So you started a photography business. If you are anything like me – you started your business while you were still learning about photography. I am not afraid to admit I am still a little embarrassed of some of the photos floating around with my name attached to it. The reality is that I was inspired by the work of an amazing photographer that I knew in high school . As her photos popped up on facebook newsfeed -it awoke a deep yearning to embrace a passion that I held close to my heart. Soon I e-mailed her with the same questions that drives the ” good ones” crazy. I asked what camera I should buy – because her photos were spectacular. She sent me off to go buy a consumer grade camera. I am quite sure she laughed to herself as another MWAC (mom with a camera) thought that if she buys a new camera she will now be a photographer. So with my new gear on the way – I toyed around with different names for the company…Seesaw Photography (isn’t life a balancing act??) , Lighthouse Photography… hmmmm -what should I name my new company. I realized simple is better and a week later my FACEBOOK page was born – Liz LaBianca Photography. I sent out my invites to come and “like” my page. ..and a few did – but most didn’t. OUCH! Well that hurt. Maybe they didn’t get the invite… maybe they aren’t on facebook. (I still haven’t had my original inspiration “like” my page…and yes – it still bothers me)… and so began my mantra “FOCUS on the positive and keep moving forward.
Soon I approached three good friends and said “HEY!! I am starting a business – can I use your family to practice on”?? When I delivered the images from their shoots in a tacky plexiglass cd holder – Handing them the images grinning from ear to ear – two of the friends handed me a check for $150…. I said “I can’t take your money”. They refused to take their money back and they said – They Believed in me and my business and wanted to support me. So began the road – of the people who support you and the people who don’t. The third friend got wind of it and stated that she would never pay $150.00 for photos and then begrudgingly offered to pay me. I refused the check and unfortunately our friendship started to unravel. Was it her fault… absolutely not. The reality is – starting my business was starting to make me ultra sensitive. Were people talking about me?? Were the putting down my art?? Did they think I was a horrible photographer” I started to see my friendships strain if they didn’t stroke my ego and keep building me up. It was a difficult time. No longer was I being the friend that I used to be. I went from being the girl throwing superbowl parties, book club parties, and sipping wine with the girls chatting about the daily struggles of being a stay- at- home mom. My world was consumed with learning everything I could about photography. If they didn’t believe in me – I was going to prove them wrong. They couldn’t see my soul and how I had just opened up a passion that was buried under a lack of confidence for 36 years. Focus on the Positive… Keep moving forward.
2 weeks after starting my business – I received an facebook message from a friend I hadn’t spoken to in 16 years . She was asking me…in an ever so polite way. …” Didn’t I think it was cliche to be starting a business”. My response to her…. “Well… that is what is stopping you”. ”Cliche is simply a word”. .. I told her ”it is up to you how much power you choose to give it. - 6 months later she asked me how she could start her own business – My advice to her was immediate: steer clear of words like “Cliche”.. Focus on the positive… Keep moving forward.
I started to look within myself as I struggled to understand why people weren’t reacting the way I had hoped that they would .I soon remembered a time when I was younger – A co-worker would come in with bragging rights of finishing the local marathon that weekend. A weekend that I had probably spent drinking too much and making less then adult decisions. Anyway – I would feel this thing well up inside… Was it jealousy – I guess it was…but it annoyed me. I wished that I would have had the initiative to do something that challenged my physical and mental strength like running a marathon. But instead, that weekend and many other weekends I sat on my A**… Until 5 years later- I ran that marathon… ok so it was only a 5k… but I did it …and do you know what I realized. …. I HATE running. My point is this… Seeing you step outside of your comfort zone can be irritating to some people. So the only way that they can handle it – is by breaking you down, by putting you down. .. or simply by acting disinterested in what you are doing. I had one friend that every time I would run into her – I could feel her body tense up when I would mention my business and how much fun I was having. I also knew that behind close doors – she was tearing down what I was doing. Did it bother me… not at all. I knew it wasn’t from a malicious place – it was from a sad place.
Through this experience you will realize who your true friends are. They are the ones who let you talk incessantly about your business, about new locations, or about tough clients. . Not only do they listen – they ask questions because they are genuinely excited for you.They offer to babysit as you run out the door to another shoot. How blessed I am to have found amazing friends who know I don’t have time to be the “old” Liz – The Liz who planned playdates or remembered your birthday. So thank you to Jenny Rackers, Sue Wolski, Mimi Park, Melissa Wechlser, Michelle Pierotti, Traci Wallace and my lifelong friend Dana Bove. All you truly need is a handful of solid friends – and I feel fortunate and blessed for the friendships that I have with these woman. Find the ones that build you up and hold on tight. Make a point to stay interested in their life… and apologize in advance for how scattered you will be this year.
and last but not least … Focus on the Positive and Keep moving forward!