So if you’re a young entrepreneur and/or artist lacking self esteem, don’t. give. up. You can do it. You will fail. A lot. But you will get so much better if you just try and continue to educate yourself. I still learn with every single shoot that I do. You will get there. You will become what you want to be.
About Kelsey by Kelsey:
I never thought I would be where I am today. I seriously never thought I would ever have the guts to pursue photography. I really applaud any person that seeks a career in art. It is a harsh world that we live in and no matter what you create or how beautiful it is, there will always be someone there to loathe it.
I only wish that I were the girl that had a lot of confidence and never cared what people thought about herself through her entire life, but I have never been that girl. That girl is quite a distance away from the person I was growing up.
I have always enjoyed and appreciated photography. I used to scrapbook when I was very young. I would beg my mother for tons of disposable cameras to take with me on any trip I ever took, and sometimes I would even take my friends out for a miniature photo shoot. Those photos are quite hilarious to look back at.
My mother bought me a digital camera when I was a little older (that I lost) and I eventually stole my older sister’s Fujifilm Fine Pix Z20fd. I would make some of my girlfriends model for me outside and use programs like Picnik to edit them with. I would give most of my photos a strong vignette and modify the color until they were so oversaturated they were orange. You gotta start somewhere though, right?
After high school, when I was only 19, I gave birth to a baby boy who became my entire world. I was a single mom throughout Benson’s entire infancy. I lived in government housing because I was poor and by myself. I wouldn’t accept help from my parents. I am an independent person and I was determined to get to the place I wanted to be on my own. I waited tables through this time which helped me pay the bills, and I didn’t think too much about the future. I tried to go to school for a while, but I could only take a couple classes per semester and I just didn’t have the patience to finish community college to do something that I didn’t even enjoy. I’m not sure what I was waiting for.
After Benson turned one, in 2012, I got my income tax money in and decided I wanted to buy my first DSLR. I found a Nikon D90 at Unclaimed Baggage in Scottsboro for about $500. To me, that was a huge investment. I probably would have never bought it if my sister were not with me that day. She talked me into buying it because it was something that I really wanted. She told me that it would be worth it especially since I never bought anything for myself.
I took pictures of Benson with my new camera, but other than that, I didn’t really have other subjects to practice on. I didn’t have many friends that I hung out with anymore and I didn’t spend a lot of time out of the house either, so my camera spent a lot of time untouched for a while after that.
One Sunday when I was serving, Aaron and his family came in to sit at one of my tables. I will not explain the entire, cheesily romantic story to you, but Aaron became my boyfriend and made me happier than any guy I had ever known (next to Benson of course). I had never had a guy treat me the way Aaron treated me in my entire life. He was so good to me and he really boosted my self esteem.
I started taking pictures of a few of my close friends’ children, and I even started having some people outside my circle asking me how much I charged for pictures. I would do plenty of shoots for free for a while. Thanks to Aaron for my new boost of confidence, I decided to introduce Kelsey Dawn Photography for the first time into the world on July 14th, 2013 so that I could start making a little extra money.
For months, I would see very sly, submissive posts on Facebook saying things like, “Everybody thinks they’re a photographer these days,” or, “Just because you have a nice camera, doesn’t mean you’re a professional photographer.” Whether these things were about me or not, they kinda brought me down. Why do people have to hurt others that are just trying to do something they love? Why are people so detrimental? I tried to pretend like I never caught a glimpse of these passive social media posts, but I have to admit that things like that were the reason I took several breaks during the beginning of my business. I really do care way too much about what other people think. That makes being an artist really hard. Being labeled as just “another photographer” instead of a creative artist is annoying.
Now, if new photographers ever come to me for any kind of guidance, I always try to be approachable and humble because I remember what it was like to have very few people believe in me. Also, in the three years that I have been running my business, I can tell you that every one of those people that made those rude comments via social media, have ALL paid me for my trade since then, and that is something I quite frequently look back on. If I could turn all of their heads in that amount of time, think of what I can do in the years I have to come. So if you’re a young entrepreneur and/or artist lacking self esteem, don’t. give. up. You can do it. You will fail. A lot. But you will get so much better if you just try and continue to educate yourself. I still learn with every single shoot that I do. You will get there. You will become what you want to be.
I am still not exactly where I want to be in life, but I am happy where I am and where I have gotten so far. I KNOW that things will only get better from here. I truly believe that.
If you want to make a difference, make it.