This is a collection of some of my favorite costume-based and/or Halloween themed photo shoots. And a little about my story of becoming a photographer.
I enrolled in The New York Institute of Photography portrait photography program back in 2005. I had never picked up a camera before. I immediately enjoyed it, but felt like I wasn’t very good. And I wasn’t. I hadn’t learned anything yet.
At that time in my life I had some incredibly difficult things going on. In short, my marriage was a wreck and I hated myself. I was terribly insecure. It was very hard for me to have enough faith in myself to recognize anything good. And that extended to my efforts in photography (Isn’t it interesting how when we are critical about ourselves we see our work with the same critical eye?!).
I didn’t give myself the grace or space to learn.
I had three years to finish the course and took the whole three years. In fact, I had decided not to finish, even though I was almost done. I just didn’t think I was worthy of being called a photographer; I couldn’t see myself getting any better; and I simply didn’t have the energy. I had my self-hate and my failing marriage consuming most of my reserves. Finishing my photography education was the bottom rung of the ladder.
But ultimately, I decided to finish the course. Part of what made me finish (I’m embarrassed to admit) was the fact that I had decided to compete in a beauty pageant and I thought I should have some education on my application (you can read about my crazy pageant experience while hating myself in my book The Love Yourself Dare). So I completed the course.
The combination of completing the course and competing in a pageant helped me start gaining some confidence in myself. So I actually started a photography business! Sadly, the whole time I had my business I felt like a fraud. I was scared. I didn’t feel good enough. But people still hired me, nonetheless.
Because of some deepening complications in my first marriage, after a year-and-a-half of shooting, I decided to close my photography business. It was both the right and the wrong decision. I knew I would need a business in the future because my marriage was derailing at an alarming rate and I would probably end up having to support myself, but because there were some sticky details and very real reasons for me to give it up, I did. But that backfired because my husband sold my camera gear behind my back (this detail is not meant to disparage him, he simply had issues back then that he couldn’t address. I have forgiven, and we are on great terms now). The point is, I was no longer able to shoot. That one decision to pause ended up stopping my progression as a photographer.
In an interesting twist of fate, my first husband and I separated three times over the next year. He bought me a lower-end professional camera as a peace offering. Of course, I took it (even if begrudgingly)! And I have been shooting with that same camera ever since. However, I took a pause from everything creative for about 6.5 years while going through some pretty crazy challenges. I only picked up my camera once in a while during that time.
I just began shooting again, and have some fun photo shoots planned. I enjoy taking pictures, I enjoy being creative, and I can always learn and improve my skills. And that’s exciting!
Some more photos: