Self-care as a Creative: don’t forget you’re an artist, too - Guest Blogger, Elizabeth Sims

I'll say it almost every time, but I LOVE having guest bloggers on here! Elizabeth and I have known each other from some time and really didn't connect until this past two years or so! It's an honor to have her write a post on here and I hope you enjoy it <3 

I’m so honored that Alex asked me to be part of her blog. I’ve known this girl since our high school days and I cannot believe how much this girl has grown as a human and a creative mind. Her work is gorgeous and her business mind is inspiring! Thank you so much for letting me share a small piece of my mind, Alex! :) 

So are you an artist or a business owner? I don’t get this question asked often by my clients or friends, but it’s one I ask myself often. Am I a photographer to pay rent or because I find beauty in everything and truly want to capture it? Do I really put my heart and soul into each project or slide through giving the bare minimum? Every artist or business owner doubts themselves sometimes. We doubt our process, our finished product, our finances. And as photographers, I believe we are both artists and business owners. We are lucky enough to have two titles with many responsibilities.

I’ve been shooting portraits since I was 12 years old (I’m currently 21) and I made my photography business full time in June 2015 and since then, life has been full of many ups and downs. I’ve struggled with everything from financial stability through slow season to changing my editing style. What I want to talk about in this post are the ways I’ve found my balance of art and business. Because, at least for me, the end goal for business is for my finances and my artistry to flourish.

Confidence.

No one is confident every day of their life. No one. But I’m a firm believer in the energy you put into the world is what you’ll get back. Showing that you’re confident in your art, love what you do and are ready to kick ass? It shows! When talking with clients don’t forget to smile, laugh and be a real human with them. Confidence is not about simply showing off or being overly hot headed about your ability. It’s about a wonderful balance of transparency and strength. Be strong and confident enough to show your weaknesses and still know you are full of talent! And being confident not only helps your client have more faith in you, it give you more faith in you. Love the person you are and own it. It seems simple, but truly loving yourself and letting go of those insecurities will drop loads of stress and worry from your mind!

Don’t forget you’re an artist, too. As artists we are our biggest critic.

Time.

Be willing to give your time and effort into each project - paid gig or not. For me, I struggle with losing interest in my paid shoots at times rather than the ones I do just for me. When it’s for me, I think about every detail. But it’s easy for me to zone out and just coast in my comfort zone with my paying clients. Shooting similar subjects, in similar locations, with similar edits over and over can be draining. Just remember, no matter what the project is… it’s YOURS. Your art, your vision, your work is being transformed into something tangible. Don’t forget how amazing, terrifying and exciting that is! Take time to put 110% into all you do, be proud of each thing you create and really put your best effort into your work each time. Create from what you feel, what you smell, what you touch - all the little things.

Don’t forget you’re an artist, too. Create. Evolve.

Have awareness of the beauty of the every day.

Humility.

Yes I’m telling you to be confident and humble at the same time. ;) I don’t mean this in the timid/shy sense of the word. Since I started my full time artist journey, I’ve had to be humble and feel small many, many times. I’ve been behind on rent, unable to go out with friends or simply felt overwhelmed by the hugeness of running your own business. My advice is to learn to be okay with this feeling. It’s a careful balance of knowing your worth and knowing you have a lot more to learn. Ask for advice from artists who inspire you. Go through that gallery you’ve been through a million times until you find the perfect edit. Every human has bad days, not every pushes through it.

Don’t forget you’re an artist, too.

Some days are better spent being inspired instead of creating.

Ask for help. Get hugs. It’s okay.

I hope this helps you in some small way come back to the basics. To remember why you create and who you are as an artist. It takes so much strength and vulnerability to step out into the abyss of being an artist. It’s oh so scary, but oh so worth it. :) I encourage you to take 30 minutes today to listen to a podcast, read an article, etc. by your favorite artists. Get inspired and go be amazing today!

