of waves and it does indeed make him happy and relaxed. But it didn't work for me. I couldn't picture anything that would bring me to that estate. I would say it was my home for the sake of saying something. 

However, reflecting on 2014 for the last couple of weeks I have finally found my happy place and is photographing women. It really is! I know every session we have will be fun, filled with laughs, new relationships and growth and as I go through the photos on my computer and work on them I find myself with a frozen smile and honestly happy to meet every single one of my clients and being able to bring joy into their lives as well. I daydream of the reveal appointments wondering how will they react when they see their photos and hoping it changes their lives for good. So it comes as no surprise that I find solace in my happy place when I feel down or stressed.

Jaimie, one of the wonderful ladies I photographed at the beginning of the year told me a week ago that her photo session with me is the only one she remembers having fun. It's so overwhelmingly beautiful how those words warm my heart! Comments like that feed my passion for what I do and help me to keep on walking.

"Jaimie, one of the wonderful ladies I photographed at the beginning of the year told me a week ago that her photo session with me is the only one she remembers having fun".

The Coming of 2015:

There has been a lot of work put into my business and there is still a lot of work to do as well, but my dreams are being unfolded in front of me in even better ways that I imagined, what a blessing! The scary leap of faith has become a wonderful adventure in which I have found freedom to be who I am (silly and all with my little happy jumps), met amazing people and help others, one person at a time.

Reveal Your True Beauty was born from the heart and it will continue to be that way. Each session is indeed a celebration of you and the great beauty of your soul as others and me see it. And it's catching on! Sessions are being booked all the way to April as we speak with ladies coming from in and out of Calgary to be photographed; such a humbling and beautiful thing.

A heartfelt thank you to those of you who have trust me to reveal to you your true beauty, to those of you who will trust me to reveal it and to those of you who join in the celebration. I hope you find your happy place too in loving what you do and who you are.


Monday, 8 December 2014

Revealing Chantal: The True Beauty Of A Small Business Owner

Hair And Makeup by Kada Issa from Bombay Beauty Loft, Fashion Styling by Studio Intent Boutique

Chantal Barchard. I'm sure many of you know her. She's the amazing lady behind Studio Intent Boutique. Yes, the same one that styles all the amazing ladies that have been in front of my camera so far. It was about time we revealed her true beauty too, right?

She is indeed an amazing woman; kind, generous, poise, always looking amazing and elegant in everything she does and one of my favourite things, she stands to her word. You can trust that she'll do as she says (I love that because I'm the same and feels sometimes like is hard to find that nowadays); very trustworthy. She's been such a big supporter of Reveal Your True Beauty! And I want to share with you the story:

I've been a photographer for 10 years now; ten years! Makes me feel old hahaha! And I began my photography business in Canada in 2011. But it was this year that I pushed the reset button for my business and started putting all my attention on my new baby: the Reveal Your True Beauty Project. I needed to spread the word to all women in Calgary, but how? So an idea came to mind; reach out to local boutiques and give them 5 sessions to gift their clients, free of charge. Only 3 would get this offer. The intention was to help them market themselves, increase sales, and spreading the word of what I do would tag along. My "sample" work were pictures of my mom and a close friend. I had an impeccable presentation and my fashion portfolio to show as well. Of all the boutiques I reached out to (and it was a lot of boutiques), only Chantal agreed to meet with me and she understood the concept, the passion behind it and the opportunity of giving something special and meaningful to 5 of her clients. The rest, as you can see, is history. 

I find it very interesting how someone's decision can create a ripple effect. Have you been aware of it in your life? Have you noticed that word, that drop that falls out of your mouth or others and transforms your life... or others'? Isn't that amazing??

I'm grateful beyond words for getting to know her and sharing in the adventures this year have brought, but specially for those seconds when she said "Yes" to my project. I support her work too, because it is made with great intention behind, just like the name of her boutique and with a passionate heart for what she does; you can feel it as you walk in her store. As all our clients have experienced, and I'm sure you agree, going to her boutique is like walking inside your dream closet and play dress up. Picture it. That's how fun it is!

So thank you Chantal for putting your trust in me but most of all for how amazing and awesome you are. There's definitely not two like you; I'm happy you are part of my life now. A truly beautiful person on the inside and outside.

Have you met Chantal? Share her awesomeness on the comments; it's a great opportunity for you to celebrate her too!