Friday, May 8, 2015

It's about time to dive into this RID List of mine.  (For those of you wondering, here is the explanation of The Reasons I Disappeared List.)  I figured I might as well go in the order I had listed these reasons.  Meaning today is focused on RID #1:


When I was in elementary school my dad introduced me to photography.  I started with disposable cameras and snapped away rather haphazardly.  Come middle school he noticed my obsession and got me a simple little camera that took click in film.  And I snapped more than ever.

Dad, I don't know how much money you spent on developing film for me.  But thanks.

Towards the end of high school my dad got a digital camera.  I played with it when I could and found I was insanely jealous of the fact that he owned it and I didn't.  (It didn't help that my best friend showed up one day with a digital of her own.)  I drooled over these non-film wonders.  So of course the excitement that overwhelmed me when my dad gave me my own dinky little digital camera was beyond words.

I filled my computer with useless shots.

Honestly though, I didn't think of doing photography as more than a hobby until after I had my first kid.  I took way too many photos of him.  (That's a lie.  I didn't take enough.)  Soon friends were asking me to take photos for them.  I had started to fiddle with editing, and it wasn't too shabby.

Before long, I found myself investing in a DSLR camera, creating a Facebook page, and taking on clients that weren't just family members and good friends.

Somehow I had created a name for myself.
And I loved it.

Little did I know that it would take over my entire life.

Photography isn't just happily clicking a trigger and seeing the wonder that is.  You need to take the time to learn your camera, learn proper settings for the image you want to capture, learn the proper way to edit them to produce the best product...

That is just the start.

You set up the Facebook page.  The website.  Create the logo and watermark and business cards.  You reach out to people to spread the word.  Host contests.  Advertise.

Then you book the sessions.  You spend 60-90 minutes taking the photos.  This is the part I love.  You spend time with these people, some you know and some you are only just meeting.  You make them smile.  Get some tears.  Become a small part of their lives for that moment in time and capture the memories.  It is honestly magical.  And exhausting.

Then you go home with a filled memory card.  Sift through all the photos you just took.  Shrink the list down.  THIS alone takes time.

THEN (do you like all the "thens" that are happening?) you start in on the editing.  You create just the right preset for that session.  Apply it.  Tweak it.  Correct things.  Beautify the work.  Depending on the session, this can take hours...or days.  Weeks if it happens to be a wedding.  (Oh, don't get me started on weddings.) 

And most of the time, I had a few sessions in a row.  Meaning the backlog was getting worse and worse.  I still needed to burn DVD copies, upload to the private galleries, create sneak peeks, breathe...

I loved it.  I did.  But with each additional session, I found my time for writing was disappearing fast. I was swallowed up in the the all consuming photography world, and leaving the writing world  behind.

I had to make a decision.
Did I want to mainly be a photographer...or an author.

This was a huge decision.  These were two passions that I loved.  That gave me joy.  That I couldn't just leave behind.  So how would I decide?

I tried the classic "Pros vs Cons" list.  
I had been writing since I was three.  I got out and about and met people with photography.  I have so many stories still to share.  I made actual money snapping photos.  My writing was solely about me.  My photography was about giving memories to others.  The list never ended...This wasn't helping.

I had to figure something else out.  Because I could no longer do both to this extent.
It really came down to:
Which one would it break my heart to leave behind?  Where was my joy?

And without thinking, without weighing options and pondering, I knew the answer.
I tried to fight it.
I tried to rationalize.
I tried to change my mind even.
But my heart was stuck on one thing, always going back to one thing, missing one thing.


So 2015 hit and I made my decision.
I am a photographer.  I always will be and will never deny it.
But my heart decided something for me and I couldn't fight it any longer.  I stopped taking on new clients, stopped advertising, stopped seeking sessions.  I thought it would be hard and the withdrawals would kill me.  But know what?  They didn't.

I guess this is my round about way of announcing that Jenni Merritt Photography is closed.  Not completely.  Not forever.  But as of today, I will only be shooting for family/friends and return clients.  And even that will be with extreme discretion.

TO ALL MY CLIENTS: YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL. The moments and memories you have given me are all so priceless.  I loved being given the chance to photograph you.  I loved that you trusted me with this job.  I STILL love photography.  Who knows what the future brings.  But at least I know that those moments of the past that you gave me are forever captured in my art.  Never doubt your beauty.

I have just learned that life is short, and you need to do what you truly love.  I love photography.  I love writing more.  I cannot sacrifice my writing time any longer. 

So here I am, sad but smiling.  Regretful but complete.  And excited for tomorrow.  This is a hard post to write.  But this is a good decision.  A good RID to rid.  Now, go after your own dreams no matter how hard they are to follow. 

And remember...Just smile.

Curious and want to see more of my work for the fun of it? GO HERE