Bio: Hi, I’m Elizabeth Sims! I’m 21 and married to my best friend, Richard. I’ve been a photographer for almost 10 years now and there’s nothing I love more than exploring the world - camera in hand. I’ve shot just about everything under the sun but I’ve recently found my true passion in  shooting elopements, intimate weddings and seniors. I also shoot a lot of conceptual work and have a few photojournalism projects in the works. When I don’t have a camera on me, you can usually find me on my yoga mat or singing with my husband. I have an obsession with bonsai trees, finding obscure coffee shops and walking barefoot anywhere possible.

https://lotusartistry.co

https://facebook.com/lotusartistry

https://instagram.com/lotusartistry



 

Connor, Senior Session. Hillsborough NC.

I don't get to photograph a ton of guys (what's up with that?!), but geez it's always so much fun when they step in front of the camera! 
I honestly don't know why more guys don't get senior photos. Maybe it's cause it seems like a "girl thing" (psst, it isn't) or just because they don't like the camera, I am honestly not sure. Here's what I do know. 

EVERYONE can rock a photoshoot.

And I pinky promise I'm not just saying this because I'm a photographer, but because I truly mean it! It really doesn't matter who you are, everyone needs images of themselves that you love. 

Senior guys are the perfect example. Y'all, it's the year you finally graduate! Take the time to capture all of it. Senior sessions are for every high schooler, so don't feel like you shouldn't take them. Each photo shoot revolves around that person, so if you're more of a silly person, don't worry because I will make it a point to bring out ALL the goofy faces. 

Connor and I have known each other for quite some time now, so with his senior pictures I knew we needed some super fun shots and then plenty for graduation cards as well. 

October Recap.

At the end of every month, I am going to start doing a monthly recap blog post! It will serve as a generalized post about what all sessions I had, new events that happened, or just general great things that happened. Read below to hear all about it! 

2017 Soar Team.

On the blog I shared all of my favorite images from the 2017 Soar Team session and released this AHH-MAZING video from Amber Wyatt! Read the blog here. 

Snapchat Talk. 

"Video is a scary thing, you’re putting your whole self out there, but trust me when I say it’s worth it! Your clients just feel like they are having a regular conversation with you, and if anything else, it makes it easier at a session for them to be comfortable with you."
Shannon DePalma and I chatted via Facebook messenger (hey, interviews don't have to be formal!), and after a great conversation about Snapchat marketing, we both decided it would be a neat blog post! You can read it all here.

coffeedesktheblend

Mikayla, Teen Session. 

So even though I specialize in high school and college senior portraits, I've found out that teen photo sessions are insanely fun as well! I got the chance to take over Grace Belle's Snapchat for the day and teamed up to photograph some fun photos of Mikayla for her blog! Take a look at her images here.

Guest Blog Post, The 9-5.

Something that I don't share too often is that I work a full time job currently. I don't mind it at all, there's so many people I get to meet through my job and being a marketing manager is a pretty neat title! Even with all the perks, there's always hardships. I got to write about it all over at Collectively Caitlin, and you can read that here!

9to5workingfulltime

Workshop Announcement! 

I'm super ecstatic to announce that I will be a guest speaker at Darling Today's Winter Workshop! 
If you have ever been interested in photographing weddings or would like like to have more knowledge in different styles, I would highly recommend this workshop. Plus, this mood board is #WeddingGoals sooo you can't beat that! Click here to sign up. 

weddingmoodymoodboard

The Explorer.

One of my favorite parts of on location photography is the chance to go and explore whatever town I feel like! It's a pretty cool job, I know (;  

Over the Summer, I partnered with Grace Belle to takeover their Snapchat for the day. I knew I wanted to do a fairly relaxed session, so Mikayla from www.mikaylachristiansen.com and I teamed up and got to explore downtown Hillsborough!  

Mikayla is so so sweet and has just a radiant heart, so definitely take a moment to go read her blog as well! 

Snapchat + Your Business = Awesome.

A few months ago I got to have a great conversation with fellow entrepreneur, Shannon DePalma.  We chatted all about how Snapchat can be a killer marketing platform for really any business, and eventually we realized how awesome of a blog post it would be, so she interviewed me! Check it all out below! 

Shannon: Hi Alex! thanks for answering my question and guiding me into why snapchat works for photographers. I know it does, but I'd love to know WHY or how you're using it?

Alex: So I use it to really connect with clients, thats the main goal for me! I specialize in high school and college seniors, so my whole market is on there. In a typical day, I wake up and talk about what I'm going to do, start counting how many cups of coffee I consume, give sneak peeks, show my daily struggles and fail moments (they all happen to us!), and give another overview of what I'm doing! If I have a session, then I snapchat the entire thing, from 1st outfit to the location and any silly things in between. I actually save all of the snaps from sessions, and I'll send them all together to my client later!

Shannon: That’s amazing, I love, a behind the scenes, sneak peek into a photographer’s life. Do you think the clients react to the background videos of seeing the background of a shoot?

Alex: They love it most of the time. I shoot at fairly unique locations, especially for my town, so showing the location actually makes my target market want to book me over others because it's different than the normal stuff!

Shannon: Were you ever scared doing the first couple videos? What if I look stupid or mess up?

Alex - Real talk for a minute - I cannot stand my voice nor how my face looks when I talk! I actually have a speech impediment where I stutter, slur letters, and just overall mess sentences up. But, I’m going to have to talk to my clients eventually so I can’t let it bother me. My mouth is shaped a bit different as well so I think it always looks a bit funny, but it’s not something I can change!

Video is a scary thing, you’re putting your whole self out there, but trust me when I say it’s worth it! Your clients just feel like they are having a regular conversation with you, and if anything else, it makes it easier at a session for them to be comfortable with you.

Shannon: Yeah I could totally see that! Anything else you think really draws clients in using snapchat?

Alex: I really don't have a particular thing that I do besides be super goofy (but that's basically my whole personality haha), but with saying that, i think something that my clients really like is throwbacks to random moments! So if something funny happened at a session, but I never got a chance to share it, i'll show a picture of that client, then turn the camera to me and say something funny about it! I also tell a lot of random puns, jokes, and overall things like that haha

Me: Hahah I love that, authenticity is what sells! Bull*** does not. Do you feel like this is your biggest way you get potential clients or is there another social media channel you use that gets you more clients?

Alex: Snapchat is my number one social media outlet, even trumps instagram! Since I'm so personal on there, if someone’s try to book me, I almost never lose that sell because they know exactly what to expect from me, as compared to Facebook and instagram where they may not see it all

Me: Any advice for people looking to get more clients through Snapchat? OR what they should post for their first few snapchat videos?

Alex: Just keep on sharing. Add the people in your contacts, there’s a good chance there’s at least one client in there, and make sure to let your other followers know! Share it on Facebook, your blog, instagram, basically anywhere you can. Two things that have gotten a lot of followers for me is adding something like “Follow me on Snapchat @eagletphoto” in my instagram bio, and also if I share a behind the scenes picture that I posted on Snapchat, too, I say “Pic: Snapchat @eagletphoto (And see more fun like it over there!)”. Booking clients on snapchat may take some time, be warned. BUT, they are already so connected with you on there, they know exactly what to expect from you!

2017 Soar Team Stylized Session.

Y'all, I have been eagerly waiting to share all of these images!! I felt like I drooled over every single one and oh my it was just perfection the entire photoshoot.
We spent over a month carefully planning everything, from outfits and makeup, to myself scheduling everything and planning poses, it was such a relief when everything came together perfectly. This camping theme was a dream! 


I have to give a big ol shoutout to everyone who helped out in any form of fashion. Amber Wyatt shot this amazing video, Sarah Bishop killed it with the behind the scenes pictures, Sean Vaughan was the Snapchat king of the day, Cane Creek Farm hosted us at the perfect location, and April Murray of Main Street Cake Shoppe kept us going with the best cake pops around! 

Puppies, Kittens, and Soar Team.

