Photography · Practice · Vision

Cleaning the Viewfinder

I have my website with a company that offers the ability to add and change things at will without waiting for my webmaster to do it. Today, in addition to changing ALL the fonts (!), I had been tweaking the info on my contact form. 

The item in question was in scheduling a screening call, to see if we clicked, and to make an appointment to meet, so over a calmer, more relaxed time, I could see them, and strategize how to help.  

Just contemplating the sentence that I could not discuss price before I understood the parameters of the project flooded my nervous system with past memories of all the people that had done JUST THAT:

A caller would tell me the bare bones of a project, then immediately ask how much it would cost.  Or not tell me very much at all, and make the give-and-take of a conversation as painful as pulling teeth.

Maybe they weren’t serious and wouldn’t follow through, but I would feel that I had mishandled an opportunity to work with someone who had called me.

That frustrating kind of conversation suddenly seemed like a perfect metaphor for the way I felt people were seeing me and my work,

and filled me with such a sudden, heated surge of memory, I had to step away from the computer until I cooled down.

The inner movie kept playing, negative experience after experience.

These images were obviously something that I had pushed into my subconscious, and blindsided me for a bit, but instead of giving in to the part of me that wanted to let them all ‘talk to the finger,’

I let myself finally feel all these emotions,

and with my intuition as my guide, began to investigate with curiosity and a willingness to be conscious to what I had been doing.

The common thread that ran through all of these incidents was a lack of boundaries and ‘backbone’;

Giving in on price and taking less (sometimes a lot less) than I asked for.

Being wobbly on policies that were important to me.

Letting myself be pushed around by bold or aggressive clients.

Letting my easy-going nature be misinterpreted as weakness.

The lack of resolve has been reflecting itself in the work of the past years, and influencing my inner confidence in the current stages of moving forward.  

I am in a profession I love, and I want to continue to be in a profession I love.

So it is my responsibility to keep searching out the gaps in my protocols and policies, and strengthen them so that hidden feeling does not steal joy and cause me to become cynical or embittered. 

Though these things have indeed happened, each step today becomes the next one tomorrow.  I saw that my part in this is slower & more connected communication. 

To not be rushed or in a hurry to close the deal.

To know that not everyone who wants my work is my ideal client. 

To know my ‘deal-breakers’ and be able to stick to them.  To listen to my gut.

And keep a regular practice of self-examination and ‘dusting the cobwebs’ that build up in the corners

so I am able to be ready, whatever happens, with clean sensors in my cameras

– and in me.


Dorothy Perry is a Chicago portrait photographer specializing in custom family portraits, modern headshots, & personal branding for women and executives.

 Contact her studio for commissioned work here.

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