*Disclaimer: I am not a good writer, I do not pride myself in being a good writer, this is all word vomit but the lessons I learned this year were priceless and a small part of me hopes that this could maybe help even just one person who has struggled or is struggling with the same things that I did.

This year was the hardest year I’ve had. I found myself at the beginning of 2018 telling myself that I was a fraud, that I sucked at photography, that no one even liked my photography so why do I keep embarrassing myself trying. These are true and ACTUAL things I said to myself and that I also said to my husband. I was booking weddings, hitting all my photography goals for the first time since switching to a wedding photographer, and yet somehow I wasn’t happy. I still felt like a failure and I still hated my work. Every single shoot I would come home crying because I felt like something was wrong or something was missing with my photography. I constantly compared myself to other photographers. It got to the point where I was trying to copy other photographers editing-not because I wanted to actually copy them-but because I wanted to try and figure out what I was doing wrong. I did countless workshops, mentoring sessions, youtube videos, and blog posts. One day I literally spent HOURS…like 5 hours watching editing videos on youtube trying to figure out WHAT I COULD POSSIBLY DO DIFFERENT TO ACTUALLY LIKE MY WORK. Which is not only offensive to those other artists but also to myself and my own work and my own creativity. I found myself starting to be jealous of other’s success instead of actually being happy for them. One day I had to completely shut off my computer and leave my house so I wouldn’t start going through Pinterest and Instagram obsessing over everyone else’s work. Once I fell into the self-pity hole I couldn’t get myself out. I figured people were just hiring me because they felt sorry for me not because they actually wanted me to be their photographer. No matter who told me I was doing a good job I didn’t believe them, I assumed they were lying to me.

I don’t know at what point I decided that what I was doing was extremely toxic to myself and my business but one day I decided that I can either sit at my computer and compare myself to others and complain or I can work on really honing in on my own style and being true to myself and focusing on MY own art and my own work and only comparing myself to my old work. We hear that allllll the time in the creative industry *insert eye roll here* “I can’t believe another freaking photographer, artist, florist or whatever is actually saying that AGAIN” I know right? I can’t believe it either, we all sound like broken records but guess what it’s SO FREAKING TRUE.

I decided to be true to myself, I decided to switch the little gears in my head and instead of comparing myself and my art and trying to be “so and so” I would just be myself. I decided to recognize that just because “blank” is a good photographer or an amazing photographer doesn’t mean I’m a bad one. Everyone always complains that the market in UT is so saturated with photographers and that’s one way to look at it. I decided to change my perspective and think about how amazing it is that one little state holds so much talent. I decided that every shoot is an opportunity to get better and although it doesn’t hurt to always strive to keep learning, that you also have to pat yourself on the back every once and awhile and tell yourself that you’re doing it. You’re living your dream or your side gig, or your hobby or whatever it is that drove you to the trade that you’re doing. You’re in. I know I always always have room to improve but I started looking at my work with gentler eyes. Instead of immediately always pointing out the flaws I started looking at the things I actually liked about my images, then I started to remember and continue doing those things and now I can see actual improvement in my work.

There are quite a few people who I have spoken to briefly about my experience and they have said the same thing: 2018 has been hard. I think 2019 is the perfect opportunity for us to be true to ourselves, to our trade, true to our art. I am committing to myself right now that I will not try to be anyone but myself, and I would love for anyone who feels the same to join me.

I hope whoever got through all of this didn’t find too many grammatical errors and also has a Happy New Year!



Also I was trying to find 5 of my favorite photos I have taken this year to add to the blog post but I couldn’t pick just 5 so here are 5 random photos from this year that are in no way aesthetically pleasing but make me feel happy and make me feel like it’s actually MY work.

baylie longenecker