One of my favorite parts of the 2017 Soar Team is we get the opportunity as a group to partner with organizations as volunteer! 
For the Fall semester, we chose the Burlington Animal Services. We came dressed and ready to go to play with any animals they put in front of us, and the real struggle was just to try not to take any animal home! 
Thank you, Burlington Animal Services, for letting us come love on all of the cats and dogs, and we pray that they find a forever home soon!
If you're interested in visiting any of the animals, view their website here.

Stressed, Blessed, and Probably Underdressed.

I don't know how it happened, but this has become my busiest week of the entire year! Saturday is the 2017 Soar Team Fall Stylized Session, then next week I'll be speaking at CoOperative (Find all the information here!). These are both two HUGE events for me, but they both take a ton of preparation. Even though it's super exciting, it's fairly stressful. 

I ran across this quote earlier this week and geez it hit home. My life is lived by my planner and a intense schedule. Part of me loves the organization of it all, but the other part of me is just so worried about not getting everything done, and just simply over booking myself. Am I the only one who feels this way? 

I'll be vulnerable - I am still working hard to find a balance of this all. I see all these things I want to do, but I don't see the time to do it all. But, I've found that taking a step back, really does help. I feel odd when I have a crazy big to do list, and I take a moment for myself, but oh I know I need it!
My number one mantra has always been "Fill up before your pour out". Whether it's in my business, my health, or my spiritual life, I know that I can't do anything unless I have plenty energy in me to do it! 

So, this blog post isn't anything super crazy, exciting, or informational, but let it serve as a reminder that it's okay to get stressed, but know you don't have to stay that way! 

Prom Makeup Fails + How to Prevent it!

Story Time! 
Three years ago, I attended my very first prom. It really seems like it was much longer than that, but that's besides the point. 
As mentioned in previous posts, I'm not a glitter/glitzy person. When it was time to find a dress, I got so fed up that my mom and I ended up just making one. Geez I was such a homeschooler! 
The day of prom comes, and it's time to get my makeup done (cue dramatic & scary music). At that time, I don't think I owned any makeup besides a tube of mascara, so I roll into Ulta, and oh my-lanta it was crazy. I have never been more overwhelmed in my life! There was SO much makeup. Everywhere. Like you turn around and it felt like you were in eyeshadow inception. It just kept going and going!! I sit down in the chair in front of the makeup artist as small little fresh-faced Alex, and when it was time to get out of the chair, I'm pretty sure I aged 8 years, went and tanned for 15 hours, and had about 2 gallons of glitter on my face. 

I wish I was exaggerating. Don't worry, here's pictures to prove it.

Oh yes, check out all that shine. 

Oh yes, check out all that shine. 

Can we take a moment to appreciate that Durand still is my boyfriend, even after all of this? #4YearsStrong

Can we take a moment to appreciate that Durand still is my boyfriend, even after all of this? #4YearsStrong

Sadly, I did not meet my dear friend Katy until prom was over for me, but I got to chat with her about the best tips for prom makeup! Check out her amazing tips!

So first things first, after hearing your own personal story about how horrified you were, let's make it very clear to always make sure you are going to feel like yourself in your make up! The whole purpose of make up is to accentuate the amazing qualities that you have, not to make you feel like someone you're not! For me, I love bold lips! It's my statement. However, bold lips aren't for everyone. So when I'm applying make up to a client I always ask how comfortable they would be with certain things. Make sure if you have a consultation with a profession that you express your desires with them. They will be more than willing to adjust your style to what you feel comfortable with! 
Many women like to do their own make up for prom and I think that's awesome! Here are some pointers for those girls:

  • Choose colors that compliment your complexion and eye color.

Often, people try to get really matchy matchy with their dress and eye shadow. For subtle shades this is great! However, this can also be a disaster. Light blue, lime green, hot pink... These are all colors that can be some of the most beautiful dresses but they can also make for a horrible eye shadow job. Find colors that compliment you instead of your dress. A natural smokey look can accommodate any dress! And if your more into neutral shades, try a soft nude lip gloss and take it with you so you can reapply throughout the night! 

  • Want to stand out? Try a pop of color on your lips!

