-Robyn R. RasmussenThis simple statement should have been at the forefront of my mind when deciding to start a business.
If you are reading this blog you have likely become accustomed to reading blogs and searching the Internet for information while being entertained. Innocently enough my quest for business began much the same way and found it's way out in the photography world starting and ending with photographing food.
Food in it's simplicity and still beauty was and is my favorite thing to capture in pixels. Preparing a beautiful dish and then hunting for dreamy sunlight brings me joy. Sitting on my bigger behind for eight hours a day diligently editing for looming deadlines of holiday cards and high school yearbook deadlines does quite the opposite in the way of my feelings.
Photography to make money is like convincing yourself that sugar-free syrup is delicious. It seems totally possible, as the deep amber liquid flows from the bottle. It is sure to bring a sweet delicious calorie-free morsel to your mouth and then you place the first bite in your mouth it's believable. Then suddenly you get the after-taste. The slightly tangy, distinct, non-syrup, non-sweet taste clings to your tongue. You convince yourself that maybe the next bite will be better but it just never does. Eventually you get used to the unusual taste and decide that this is just the way that having pancakes calorie-free will have to be.
Year after year I was really good at forgetting the bitter taste and digging in for another calorie-free bite only to realize once again that things have not changed. Photography is just as challenging and unexpectedly hard year after year, season after season. Perfection only complicated this process as each year I held myself to yet a higher standard of skills and offerings. And much like diet food in general, my family was not buying it.
On the flip side of dieting you have exquisite four course meals at a five start restaurant in Chicago that you dream of dining at one day. There is an elite list that you desire to top. Soon you find out that topping the list means reaching high goals, long hours and sacrifices.
As I have grown in a deeper understanding of where God has placed me in this fading world I have realized that my focus as a Christian was less than Christ-centered. It was business centered with a Christ flavor. The original focus of my photography was to glorify God but in the quest to make things make sense I lost my footing. Rewarding were the smiles of a mother who has dealt with loss and then watched me photograph her new baby daughter or the gentle reassurance to the mother of a six-month-old when telling her that I would be praying for her as she was up in the night. Rewarding was revisiting children that I have known since babies and now documenting their senior year.
The moment it changed was the moment it was my sole career. I spent hours being encouraged online to make money doing what I loved. And the simple of idea of making money was what brought it all downhill. Money took control. The dollar trumped my family, my values, my weight, my health and most of all my faith.
Finally, 3 years down the road I began to realize with the still small voice of God that I was not on the path He had intended. I was wandering further and he was ready to help me gently turn back. And it was almost overnight that I decided to sell my camera and quit the photography business. I have not turned back for a moment. It has been beautifully rewarding and worth every moment.
Do I love all those clients and experiences that I had along the way? Absolutely yes, I loved every minute of it. Did I get carried away in my quest to make a greater salary? A resounding yes. Where do I go from here? I'm not sure. It is a work in progress. For now, I am focusing on my family and taking photos with my iPhone.