Shoot & Share LIVE Chat - January 20, 2014

Yesterday I travelled from Montana, to Calgary, and then hopped on a bus that took me from Calgary to Edmonton. After spending 14 hours in a vehicle, I was beyond thrilled go FINALLY make it back and get to bed. 20 minutes before my arrival into Edmonton, I got a text asking if I would want to host my own Shoot & Share chat in less than 24 hours! If you know me, you'd know that I was PUMPED at the opportunity, but also extremely OVERWHELMED and nervous at the same time; I was so scared simply at the thought of doing a LIVE show solo, but, like I've been learning to do over the course of the past 7 months, I FORCED myself to commit before I changed my mind!I went over topic ideas for hours on end, until I realized that I would use my hesitation to accept this opportunity as the base of my discussion. As a quiet, shy, and rather introverted individual, I used to always turn down opportunities that came my way; regardless of how awesome they might have been, then just made me TOO nervous. Introverted or not, nerves are something that a lot of people struggle with, but over the course of the past 7 months, I've started to adapt in the sense that I try and turn my nerves into a different sort of energy. I wanted to at least TRY and explain how I've been using my shy personality to my advantage, and how I've grown my business while doing so. The LIVE chat was recorded--and just like every other previous chat hosted by Shoot & Share--you can find it right over on the Shoot & Share website, under "videos". I'll leave the video itself at the END of this post, but if you don't feel like watching all 30 minutes of it, I'll also post a mini summary of some of the things that I went over! P.S I apologize in advance for all of the "like" and "ums" that happen throughout the video...definitely something I want to work on!

I'll break down the video into a few categories; I wanted to individually go over how introversion can be used to your advantage in various aspects of your business + life!

BLOGGING: Blogging is a big creative and emotional outlet for me. I used to blog before I became a photographer, so continuing to do so while also taking photos has been awesome! - As someone who is a bit more on the shy side, I use blogging to express my feelings. As opposed to trying to verbally express myself--which can often make me nervous and uncomfortable--I use my blog as a platform to really open up my life to those who read it. - When I first realized that being an introvert was OKAY, I started a very mini series that I called "Introverted Tendencies" on my blog. It was just a series of mini blog posts where I shared certain quirks that happened in my life that I felt others would be able to relate to. You can find TWO examples of what I'm talking about HERE + HERE

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COMMUNITY:

I'm someone who has few friends, but the ones that I do have are VERY near + dear to my heart; however, often times having only a handful of best friends can cause some discomfort when they are not around. This was the case for me this past fall; one of my best friends Chelsey, from Chelsey Dawn photography left to India on an 8 week mission trip. Chelsey has always been (& always will be) my go-to friend for photographic advice! She's someone who I confide in with business + personal questions, and she is a voice of resounding clarity and honestly when it comes to sharing my work with her. Her leaving REALLY forced me to take a LEAP out of my comfort zone. - Over the course of 2 or 3 months, I physically forced myself to connect with other photographers in my community. I found some really rad people that I had wanted to get to know, and I just sent them a quick note asking if they'd want to hangout over coffee one morning. I KNOW that emails and messages to people that you don't know can often be daunting and make you nervous, but look at it this way: you have NOTHING to lose! Other photographers are JUST like you! We are real, genuine people, who are probably as excited (if not more!) to meet YOU as your are to meet us! Don't be afraid to ask someone to talk business, meet up over drinks, or inquire about going along on a photoshoot, the worst that can happen is that they'll say "no", and there's absolutely nothing wrong with trying!! If you're nervous, just think about the quote "Do one thing a day that scares you!" -- as time goes on, I promise you'll become more brave! - Another BIG one for me was the development of the Shoot & Share Edmonton group. I'm sure you've all heard me talk about this plenty of times, so I'll save my reiteration, but I really do encourage you all to take a look at the MAP and find a local Shoot & Share group that YOU can be a part of!

BUSINESS + PHOTOGRAPHY: Working with people can sometimes be a draining task, especially if you're someone who needs some quiet time to recharge after being surrounded by a large group of people. All I know is that it gets easier! It's okay to be uncomfortable around large groups of people, you just have to use your own personality quirks to find ways to connect with either those your networking with, or those you are photographing. People feel CONNECTED to one-another when you start to open up about the qualities that make you unique. I've grown to use my skills as a listener to feel connected with fellow photographers/clients, and then by the same token, I also spend quiet nights painting my nails as a way to recharge after a busy-people-filled day!

- "Fake it till you make it" -- I delve a bit deeper into this in the video, but I'll just say that nobody is good at everything right off the bat! When I first started shooting weddings, it was hard for me to command a large bridal parties, or to connect and talk with other vendors like the florists or the DJ; but, after pretending and convincing myself that I could be outgoing and in charge, I finally started to believe that I really COULD be those things, which in turn made putting myself out there a little bit easier! - Second shooters are a great way to physically bring along moral support. Second shooters can not only help if you draw a blank when thinking of a pose, but they also bring along a huge sense of security, and are AWESOME to have alongside of you throughout the day! - Wedding day routines: I've started a loyal tradition with myself that happens prior to me shooting a wedding. Quiet, alone time is something that I HIGHLY value; it calms my soul and recharges my mind, which is why I will wake very early on a wedding day, simply to sit, grab a coffee, and just spend an hour or so alone with my thoughts. Does anyone else do something similar? I find that it's truly the best way to "silently" psyche myself up for a wedding! haha

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CLIENT INTERACTIONS: - Often times, face-to-face interactions can be a very nerve-wracking thing. Since as long as I can remember, I've prepared mental scripts in my mind well before even talking or meeting up with someone. I'm not saying that when I DO meet a client or fellow photographer that I crazily follow my mental script, but it's just something that I found to work really well in calming myself before a big interaction. - Extra preparation/research is also a big one for me! I like to go into a meeting with a few pre-thought questions or comments that I could use if things were to every get quiet and awkward during the chat. Often times the meet ups usually go great without awkward pauses, but it put my mind at ease knowing that I have other topics to bring up and talk about if those pauses do, in fact, happen.

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All in all, if you're someone who struggles with forcing yourself out of your comfort zone, or finding ways to manage your business due to your shy personality, just KNOW that you are NEVER alone! I know that often times it's easy to feel alone (especially since introverts usually stay in the shadows and don't always put themselves in the middle of conversations or chats on photography forums hehe) but if you ever need someone to talk to, or ask questions to, just know that I am here! I've experienced the silly thoughts and feelings that someone else might not understand, and I get how weird having a shy personality can be; so I'm ALWAYS up for chatting about it, for meeting YOU for coffee, or just to get to know you a little more! Let's be FRIENDS!!