Monthly Archives: November 2017

What if I really could…?

…own a photography studio later on in life?

…be my own boss making a good and secure living for myself?

…have the sense of security that only comes from steady Capturework?

…love myself absolutely?

…take on a new family and still commit to my original family?

…be a force of good in my community?

…own a beautiful house?

…have two dogs and three kids?

…believe in myself enough to know that all of the above can and will happen with hard work and determination and just the slightest bit of the talent I’ve held inside waiting for the “right” moment to release it all?

…release the bad ass within?

…start today?

How “Gray Graphics” Got Its Name

It was about half a year ago when I was first thinking about maybe starting a business. I was trying really hard to think of a business name that I could be proud of. At one point in time, the business had three different names: Blue Skies Photography (in nod to my middle name), Sierra Sky Photography (very personal and also tied directly to my name), and Maitland Photography (tied to my last name which wouldn’t help me after I was married). I named my photography business “Gray Graphics” for a few different reasons.

1. I am engaged to a wonderful, fun-loving, kind human being whose last name is Grayson.

This means that my last name will one day be Grayson. I wanted there to be some sort of a nod to how big a part he plays in my life. (Plus the business will soon be half his, so I wanted to make the name personal for the both of us!)

2. I love to work under cloudy days.

You’ll notice that a lot of my outdoor photographs are taken in overcast lighting. I love the way that colors look against a gray sky.

3. One of my favorite things to do is to create aesthetically pleasing graphics.

The “Graphics” portion of my business name is to show that not only am I photographer (because photographs are a part of graphics) but I am also a graphic designer. Creating pretty and interesting cards, invitations, save-the-dates, notepads, etc. is something I really love to do.

4. I am a huge fan of alliteration.

When two words start with the same letter and fit so nicely together, I get really happy. It’s because of the English major in me. “Gray Graphics” is one example of this; I found two words that meshed well together and perfectly described my business. What more could I ask for?

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I have never been able to depersonalize anything in my life; I’m a very “this fits me to a ’T’ so I must do it” kind of a person. My business name is no different. I’m proud to be representing myself in the creative world this way.

A Day in the Life of a Photographer

I honestly had no idea what I was signing up for when I started out in the photography industry. Before I started my business, when I realized I was super into photography in general, I was just a freshman in college who had no idea what I was doing or how to work a “good camera.” My day-in-the-life would have looked a lot different during those days. Since starting my business, I have developed a routine for the day-to-day of my business and my passion. Keep reading if you want to know more!

The Mornings

I start my mornings off like anyone else – tired and groggy with crusty eyes and bad breath. I know that’s pretty TMI, but I felt like you guys needed to know that I don’t wake up ready to go by any means. IMG_1716After I do the normal waking-up things (bathroom, phone, etc.), I make a cup of coffee (because duh) and drink it on the way to the gym (where I enjoy a nice mediocre workout). I’ve been trying to up my gym game recently, but it’s been really difficult to even get out of bed on cold mornings let alone motivate myself to leave the house before 6AM to get in an above-average workout.

After the gym, I have to get to work where I answer phone calls and complete inter-office projects for other people. I actually don’t mind customer service, and it gives me time to work on Gray Graphics stuff when I’m not on the phone or otherwise engaged. Speaking of working on Gray Graphics stuff – this is usually about the time when I’ll pull up my IMG_1712Google calendar and make sure I’m aware of any appointments or to-dos that I’ve listed there. If there are to-dos dealing with my marketing strategy, I’ll take care of them right away. A growing business is a marketed business (and vice versa). “Working on Gray Graphics stuff” usually entails checking/updating all of my social media accounts, glancing at my website to test out the newest links and make sure everything works, writing/scheduling blog posts for the week/month, looking through the giant white Gray Graphics binder, and editing pictures. This last thing is very time-consuming but so satisfying!

The Afternoons

Most of the time, I will work myself all the way into the afternoons which is when I’ll put aside Gray Graphics for about an hour (’cause a girl’s gotta eat!). AfterIMG_0007 lunch, I head to my second job where I’m the head instructor/administrator at a tutoring company. I have way less free time to work on Gray Graphics stuff at this job, so I usually see a lot less (if any at all) of my giant business organization binder in the afternoons/evenings. I don’t mind that because I honestly love being the head instructor at this place; I’m good at what I do there, and I feel needed there. I would definitely rather work for myself, but hey! You gotta do what you gotta do, and I gotta pay for a wedding somehow!

The Evenings

I don’t get off of my second job until some time between 7:30 and 9 o’clock at night. I know that’s a pretty extreme variance in time, but it depends on how much stuff I have to do. I almost always go home around 8 or 8:30. Once I get back home, I usually change into more comfortable clothes (AKA sweat pants because I just don’t care and I’m at home so don’t judge me). Dinner is almost always ready by the time I get home; my fiance and I live with his parents until after the wedding, and his mom makes dinner so that I can eat it when I get home. Because she’s a really nice lady! 🙂

IMG_0039After dinner, I do some more Gray Graphics work – check on social media updates I’ve gotten throughout the day, edit IMG_0040more pictures, fine-tune the blog or website, enter some financial data, etc. I try to schedule in some me-time somewhere to read a book or do some journaling because otherwise I would go crazy. There are a lot of things to do when you own a business, and it never lightens up. There’s always tomorrow’s to-do list, which I actually really enjoy. It never gets boring.

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Even though my life is pretty hectic – I have two jobs to pay my bills and take care of my wedding PLUS I own Gray Graphics – I wouldn’t have it any other way… Okay, that’s not entirely true. I would love to just be able to focus on my business, but that’s not in the cards for me yet. And that’s totally fine! I’m young; I’ll figure it out! 🙂

The 16 Bad Habits I Wish I Could Kick

  1. Forgetting to call my family members every week
  2. Not waking up excited to start my day
  3. Doubting my creative and talent-driven abilities
  4. Wondering why I’m alive
  5. Worrying about things prematurely
  6. Wishing I were thinner
  7. Wishing I were prettier
  8. Believing that others dislike me
  9. Getting annoyed over small things
  10. Bottling up my emotions
  11. Not writing every day
  12. Not photographing every day
  13. Watching Netflix when I’m supposed to grind
  14. Working too much/too hard
  15. Filtering everything that comes out of my mouth or out of my mind/onto the page because I’m so worried that no matter what I say people will think I’m stupid or irrelevant so I don’t say anything and then I become even more depressed/anxious which makes me repeat habits 1-14
  16. Overthinking

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The 7 New Habits I’m Trying To Form

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Goals for Gray Graphics

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I recently had to sit down and come up with a business plan – a plan of attack outlining how, why, and for whom I will run my business. In that plan, I had to include information like goals and mission/vision statements. The whole process made me take a look at what I want Gray Graphics to become and how I want it to function, and I wrote up some clear-cut goals that I would like to share with you all today.

Vision Statement (abridged because that thing was LONG!):

In the next year, I will be a professional photographer with at least one client lined up every month and making good money doing what I love.

In the next three years, I will have an assistant or “ghost photographer” who can appreciate my art and will help me keep up with myself.

In the next five years, I will be a transient photographer who also has her own studio. The assistant I mentioned will have multiplied to two assistants, and I will be thriving in my industry.

Mission Statement (again – abridged):

I am a creative. My business functions in the same way – as a resource for anyone seeking photography, graphic design, or writing services (creative services).

My business is for anyone looking to capture life’s fleeting moments – for those who understand the value of images and what messages they present.

My business exists to satisfy my creative mind and to help others realize the creativity all around them in life – through photos and the written word, my clients can experience the wonderful lives they lead in new ways.

Specific Goals to Make Things Happen This Year:

  1. Work for at least 15 paid clients before November of 2018
  2. Make at least $500 each month from photography
  3. Buy a new and updated camera and accessories kit
  4. Buy new and updated camera equipment (tripod, light box, lenses, etc)

I know that not everything I set my mind to is going to happen, and that’s alright. It’s going to take me a while to get used to being in charge of something so adult-ish, so it’s alright if I don’t manage to accomplish all of my goals. What I can’t do though is give up. I refuse to do that.