Portland-Maine-Newborn-Photographer-Tiffany-Farley, http://tiffanyfarley.comP i n

A Letter to the Brand New Mama

Exhausted beyond description. As overwhelmed as you are overjoyed. Entirely elated. And entirely emotional about EVERYTHING.

Perhaps fearful that you’re already doing it wrong. That you won’t be enough for her. That you won’t be enough for him.

Perhaps feeling guilty that you aren’t sliding into this new lifestyle as quickly or as easily as you thought you would, because truthfully it’s nothing at all like what you expected. Or what you were told. Or what you prepared for. Or how it was for her.

Andrea 010P i nPerhaps you are already feeling left out. Feeling stuck at home, while at the same time desiring to go no where at all. Caught in the tension of what your days must look like now. Quietly comparing your motherhood to hers.

Perhaps disappointed in the honesty of admitting this is nothing like your Pinterest board. Dreams of perfectly folded linens now overshadowed with crumpled piles of used burp cloths both clean and used, and more laundry than you ever thought possible to accumulate.

Portland Maine Black and White Film Newborn Photographer Tiffany Farley, http://tiffanyfarley.comP i n

I just wanted to send you a little reminder this morning that you are enough. That you are all she needs. That you are all he needs. And you know what, it may feel scary sometimes. You may doubt your instincts more than you trust them. But you’re doing just fine. You’re going to be just fine.

I often photograph brand new mothers. Each different. Each facing different struggles of a terrifyingly new season. Each facing their own real life version of a life they pinned.

I don’t encourage brand new mothers to be in photographs during this time because your life is perfectly beautiful. You aren’t the focus of my work and the art I create because you have it all together. Or because you’re doing it better than others.
Coastal Maine Newborn Photography by Tiffany Farley, http://tiffanyfarley.comP i nYou’re in these photographs for her. For him. And for you. When you choose to be in the photographs you not only choose what matters most now, but you choose what matters most in 50 years. And honestly folded cream and grey linens have nothing to do with that story. 
Portland Maine Newborn Photographer Tiffany Farley, http://tiffanyfarley.comP i nI have never photographed a mother with her baby, brand new or years old, who has ever expressed her sincere regret. Who wished she didn’t have that black and white photograph of the two of them. Those cherished portraits of her motherhood.

I have however, met many women who regretted their choice of saying no. So many stories of mothers I have met, who said they wish they knew then just how much they would change if they could go back. Who vulnerably shared that they felt too overwhelmed to even consider professional photographs after their little one was born and now have next to none. Who chose to only photograph their baby, and never any of the two of them, or the three of them as brand new family. Who didn’t feel beautiful enough, or worthy enough to ask for more.

 

Portland Maine Newborn Photographer Tiffany Farley, http://tiffanyfarley.comP i nThis matters. YOU matter. To the story, and to your family. Be in the photographs. 

At the past two Creative at Heart conferences, I have had the privilege of hearing Natalie Franke present her talk on the brain behind the business. If you have yet to hear this talk, and have any opportunity to do so, I can’t recommend it enough. I have heard it twice, and would gladly learn from it again, as each time I walked away with powerful realizations about my brand and business- and the things that I needed to let change.

Even in the smallest summary, I couldn’t do her brilliant content justice. But one part has stuck out to me the most, and that is the importance of consistently showing your face in your brand, and it’s direct correlation to how it builds trust with your potential clients. How it builds community. How it creates loyalty. How it makes others feel a part of something.

Now, there are definitely different opinions of this when it comes to the creative industry- because not every successful photographer has a “personal brand”. There are many photographers that I follow who never show their face, or incredibly personal posts with the world. They keep it only about their art, and keep their profile a bit mysterious. I guess you can say I tried to land somewhere in between. As an extreme introvert, sharing my face all the time is a struggle for me, but I also feel a sense of community the most when I share my heart and personal thoughts throughout my brand and social media presence.

And while I never stop working to be more skilled in the art I create as a photographer, my vision IS very personal. I create from my own story and how I see the world. I love building personal relationships with my clients, and always want to to see them as a family and not human transactions. And not to say keeping everything about my work is the opposite of any of that, it’s just the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I was trying to have a personal brand..without the person. So often it was creating a disconnect.

I sat in the back of the Creative at Heart Conference last November in Charleston, so tired from a weary season, and the beautiful Krista Jones sat beside me. Of course, I knew who she was, having followed her work for quite some time and having been involved in the Rising Tide Society the few months prior.

Are you Tiffany Farley?” She asked. After replying Yes with nod, she responded with a statement I can still hear in my head, “Oh, ok, Hi! I wasn’t sure what you looked like.”

(face palm)

Why am I sharing all of this? I have felt challenged for months now to put more of me in my brand, without compromising my integrity and values as an artist. To share more personally, without it taking away, but instead adding to my brand. So I am sharing this post for accountability, and to maybe challenge someone else out there. The beautiful thing about the creative industry, is that there is no one right way to make decisions for your business. I hope you never find me sharing from a place that makes you feel like you need to change something, when things are absolutely beautiful the way they are. But I do hope that if you were struggling with this idea, that it inspires you to let change happen where you need it. To like myself, put insecurities aside, and let people in a bit more.

