First months with a studio!

Ha…haven’t written in months. WOW did getting a studio take over my life! LOL!

So, Oct. 1, 2015 I picked up the keys. The landlord met me with keys and a solemn, “um, they left a few things…” I was bouncing. I was buzzing with excitement. I exclaimed, “I don’t care! I’ll get it!!!!” as I charged into the completely empty space that was to be my blank slate that would house my creativity!

Yeah. That was the dream, wasn’t it? Did I mention that my space was once a police station and a city hall? There wasn’t a creative vibe to be had. I opened my front door and saw cubicles. Yep. A big “shooting space” full of cubicles. They’d left them for me. I saw trash. Everywhere. Not bagged up trash, but trash simply thrown on the floor. Finished with that water bottle? Throw it down.

THAT’S OKAY! IT’S MY SPACE!!!! Yep, that was my attitude! I started gathering trash. I made a 4 foot square pile of trash to be taken out. I started washing walls with mint oil to rid the space of weird energy and a general “Barney Fife’s office” vibe. I vacuumed toenail clippings in one office. clickety clickety…ever heard toenail clippings through a vacuum cleaner? Yeah, I hadn’t either. I found a bullet…bigger than my hand…I found rolling papers and meth testing kits and general trash. It took EIGHTEEN DAYS to get things clean enough to be able to have the carpets cleaned.

My teenage son came to see it and his response? “It looks like it should smell like a cigarette.” His girlfriend’s response was similar. She said it had “bad energy”. I immediately ordered sage. I washed the walls again. I got to painting. I painted away the dark paneling and made it feel like MY SPACE…

Funny part? I got the keys on Oct 1st. On Oct 4, my phone rang…and it was someone needing an album cover shoot. His album was to be released 6 days later. I had to decline. There was no way in the midst of this mess, I could shoot that! The artist said, “oh. Well, then, I’ll push back the date. You have to be the photographer!” WOW…. So, days later… in all the weird energy and barney fifedome….we shot an album cover. It turned out beautifully. What a way to start the studio off with fun and creativity!!! Since then, there’s been Save the Date cards remaking the “This is 40” movie poster…so yes, I’ve even shot the studio toilet…ha… there’s been families, babies, newborns, children high school seniors, football players…the energy is so beautiful and creative…it’s clean. It’s all going to be perfect. I feel it now! I’m going to share the “before” photos of the studio…mostly to make you laugh…I will share more “after” shots throughout the journey!

Ohhhhh, it’s been a while!

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And it’s been crazy!

However; I’m updating because I said that I was going to share the journey. I haven’t. I’ve been figuring out which road this journey would be best suited to use. It’s been fun and tricky and scary and exciting.

And now that I’ve shared all the adjectives of the journey. Let me say that those are the EXACT adjectives to describe how I feel right at this very moment. I’m getting a studio.

Tomorrow.

Yep. I pick up the keys tomorrow. It’s my last day with no studio. Let me back up and fill ya in. So…I’d been looking ALL OVER THE PLACE for a studio. I’d talked to builders, I’d talked to people an hour away from my home…I’d looked, I’d searched, I had people tell me crazy prices, I had one guy who wanted me to meet his parents, I had good prices but across the street from another photographer, I had sharing offers, I thought I’d seen it all. I’d looked East and West and South.

Not north. I live north. I live FAR north. I’m close to Dallas(ish) but far enough that people’s eyes widen when I tell them where I live. I get “ohhhhhh wowwww…….” so looking FURTHER north didn’t even seem reasonable. The only time *I* go further north is to go to Oklahoma (which is closer to me than Dallas) or to pick up my grandkids to take them to gymnastics….See where I’m going here?

Yep…every time it was gymnastics day, I’d pass this little town, one town north, and pass a great little spot….that was for rent. A couple of weeks ago, I got done a bit early from a shoot, so I drove by again to get the number. I pulled in, and called. The guy answered and said he was there so I could come look! I explained to him what I wanted. What I NEEDED. He kept shaking his head “no” as I looked in awe at what could be MY space. He finally said “Kid, this isn’t it. I’ve got a space you’ll like better…can you follow me and I’ll show you?” Sure.

So he takes me to Main street in this little town…to the City Hall and the Police Station. (I’m not kidding.) He says they’re moving out at the end of the month. Rent is cheap. It’d be all mine. We looked around (awkwardly. don’t ever try and look around a police station and city hall and think it’s going to be easy…it’s NOT).

Fast forward….I’ve signed a lease, I’ve gotten a business bank account, I’ve gotten a DBA…I’ve gotten so I can take credit cards, I have a certificate of occupancy and inspections scheduled and have paid deposits and fees and “stuff” that I didn’t even know I’d have to pay! LOL! All to lead up to tomorrow. My own place. MY STUDIO. A new town. New faces. New team colors. I feel like I’m jumping off a cliff and seeing what happens.

Yep…fun and tricky and scary and exciting. I’ll keep you posted. And I’ll keep posting. There will be no shortage of before and after photos. From law to art. This space has a whole personality change a comin’…..

Ahhhhh….the drama of the STUDIO….

The young ones all over the kitchen...

The young ones all over the kitchen…

So, I’ve explained that I’m on a journey here. I’m on a heck of a journey. The universe sort of burped, snuffled and laughed once I made my intentions clear. I decided to OWN this photography thing. I mean, OWN it. I would school and workshop and dive into every aspect of all of it and know everything I can know. I decided this about 7 years ago.

