Eight years. It’s crazy to think it’s been eight years.
I have been on the journey for Eight Years. Someone asked me the other day, “Where did Jody Rae Photography come from, anyway?” I thought this would be a good time to answer that. So, here we go!
I started out doing mostly boudoir photography. What I enjoyed about that was how the women I photographed gained confidence through the experience, and often saw their own beauty for the first time through my camera lens. It helped strengthen their relationships with those around them. As they responded to themselves in a more positive manner, they were able to interact with those around them – their spouse, children, friends and even co-workers – with a new-found confidence. I still offer these sessions for limited availability and I still find such joy in creating beautiful for women to see and feel.
I’ve shifted my focus, to creating memories with newborns, seniors, engagement/weddings, and family portraits. The area around our home here in Astoria, Oregon is beyond beautiful, and with such scenic backdrops as Cannon Beach, families get to spend time reconnecting with one another in amazing places.
What am I up to now? and what People ask me the most often.
People often ask me why I’m so passionate about albums, prints and wall art. A couple of years ago, my sister’s house burned down. They lost everything, except the photographs and memories my brother-in-law risked his life to run back into the burning house to gather. That’s when I realized how important photos really are. In the months after that I made a commitment to my clients for two things: One, that I won’t allow them to walk away from their experience with me until they have reconnected with family members or discovered something inherently beautiful about themselves. And two, that they have tangible proof of the event. Whether it’s amazing canvases on the wall, museum-quality matted prints, or albums on the coffee table, it’s my passion that a family’s story or a child’s life can be remembered 100 years from now. Digital files only have a lifespan of 10 years, and memories should last more than a lifetime.
Looking back at a blog post I created to commemorate my first anniversary in business, it’s funny how I thought that I spent too much time learning, and not enough doing. And that once I “got it”, I would spend much more time doing and less time learning in the following years. The truth is that I still spend a lot of time learning my craft and honing my skills and I’m getting better all the time. The hard part of that is I have a learning “disability”: I’m dyslexic. Recently, I’ve been doing a lot of research about small business entrepreneurs, and the findings are pretty amazing. Did you know that 35% of company founders in the united states are dyslexic? Julie Logan, emeritus professor of entrepreneurship at Cass Business School found that in her research. (read about that here) That’s a lot! And there are some really great explanations for that. One is that we already see the world as a huge mountain that has to be climbed. “Normal” people see the mountain and they get intimidated. Dyslexics see the mountain and say “yeah, this is normal.” So, starting a business? Just another mountain to climb! Looking for new ways to do something? Creative work-around? Check and check! Dyslexics are often really stubborn people. We have to be. We have to keep working and trying new things and finding methods that work for us to thrive in our lives. I’ve had to do things differently all my life. I am a great delegator! You can ask anyone close to me. I am surrounded by people who team up with me to make this work. And instead of seeing it as a “disability”, I see what a blessing that is! So, asking for help? It’s not a weakness at all! It’s an opportunity to collaborate. In business you learn quickly you just can not do it all.
Although home is beautiful Astoria, Oregon, in the past eight years we moved to Houston, Texas not once, but twice. The last time we came back, we decided it was for good. There is no place in the world like the Oregon Coast, and we are here to stay. And a force to be reckoned with!
I’ve always had a great team of people who believe in my vision and support my passion. When we moved back to Astoria, one of the biggest bonuses was that my support team increased, to include my parents and sister again. Along with my incredibly patient husband, they are my greatest allies.
This year has been my busiest yet, professionally. I’ve also met some other really great entrepreneurs, both photographers and in other businesses. And I moved into my new office! It’s about the size of a shoe-box, and it feels like a cave sometimes, but it’s mine, and I’m over the moon about it.
On To Year Number Nine!
Of course, the year hasn’t been all rainbows and unicorns. But no year ever is. I’m thankful for the hard parts of this year, because they made the good parts all the sweeter. Here’s to Year Number Nine! I’m excited to start the year with a trip to Houston in January to learn some more from one of the best in the industry. I know that what I bring back to Oregon from that time will make the year ahead even better than this past one. Welcome to my new home on the web. I’m glad you found me. I’m the one over here in my cave, stubbornly finding new ways to set new standards in photographic excellence.