I’m off to dive into a busy Wednesday in the office, and preparing for an online mentoring session for another photographer who is just getting started. I LOVE to help others and share the lessons I have learned the hard way over the years!

Yarmouth Maine Maternity and Newborn Photographer Tiffany Farley, http://tiffanyfarley.comP i n

Image Photographed by Justin & Mary.

Here’s to letting small changes happen where they need to. 

 

 

Adobe Illustrator Basics Online Course by Elle & CompanyP i n

 Image Created by Elle & Co

Ok, so I’ll be the first to admit that I have often found myself grumbling about the Adobe Creative Cloud, and how annoying it is to have a monthly payment for a software, versus the way it USED to be when you could buy the software and own it. BUT, having the Creative Cloud has a lot of benefits, and it does actually have really good pros that I have come to see as outweighing the cons.

  1. You always have the latest updates to programs like Photoshop right at your fingertips. You used to have to buy that upgrade every time a new release came out.
  2. If your computer dies, like mine did a couple weeks ago, (tears) you don’t lose your Adobe programs with it. When I first started in photography, a family member had an extra installation of their photoshop they weren’t going to use, that they let me download a copy on my computer to get started. But when that first laptop kicked the bucket, because I never owned it, I lost my Photoshop with it. (more tears)
  3. It opened my eyes to the other programs that I honestly probably never would have tried without them being so easily available. I started my Creative Cloud membership with just Photoshop, paying around $20 a month. (the cost of a single app) If InDesign were a $600 or $700 software that I had to buy to even try it and see if I liked it, I probably never would have made that jump! But $20 per month was much more reasonable, and Creative Cloud allowed me to do that easily. I have raved about InDesign for a year now, and how I used to use Photoshop for projects that InDesign was MADE for, and they would take forever and cause me so much frustration. I never once regretted adding InDesign to my Creative Cloud. InDesign was how I was able to easily create and customize my Portrait Session Planning Guide that I print and give to all my clients!

Last year, I gratefully came across the Elle & Co blog, which is truly a resource GOLD MINE for photographers and creative small business owners alike. Her blog posts have taught me about SEO for Squarespace, Increasing Your Blog Traffic, and SO much more. I think I stumbled across her blog in a Google Search, and then I got lost for hours reading and learning SO much free content that she offers. Lauren Hooker, the talent behind the Elle & Co blog, is a GENIUS. I had the honor of meeting her at the Creative at Heart Conference and she is just as sweet in person as she is online.

*Bonus Tip: Yes, attending conferences and workshops in person is often a great investment. Yes, there are a lot of things you can learn online from the comfort of your pajamas for a lesser one, but there is just something magical about being at some of these events- and the connections and relationships that build over a cup of coffee or dinner- I would NEVER have some of the friends in the industry that I do, had I not stepped out and attended things that were bigger than myself. Creative at Heart just opened their Denver registration, and you guys, it is SUCH a well done event. Their leadership team not only keeps every detail beautifully handled for all the attendees, but they are the most genuine of hearts. Don’t miss out!!

Ok, back to Elle & Co. Shortly after finding her blog, I signed up for every way to follow her that I could. Her mailing list has RICH content you guys, and I seriously learn something new every time she posts something. This past fall, she opened up her second Adobe Illustrator Basics online course, and I snagged it right away for a few different reasons- It was affordable, nothing Ell & Co had ever produced for educational content had been disappointing thus far, and I KNEW that I wanted to learn Illustrator but just felt really overwhelmed at the thought of learning a new software on my own. Knowing how to use Illustrator will be SO helpful in my business as I learn to quickly make blog graphics, and a gazillion of other uses. (Because we all know that running a photography business really IS 90% business and 10% actually taking pictures! There are so many other tasks on our plate!)

I admit that I got really busy this past fall, and never started the course. But after having dinner with Lauren at the Creative at Heart Conference, I was reminded that I needed to set time aside for myself to GROW and learn new things. How often do we spend our days in Gmail, and never growing as a business owner??? I want to change that for me!

Because the course included a year of access to the material, I was able to jump right in, and you guys, I am LOVING it and can’t believe I waited so long to start. Her videos are so simple and step by step- and truthfully I felt that just after the first module that I had a good grasp on what makes Illustrator worth investing in. Because I already had Photoshop and InDesign in my Creative Cloud, I was able to upgrade to have have the full creative cloud, giving me access to Illustrator and the full Adobe library for an extra $10 a month. Um, YES please!! 

Her next class starts TOMORROW, so I just had to share with you to consider signing up. If you are wanting the confidence to create the marketing tools, blog icons, and other self-designed graphics to use throughout your brand to make it stand out even more, and to not depend on a hired designer for every little thing, I would consider reserving a seat. If you’re not sure about downloading Illustrator before the class, there is a free trial of Illustrator and other Adobe Cloud Apps HERE!

I can’t wait to dive into the next module already! Learn more about Elle & Co’s Adobe Illustrator Basics Online Course HERE!