Keep your eye shadow more neutral so that it draws more attention to your lips. Think of Marilyn Monroe! Those beautiful red lips but her eyes don't have a ton of color! Just really pretty lashes and liner! Another way to jazz up your up look is to apply fake lashes! I know this sounds terrifying to most but they sale some set in pairs! Try practicing with a pair the week before prom so that you can be an expert! I truly think no formal look is completely without a set of lashes. You can choose how dramatic you want your eye lashes to be. My favorite lashes are found at Ulta. They have several different brands to choose from! 

  • Most importantly just remember to do what makes you feel beautiful.

Every girl deserves to feel like the belle of the ball. For some of us that may include a bold lips stick and long full lashes and for others it may soft eyes and a nude lip! Whatever the case may be do what you feel comfortable with, take lots of pictures and enjoy your night!

xoxo, 
Katy Osbourne

Wasn't I right?! Katy is a genius! Basically this is everything I need to know in high school, all right here. Want to know more about Katy? Check out all of her info below!

You can find Katy in person as a hair stylist at Urban Chic Studio in Burlington, NC. She also has been doing on-site Bridal hair and make up for weddings, and recently dipped her feet into doing some hair and make up editorial work for some photo shoots!

"Being in this industry is about so much more than just making someone look beautiful, it’s about making them believe they are beautiful. I strive to make this my goal with my clients every day!"
- Katy

Instagram: @AllAboutThatHair.NC

Blog:

AllAboutThatHairNC.Wordpress.com

Fun Fact:
"I'm the proud mom to three cats, a rabbit and six chickens!" - Katy 

2017 Soar Team Meeting.

I know, a meeting sounds pretty boring, but this one definitely wasn't! I got to meet a few of the prospective models for our 2017 Soar Team + we had a pretty awesome cookie bar, so yeah, it was a great day! 

My ultimate dream is to be a public speaker and a educator in the photography industry, so within this meeting, I sort of get to do just that! Being able to connect with these amazing girls plus tell them about what is yet to come on the Soar Team is amazing! 

I cannot wait to get the ball rolling with the 2017 Soar team, so stay tuned....

Tuesdays Together Triad Retreat.

This past month, a group of 9 women and myself packed our cars with way too much food, cameras, and notebooks. Yep, I went on my very first business retreat!

I honestly don't get super nervous about going to these type of things. I'm the type of person who is just going to talk to anyone, so being in a group of people who I barely know isn't that intimidating.

The thing is, I was SO not expecting to make some pretty legit friends. I know, I know. I'm already sounding cheesy. But y'all, I'm serious! We hung out and laughed our butts off. We found amazing restaurants and learned that mini vans aren't huge fans of mountain roads (just trust me on this one...).

To everyone who went: Thank you. Thank you for your wisdom, your friendships, your mentoring and advice, and your love. A rising tide lifts all boats! 

P.S. Thank you Blink of an Eye Photography for all the amazing photos!

http://blinkofaneyephotographync.com/

Katie, Guest Post.

My name is Katie Mitchell and I'm in Eaglet Photography's 2016 senior model program. The model program has been an awesome experience for me and I have had a super time.

I have been homeschooled since the beginning which I find to be pretty cool. 

A neat thing about my session is that I was able to have it at my summer theatre, Snow Camp Outdoor Theatre!

It gave us a nice variety along with the coolest scenery ever.

I sat in the road, I threw some leaves, I leaned on some wagons...You get the idea. 

It was fantastically adventurous!! 

Sean, Intern.

My name is Sean Vaughan and I am a intern for Eaglet Photography. I’ve known Alex for about a year now and I just love her photography skills. I go to Alamance - Burlington Middle College. I love Eaglet Photography because the owner is great at what she does, she’s a awesome teacher, and a great friend!

Corttni, Soar 11

Have I told you how much a LOVE sessions that have something special to them? I mean, how much better can a session get than one with a horse in it?! Corttni hasn't been able to ride recently, but because of a awesome gal (Thank you, Kendall!), we used Ravi, the horse pictured, for her Soar 11 session. I can't say this enough, it was a blast!