I went to school. I took digital and film and attended workshops. I got pregnant after my (then) youngest was 12. Shock. OK, I can still own this career and home school and have a baby. GO! Well, sadly, my sweet surprise baby was stillborn. Fortunately, we had a birth photographer there. (my first clue into how priceless a photo can be). Take a year off to grieve, recuperate, etc. Then, back to it. After that, my husband went into kidney failure. Hospitals, dialysis three days a week and now on a transplant list. ONE MONTH after his kidneys failed… we got two foster babies. They were 6 months and a year and a half. We had them for a year and BOY did I learn some time management through that year. Husband gone most of the time, keeping my grand-babies who were almost 2 and 4, the foster babies who were 6 mo and almost two (ended up with a 1 1/2 yr old, two 2 year olds and a 5 year old) so four kids 4 and under, and a home schooled 16 year old. WHEW. I’d get up at 4:30am to edit my shoots just so I could still cling to MY thing.

Now? Well, I’m down to three kids during the day. They’re getting older and easier. The teen drives and has his own car, husband is still waiting on a kidney..things are calming for me bit by bit. Now it’s time for a studio. I’ve gone through at least five different options. One I held on to for MONTHS while the landlord gave me the runaround. I was heart broken when it wasn’t happening as I’d envisioned it. I couldn’t figure why the universe wasn’t working WITH me.

Today? I met with a builder. No more land lords to-be, runaround, hoping, stressing over space, driving around looking…nope. I’m building. I hope. Today was the first day where I laid it out and said what I needed/wanted/hoped for. The builder is getting the quote together. I’m crossing my fingers and eyes and toes and everything else. I actually could have my own studio. I actually could have it SOON.

My own space to shoot the images for my CPP image submission… to do my newborn shoots… to never have to cancel due to weather because I don’t have a REAL studio. I can see so clearly the shoots, the clients coming in to view their images, the classes I’ll hold… I have big plans for this space. When I say big plans… I have a diverse set of plans. I want to make art. Do alternative processes. Do amazing shoots. Learn more about lighting than I can imagine. OMG. I’m going to have MY OWN STUDIO SPACE!!!!!!!! So please, blogville…everyone in blogville, start crossing things for luck. For lots of luck. I’ve done babies in every form and even fought sickness and kidneys alongside my husband…I’m still here. Kids are getting big. I feel positive that a kidney’s gonna come….and art is about to happen. IN. MY. STUDIO.

SQUEEEEEEEAL!!!!!

Hello, World!

So…I hear…that I need a blog. I need to keep everyone “updated” through writings. I’m not a writer. I’m a photographer. I don’t even keep a journal. I barely write letters. I only check email because I have to do so. I’m great at facebook because a sentence is all I need. I can read what OTHER people write. I look at other people’s art. I read news and opinions and stay inspired through the diversity on that little page. Here? Looks like the river of inspiration will flow the other direction. I will simply “output” here and see if anyone watches?

I created this site a week ago. It took me a week to figure out what to say or to show. I know my goals. I know what I’m good at, what I need to work on, what I aspire to achieve. I don’t really share it. My final decision on this blog is to document my journey from ignorance to greatness. It will happen. I’m lucky enough to be able to start writing about it now. Far enough into the journey that I know more details on the whole career that I’m planning…but not so far that I’m stuck in a rut.

I will start this with how photography started for ME. I wasn’t raised with artsy parents. I wasn’t raised around art, painting, photography, none of it. I was raised in Lubbock, TX. Music? yes. Art? no.

Fast forward to being 21. I had a baby. My father passed away. My father was an interesting character and his dying meant that getting the Nikon F2 SLR camera that he’d hocked at a pawn shop was my new inheritance. I got that camera and 11 cents. Yep. I didn’t know the first thing about the settings on that camera. I took photos of my baby CONSTANTLY and for whatever reason…they turned out great.

Fast forward again. about a decade later, I have another child. This one is a sporty boy. This football/baseball stuff is scary for a hippie mama. I discover that taking photos of it puts me just enough out of that world that it isn’t so scary. I stand on the sidelines. I shoot the baseball games and football games and become a standard fixture on the fields. People loved my photos. Parents would BUY them. I started getting HIRED to take prom photos, portraits, team photos, etc. I realized that this was my bliss. I was GOOD at it. I kind of EXCELLED at it. I decided to get a DEGREE in commercial photography…I mean, why not? I was a home school mom who had this GIFT! I should get educated, because I was so GOOD!!!!

I enrolled in my first photography class. This is when all of my naive confidence came crashing. I wasn’t good. I was DAMNED LUCKY. I was shooting sports. During the day. With a great lens. Standing on the sidelines. I had good timing, yes…but never once had I taken the camera off AUTO. Yep. Where I believed that I was amazing? haha not so much.

Fast forward another decade or so. I’m still home schooling. My son is about to be a senior in high school. I’ve been in photography classes since the last paragraph. I’ve taken film, portraiture, management, color theory, lighting, alternative process. I now own TWO Nikon film cameras, three Holgas, two Nikon dSLRs, I’ve taught photography to the homeschooled teens we know. We made pinhole cameras, we’ve developed paper, we’ve done gum prints, cyanotypes, hand colored with marshall oils….done it all.

Now you’re basically caught up. I’ve learned and workshopped and shot and shot some more and now? I want to be GREAT. I’m in the process of getting my CPP now, which is a certified professional photographer. It’s tough and rigorous. I’ve passed the exam and am on to the image submission part. I’m looking to have my own studio. I want to own my own. I’m there. So this is where we will begin. Each week….on my road to greatness. I can’t say success because, to me, I’m already successful. The road and the fact that I’m on it is success. I’m not the auto mom shooter I was, so I’m successful. I stuck it out, I learned, I humbled up and grew. I’m proud of that. I’m happy where I am. I’m ECSTATIC about where I’m going. So welcome to my world… it’s nice to have ya here!