My God, 2018 is already over and we are solidly 3 days into 2019. These past few weeks have been a crazy hectic time with Christmas and New Years. I really wanted to get this out before the end of the year but oh well things happen hahaI’ll be splitting my New Year’s post into 2, one for 2018 and tomorrow’s post is gonna be about 2019.
I’ll be showing yall some of my favorite photos from 2018 in both posts so keep an eye out!
I started 2018 with so much uncertainty. In October of 2017 I got laid off from my job and lasted a week at an agency that ended up firing me for being gay right before the holidays. I remember praying for a new start in my career, for a stable job, and some kind of consistency.
In February, my friend Linh from LinhWinn hit me up to go to a Nike x Revolve event to cheer me up from the job hunt. We had a long, long, long talk after the event about my future and she encouraged me to pick photography back up. I was so scared of the prospect of doing freelance because I was so used to working in an office setting and having structure to my life. I knew I’d be throwing all that out the window if I chose to be a freelancer. But she told me “You’re currently at rock bottom, you’re nearly broke, you’re not landing as many interviews as you need, and you’ve been job hunting for nearly 4 months. Right now, anything is a step up from where you are now, so why not just give it a shot?”
And really, the only way from where I was was up. To be honest, the thought energized me and brought new life to an otherwise dreary existence. That night I decided to forgo my job hunt, I shut down all of my job search tabs on my laptop and replaced them with photography tutorials, hitting up old blogger friends to test shoot with, and planning out my next steps. I landed a side job working for Doordash to cover my bills and I made plans for my future. I gave myself 9 months. Yes, 9 months to make any sort of progress in my photography journey. Either I had to improve my craft significantly, or I had to start making money off of my work; not a lot, just something to show that my photography had value that translated to paying my bills. 9 months, I felt was ample enough time to at least get my foot out the door with my career.
That weekend, one of my really good friends messaged me asking me to go with her to Paris as her photographer. I was shook, I had 1 month to essentially relearn all of the photography skills I had lost in the 2 years I stopped shooting after college. Not to mention to insane amount of saving I had to do in the short amount of time I was given before the trip. “Eye of the Tiger kept playing in my head throughout the month as I prepared for the trip. I shot my friends at every second I could spare to practice. I was moodboarding, gathering inspiration, basically absorbing as much information as I could.
The end of March rolled around and I went on my first international trip in my life. Paris was nothing short of the most amazing experience I could ever had imagined. There were a lot of bumps on the road, but overall, I had such an incredible time and I cannot wait to go back to this amazing city to shoot again. It was literally everything I could have hoped for and more. <3
By the summer, I was already beginning to get my first paid clients! I was shocked I was able to start making money so soon! I was regularly shooting any and all subject matter I felt like, I was experimenting, learning, absorbing, collaborating and growing. People started noticing my work and I was getting contacted to shoot content creators all over LA. I was confident enough to increase my rates to a comfortable number to support myself and I started bringing in about 25% of my monthly income through my photography work.
At this time I was beginning to get into the groove of things, I established an editing style I loved, I developed a good workflow and I was beginning to get more confident in my work. I had achieved what I had set out to do by 9 months in barely 4.5 months! I was shocked I was able to do the kind of stuff I was able to do.
The fall hit me like a ton of bricks. Although I was happy with my new workflow and the new room I moved into to save money, I spiraled into a horrible season of depression. Not to put a damper on an otherwise good year, but the reality of life is that every up season has a down season. I was really unhappy and things got really dark. I couldn’t really figure out what was wrong with me, everything was going well for me so logically I should be happy, but I wasn’t. I was struggling in my love life, my finances were in shambles, and everything felt completely disorganized. I felt like I was living every day just to survive to the next and it wassn’t how I wanted to live my life anymore.
Perhaps with the beginning of the new year, this fresh start I can have will mark the beginning of me healing and working towards a brighter future. Stay tuned tomorrow! I’m gonna talk about the big plans I have for this year!