What I would say to my 16-year-old self

I absolutely adore blogging pictures of all my amazing clients every Monday, but today, we are going to look behind the scenes. Waaaayyy behind the scenes, as in, 8 years ago.

This is 16-year-old Keilah. Blonde hair, glasses, and full of excitement to grow up.
I had started taking pictures with the family camera that year. My world was school-babysit-photography. I checked out every book from the library about lighting, camera equipment, and photography, and I photographed everything I could get my hands on.

This is the first picture I ever took that made me fall in love with this art. In-camera selective coloring, shot in Auto mode, and absolutely perfect. 😉 I printed it, placed it in a giant 8×10 frame, and sent it off to the community art fair. I named it “Broken Beauty”, and it won 3rd choice and people’s choice. The prize was my first ever award ribbons, and a $12 McDonalds coupon.  I was so proud I kept this up in my room for YEARS.

Looking back I almost cringe. Almost. I feel like I could have, and should have, done so much better at that age. But I didn’t. One of the biggest journeys of my life started that year and the ride has been amazing.  Even though the start was rough, I look at where I am now and I wouldn’t change a single thing.

If I could go back to 16-year-old Keilah and tell her 2 things, here’s what I would say.

“1. First of all, girl, you need to prepare. You need to prepare for great things to happen. Read, educate yourself, buy mentors a coffee and ask them a million questions. Prepare for greatness, don’t be afraid. Value your work. Shoot for free to learn, but don’t give away yourself. There are times to learn, and times to get out of your comfort zone and charge more than you think you should. Your time is worth it.

2. KILL the jealousy, oh my goodness. I know exactly how you feel. The friends who take pictures and are growing faster than you. It hurts so bad. When you are intimidated, angry, or just jealous, say out loud “Good for her.” RELEASE yourself from the burden of comparison. No one can do you better than you. Focus on what makes you different. I know that you trust God’s timing, so you need to trust His writing of your life, too. I promise you won’t be disappointed.  ”

Looking back over the last 8 years of my life, I am amazed. I mean, I was so worried about my future. I didn’t value the time it took to get here. I know that right now is not where I want to stop, but just LOOK. I met the most amazing man on the planet, and we get to travel the world together. Fixing hotel WiFi and taking pictures of beautiful people. I have a beautiful home, an amazing love story, and a sparkly future. The road was rocky, but the view is worth it.

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