I hardly post my beloved „Mentoring Sessions" here on the blog, but I promised myself to get better on that, because I always enjoy meeting the most intriguing people and talking with them about the most interesting topics - so it's definitely worth sharing. This week I had the great pleasure of meeting Steffi, and I was extremely touched and moved. I even cried, and usually I only cry when watching movies like „An affair to remember" or "Titanic" :).
Steffi's mentoring session was a birthday gift from her best friend Susi. When I met these two darling girls, I was so touched when I realized what they mean to each other, how much they love and respect each other, and it reminded me that a best friend is the best and most precious thing in life. When I told Susi that I am so impressed by her gift and that Steffi must really mean a lot to her, she responded (also in tears) that Steffi is the best thing that ever happened to her and that she is so very grateful for having her as a friend, because she loves and appreciates her just the way she is - with all her flaws and weaknesses.
Well, now I was definitely curious to get to know Steffi better and finding out why she is such a precious and special person. Our mentoring session started the usual way. Steffi wanted to bring her photography skills to the next level, asked all kinds of photography-related questions as she's still struggling with switching from automatic to manual mode. After we talked a lot about technical stuff, I told Steffi that in my opinion photography is not about technique, but the heart and eye of the photographer. Seeing beauty .... and showing it to people is the key. It's all about the right attitude. YOUR attitude. Steffi's response made me cry. She said that she can see beauty, but sometimes it's tough, especially when people are mean to her. Mean to her? Mean to this beautiful, very shy, but lovable young woman?? When I shook my head in total disbelief, she told me a sad story.
I have found that some people love to stir the pot and create trouble. We cannot control how other people treat us in life. We can only control how we react to it. Reacting nice when someone is mean to us is tough and takes tremendous self-control and self-discipline.
There are two things I believe in. First: Karma. What goes around, comes around. What you put out comes back to you. I believe that everyone will have a time when they are called accountable for the way they treated others. Secondly: Taking the higher road. With that I mean NOT lashing back or fighting fire with fire (eye for an eye). By doing so we become no different than them. Instead trying to being nice to them. This will not make it hurt less, BUT at least we will not lose our own integrity. Instead, we will feel good about ourselves. Because we will be also one of those people who will be held accountable for how we treated others. The meanness of mean people says more about them than it does us. „Hurt people hurt people". But we always have a choice. We have the choice to lash back or to take the higher road.
I gave Steffi a job assignment when she left, and now I can't wait to hear back from her and whether it worked. :)
Here's to taking the higher road! And if you made it until here, please let me know. Because I owe you a cappuccino with double espressi - at the least! Mwuahaha! Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! Tomorrow we'll be celebrating Theo's birthday with a big sports event, and on Sunday I am meeting one of my oldest and closest and bestest friends in beautiful Baden-Baden.
Anja is one of the most thoughtful, sweet and beautiful women I know and an absolute pleasure to be around. When she came to Stuttgart for another mentoring session - and another round of Hugos and Donuts, which obviously makes the learning experience so much for fun ;-) - we, among lots of other things, talked about how to act in a difficult shooting situation where you have poor light and a poor background (hence we snuck into the backyard of the Donut shop). We also talked about „the moment". As one of my favorite photographers, Joe Buissink, once said: „A good photographer knows how to capture the moment and the essence of the person in these moments." The photography industry is a competitive field and a rapidly expanding one with more photographers getting into the business than ever before. It's not just about getting the „great moments" shots. It also involves long hard work, artistic talent in quite several genres, good people skills, extensive knowledge in your gear, and business savvy. Anja has beautiful talent behind the camera, but also in front of it - she makes a darling model. Please enjoy a few images of this cute girl and have a lovely Wednesday!
When Jennifer came to Stuttgart for a three-hour-mentoring session with me, I was surprised that she hadn't brought the „typical" list of photography-related questions" along. Instead she told me that her photography business was going really well, maybe going too well, so that she's now worrying and questioning how to achieve a work-life balance. Jennifer has two adorable daughters aged 4 and 2. She told me that she constantly feels overwhelmed and that juggling work - life - family - and all the other stuff is getting much harder. Her daughters need and want more from her in ways that she loves, but it also makes her feel more torn. Her client base is growing which is awesome, but saying no seems harder than ever. Her kids are in kindergarten in the morning which makes her a part-time working mom with a full-time job. Of course, that math doesn't work out, which makes her working around the clock, and in the evenings until Midnight and later. Jennifer told me that the worst part of everything is feeling guilty all the time. I told Jennifer that this all sounds VERY familiar. Years ago I had even bought two books about this topic „a work-life-balance" to figure it all out.
The only thing I figured out over the years is that there is no such thing as a balance. Balance would mean that everything is working perfectly the way it should. Everything important in your life should be satisfied in an equal way. For a working Mom, life rarely works like this. Every day brings a new set of challenges. It is basically an unattainable goal. So instead of thinking to find balance with everything in my life, I now try to „making it work". At the end of the day it is important that we enjoy the journey, and that we remind ourselves of how astonishing all our little and big accomplishments within our family life or in business are which one day will go out in the world and make some kind of impact.
Spring is here! Go out and play and enjoy! xoxo
A couple of weeks ago, my wonderful mentee Lea had her second mentoring session with me. Last time she came as „stranger", this time she came back as a „friend". And she brought tons of new questions. One of her questions wasn't very photography specific, but more about work-life-balance.
There isn't probably a woman alive who doesn't have more demands on her time than the hours to meet them. Recently I read an interesting article that stated that women who juggle multiple roles (as mother, wife, worker, friend) tend to be happier than those who don't. Although 90 % of the women reported time pressures, 75 % of them also said they would enjoy their busy life. But there's such a thing than being too busy. The danger lies not in the busyness itself, but in being busy with the wrong things. Sometimes we are so busy with the musts and shoulds that we never actually get to the wants. Sometimes we are so busy with other people's priorities that we lose sight of our own. The lesson is: It's our time, our life. How do we want to spend it?
Hope you get to spend most of this week with all your "wants". :) Have a wonderful Monday, everyone!
It's this time of the year where I love giving mentoring sessions, meet wonderful people, and have a good cup of coffee :). My lovely mentee Anja came all the way from Nürnberg with a big smile in her face, and a big open heart ready to learn. Anja bought herself a Canon 550D in March, the 50 mm prime lens and a wide angle zoom. She is really eager to take her photography knowledge to the next level and take the plunge going from automatic to manual. Having four beautiful models at home that range from two to twelve, Anja was especially interested in children photography. She's got definitely the „eye" and a beautiful vision, so she just needed a little help with understanding exposure, the ISO's, shutterspeeds and apertures. I think we covered that pretty well.
Anja is one talented girl, I absolutely adore her. She takes beautiful, vivid pictures full of love and emotion, and she's a true sewing queen. When she gave me that beautiful camera strap, I almost fell off my chair, when I heard she made it herself! With things like that you can easily impress me, cause unfortunately, my fingers are all thumbs! :(
We also talked about post processing in Photoshop, the endless possibilities and gazillion trends, and that there is an increasing opinion among photographers worldwide to go back to natural, classic and timeless images. To get a properly exposed shot already in camera, and do as little photoshop and post processing as necessary, just a clean, simple, classic editing. I think it takes years to find your own style that truly reflects you and you feel comfortable with. Sometimes, when I look back at my work, I cringe. I, too, have followed almost every trend out there, so I am guilty as charged. But my firm believe is that years down the road, you just want natural, classic and timeless images. I still love mine a bit saturated, at the end of the day, art is always a matter of taste.
Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!