“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” This quote, by Mother Teresa, is one of my favorites. All too often, I have nagging thoughts that I am only one person, and that I cannot make a difference. Perhaps that is true, but this quote reminds me that I don’t have to do big things to make a difference. Doing small, everyday things with great love can make a difference.
That’s what I’m hoping to do with my photography. As I mentioned in my last post, the desire to serve others is leading me to make some important changes to my business and to my work. And as I work through these changes, and the ideas and plans that come to mind each day, one thing remains the same. I want to serve women.
This has always been a constant for me. While I have always been open to photographing and teaching both genders, I am consistently drawn to connecting and giving to women. The reasons are countless, but the foundation of my new plans are based on these three points.
Every woman knows that her family is the most special, that her children are the most beautiful, her sisters the most fabulous, her girlfriends the most amazing. And I would go so far as to say that every woman should have tangible reminders of that.
Think back to your college days. All of us ladies had our walls covered with photos of our besties, of our sisters and brothers, of our special people. Framed or not, taped up on cinder block walls, the faces of our loved ones reminded us of our blessings and made our dorm rooms our “happy place”. Meanwhile the guys had posters of professional athletes, or movies, or even posters of their favorite beers. No photos, no framed memories. No way.
We women have always treasured visual reminders of the ones we love. And I love providing that for women everywhere. But my eyes have been opened to the reality that not every woman can afford the luxury of beautiful portraits of her loved ones. And that’s not ok. This is one small thing I can do with great love.
Deciding to provide more women with portraits of their loved ones, whether they can afford it or not- it kind of flies in the face of everything I learned about business. I’ve been reading and hearing for years that the secret to a successful business is to create a “boutique experience”, to keep the volume of clients low, and the prices high, because if your work is good, and the experience is customized and luxurious, you’ll find that target market that can afford it and will pay for it.
This might be the secret to some kind of “successful” business, but my ideas of success have changed.
My vision of success includes reaching more women everywhere, providing an opportunity for all women to enjoy the experience of creating beautiful memories with her loved ones, giving that joy to more women, no matter who they are.
This vision means that I will return to a “shoot and burn” style of photography, where I offer digital files rather than fancy prints, packages, and custom pieces. This will allow me to reduce my prices and photograph more women, moms, and families.
I also plan to get back to my teaching roots, to create a variety of valuable resources (some free, all affordable) to women everywhere so they can use their own cameras and create their own memories every day.
Finally, I would like to offer monthly events where I take a day to donate all of my time and resources to mothers who have never experienced the joy of owning portraits of their children because they have never had the money. More on that to come.
This will all mean much more work for me, but this is what it means to me to do small things with great love. My hope is to provide something tangible to ALL women. Now THAT’S my idea of success.
I have struggled with beauty all of my life, and the older I get, the more I discover that I’m not the only woman who has. It seems we all struggle with it. Some of struggle with weight. Some of us struggle with our skin, or the color of our hair, or our height or the way our shoulders or hips are shaped. Too many of us live with this struggle. And we are all so very beautiful.
I have always wanted to use my photography as some sort of platform to encourage and inspire women to celebrate the beautiful people that they are, but I have often struggled with how to do that. In some ways I am still figuring this out, but my hope is to use this blog and this business of mine to build a community of beautiful women, who come together to encourage each other, and to find support in knowing we do not struggle alone.
I also want to create and teach lessons on how women can benefit from connecting rather than competing, from encouraging rather than envying. I believe women are most beautiful when they are loving others, when they are seeing the beauty in others. We women need to take care of each other. We need to build each other up rather than push each other down. I would like to create a community like that here.
The final piece of this journey involves wanting to serve women of faith. I am a Christian, and some of my best friends are sisters in Christ. But other cherished friends are Jewish, and Muslim, and Buddhist, and some might call themselves agnostic or atheist. I want this space to be for them too.
I am on a journey to seek the truth. For me that means searching the Bible and spending time with my Jesus. It also means loving my neighbors. ALL of my neighbors.
I would like for this space to become a safe place for all voices. In a world where disagreement often means dehumanizing and disparaging words, wouldn’t it be lovely to create a place to speak freely with respect, love, and grace? I would love for this to be a place like that, and so my hope is to serve women of all faiths, colors, and beliefs with love and compassion, and to create an opportunity for other women to do the same.
I would love for you to join me on this journey. Let me serve you. Or come alongside me and serve with me. Together we can do small things with great love.