My sweet client-turned-dear-friend Cecilia told me about a 30-day writing challenge. "I thought of you since your blog is what made you stand out from the crowd when we were looking for photographers so I wanted to share." I love blogging, but am TERRIBLE at doing it often, so I am exceptionally thankful for this challenge, and for her pushing me to do it. So, here we are.
I've decided to go off the prompt today, since I want to keep my writings on this blog relevant to my business. But I'm still writing, so I think it counts :)
I have an about-me section here on the site, but I think it could be fun to do a more in-depth introduction about who I am, why I am who I am, and where I'm headed - complete with cheesy photos and laughs.
Let's do this thing.
When I was really little, I had one of those "All About Me" books, where you filled out your opinions and thoughts on topics. One of the questions asked, "Would you rather be a painter or a photographer?" And I wrote: "Painter. Photography is too easy."
I was 15 when I really got into photography; I photographed my family, my pets, my friends, random signs and all the sunsets I saw. But it wasn't until I discovered self-portraiture that I really fell in love with it as an artform. I spent every day coming up with new ideas (a lot of which were really dark and moody and personal, which is weird for someone so young - what could I possibly have been so upset about?!), and it was a fun new outlet for my creativity and emotions.
While I was doing self-portraits, I started taking on clients, and in my first year of "business" I probably took on 15 photoshoots and a handful of events. It was a blast, and as soon as I had a clientele, I knew I found my forever career.
A couple weeks after I turned 18, I shot my first wedding...and I was terrified. I did all the research and soaked up all the knowledge I could find online. There were a few technical hiccups on my end, but I survived it, and fell in love with the stress and craziness of it all. I shot five weddings that year, and did everything I could to keep that momentum. It was my senior year of high school, and I knew I had to make decisions about what I would do for college; not going wasn't an option, but I didn't want to go for photography. I ended up going to SDSU for Business Management, but after two and a half years there, opted to go to the local community colleges for an Associate's Degree. College wasn't for me. I enjoyed learning, but I wanted to be home editing and marketing, not sitting in a classroom with 200 unmotivated kids.
Being a photographer in San Diego was HARD. A lot of my clients were friends needing senior portraits, and their older friends getting married. But eventually that slowed down and I had to dip my toes into different avenues to see what worked for me. I photographed families, newborns, school functions, headshots, commercial work...and I lost my passion. Weddings slowed down and I was stressed beyond belief (not to mention going through a lot of very personal, very ugly lows in my life). I didn't want to do photography anymore.
So, I kept up with self-portraits every so often, diving more and more into my emotions and trying to make sense of what I wanted to do. I get a little emotional looking back at those photos because, especially as I got older, I did have a lot of hurt and sadness, and some of the photos really drew that out.
So, without being too transparent here because afterall, this is my business-blog, I decided to make some big changes, cut out the ugly in my life, and not long after that, I decided to move to Texas. It was a land of opportunity; I did lots of research on the wedding industry here, decided it would be a great move...and six months after making the decision, I got here.
I essentially took a year off of working (hard) on my business, and really didn't reboot it until a year and a half ago...and I'm so happy. I've got an incredible clientele, wonderful support, and a whole lot of love.
And my self-portraits are happy again.
So, it's a lot easier to map out a game-plan when you're happy, carefree, and madly in love. Let me introduce who I am now.
I'm Cortnie Dee. I'm 24 (25 in January!), I'm dating and living with the man of my dreams, I run a pretty successful photography business, and I'm happy. At my core, I am the happiest I have ever been. In the next two years, I hope to have a studio somewhere in North Dallas (preferably on my own land, I'd really like to build the place from the ground up). My goal is to photograph women Monday through Friday, whether it's boudoir or glamour-esque portraits, and shoot weddings 16 weekends of the year.
And I will. Maybe not in 2017, maybe not in 2018. But I'll get where I'm going.
That's sort of what I do.
Posts like these are always a bit awkward for me, because I walk a fine line between wanting to be very professional and very personal at the same time. But this is part of this whole writing challenge, so...it's done.
I'll be uploading one post every day for November. Some will be personal, some will be posts of sessions and weddings.
...I never know how to end these things, so here's just a fun little tip: take time today to do something for yourself. A bubble bath, a 10 minute dance session when no one is watching, a quick self-portrait, whatever. Do something for you today.