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Thick Skin | Business

Here it is, 1:40am on a Friday night and I am writing a blog when I should be sleeping. However, I couldn't go to bed without pouring my heart out first. 

When I started my business, I promised that I would always be transparent and open. Being transparent and open sometimes leaves us feeling vulnerable and naked but the healing process from it by just releasing what's there is so worth it. Which is what I'm doing tonight. I didn't think I would write about this. In fact, when it happened, I forgave and let go but the message was still stuck in my heart to share. I'm hoping that someone who reads this benefits from it because I  feel strongly this is why I couldn't just go to sleep with it on my heart.

No matter if you're an entrepreneur, a direct sales person, working for a company, a student, a child, or just an every day person... you will receive feedback in your life from those around you. Whether it's requested feedback like I ask for from clients so I can keep my business ethics in check, or maybe it's a career review for a promotion, or it could be a school evaluation from your teacher. We all face it. No matter what we're doing in life, there's always what my mother calls "the peanut gallery" that offers their opinion of who you are, what you're doing and how you're doing it right or wrong.

For my business, I do this twice a year. I reach out to my amazing clients and followers / supporters and I request they fill out a survey. Within this survey, there are several questions that challenge and evaluate how I am as a business owner. Am I effectively helping my clients when they book and after? Am I helping them to feel comfortable during their session? Did I make them feel welcome? Does my website and online presence help to make them feel empowered as women since this is what I specialize in? There are plenty of questions on there, a rating system for them to rate my performance and even areas where they can offer their own feedback and comments. 

Before I release these to the public for filling out, I pray and I ask that God reminds me to take each and every one with an open mind and open heart. I mentally prepare myself for the worst and pray for the best. Now, I'm going to be honest here.. there are some reviews that I receive that make me cringe because I do feel as though I let that client down or that I dropped the ball in some way. But you know what that means? It means I am 1. a human; not a machine and I do and will continue to make mistakes but, most importantly, 2. it means there's room for improvement and that's what I work towards. Improving my business for my clients and for myself. I am a firm believer that a business should never stop growing, should never stop learning and should never stop trying to find new ways to improve the overall experience for their clients. So I welcome the feedback; good or bad, with an open heart and open mind.

But every so often, there's someone who slips through the cracks and steps away from trying to be helpful towards your business and just wish to cause harm to you, directly. Sometimes, they use your request for feedback as a chance to speak or they attack you out of no where, without reason.

I mention this because... the truth is, not everyone wants to see you happy and not everyone wants to see you grow or succeed. There are people who go through things and their only release is to make others feel the way that they do. There are people who generally just complain. There are people who are very hard to please, no matter what is done for them. There are people who will lie for their benefit if it means they can be the victim in a situation. The list goes on and the "reasons" add up but does that make them right? Absolutely not.

This is where being true to yourself and knowing your purpose comes in. You see, God gave me a ministry through my photography business. It may not be a ministry like many would think, but He entrusted a gift in my spirit to help women who are dealing with low self confidence or just women in general who are in a place in their lives and need a pick me up. With that, comes great responsibility and often times, attacks. It's a double edged sword, truly. There are many, many clients I can reach and help and then there are some that I cannot because there's something greater they're dealing with than what I am capable of helping with. There are some followers who lash out when they see others happy and often times, they're a friend or family member of my client; which is sad to witness. There have been comments I've had to delete, messages I've had to ignore and people I've had to block - all in the calling for what I do. And I'm ok with carrying that through. Especially if it means my clients are happy!

But I'm not going to lie.. there are times when it hurts. Whether the attacks are towards me or a client messages me and tells me that a family member hurt them with comments. Those things aren't ok for anyone to have to deal with but we do. And I'm sure as you're reading this, you're probably able to think of someone in your life or that has crossed your path that has done this to you. So what do you do with that? 

I'm no expert in the matter for sure and I definitely have my days where I just sit and get emotional over the hurtful things that are said with intentional harm meant.. but, then I clean myself up and move on. My advice to you?

1. You control what you take in and what you breathe out. It's that simple. No matter what is said to you, you CAN control what you'll take in for your benefit and greater cause and just the same, you can choose what to ignore. Negativity in the heart starts like a rash. The more you scratch at it, the further it spreads. So the best thing to do? Acknowledge that it hurt, add some healing to it with reminding yourself of who you are and then move on. Breathe it out.

2. Utilize the block feature. This includes family and close friends. Seriously. There have been many times I've had to simply forego responding to a message or criticism and just utilize the block feature. Now, clearly, this doesn't work in life (unfortunately lol) but you can choose to rid them from your presence by simply staying away. Toxic relationships can come from anywhere; strangers, parents, co-workers, bosses, interns, etc. and it's not fair to you or to them to keep that relationship open for communication. Shut it down; fast.

3. Cry it out. Really. There have been many nights (tonight being one of them for me) where you just have to allow yourself to be a human and FEEL emotion. So why hold it in? It's ok to be strong and tough, but remember that bottling up emotions can lead to so many bigger problems than you could ever imagine. They don't stay bottled up. They seep out into other areas and soon we find ourselves lashing out at others for what someone else has done to us. So go ahead! Cry it out if you have to but don't allow yourself to fall victim to it. There's a big difference. Get the emotions out and then let them go. Sometimes after a good cry, I remind myself of why I even started doing what I do. Soon, things come back into perspective and I'm back on my feet.

4. Journal the good. This one is so important. Whenever you receive a compliment or positive feedback, find somewhere to journal it. Even if it was a random woman in Target that looked at you and said "I love your style!" .. journal it. I have journals on top of journals to remind myself of the good things God has done in my life and of the amazing things I've encountered. Whenever I begin to doubt or I allow myself to fall victim to something, I open up the journals and I begin reading, line by line, the good things that have happened. Suddenly, this one bad comment, review, critique, what have you.. it doesn't seem quite so big any longer. In fact, it doesn't seem to matter much anymore at all.

So this is my prayer - I pray that you do not find yourself in this situation.. the one that I was in tonight, where someone intentionally caused harm with their words for no reason at all... but if you do, I pray that you'll remember this blog and you'll know what to do. I pray that you'll be reminded of all of the amazing things you have done and encountered. And mostly, I pray that you'll hear that still small voice reminding you of just why you were created. <3

Happy Saturday, friends.

Tip Tuesday 5.17 | Vision of Rose Photo

Summer is ALMOST here, even if it doesn't feel like it on days like today! On this rainy Tuesday, I want to share some tips with you about shooting in bright sunlight. This is one of the most frequent issues many photographers run in to who message me; 

"How do I keep my subjects from turning GREEN in the summer sunlight!?" OR "How do I fix their green skin?"

This one for me was the most tricky to figure out. I mean, just take a look at some of my old work below:

I know! Try not to shudder at everything wrong with it. This was from my start out days. Try and focus on the skin. lol 

Figuring out skin tones and how to keep them from going yellow or green in the summertime was difficult and I see many photographers who struggle with this. So how do you avoid it? Do you just skip shooting around greenery during the summertime like it's the plague!? I mean.. you could but, I do not think your greenery-loving clients would be too thrilled. 

Here's a few simple tips to keep your skin tones in check in the summer when you're shooting around greenery:

1 - Educate your client! This may seem like a no-brainer, BUT! If you are not educating your clients on what to wear to their portrait sessions, you are doing yourself and your clients a great disservice. If your clients are adamant about shooting in a park or a place where there's lots of greenery, you'll need to educate them on what to wear. Some colors to definitely avoid? Greens, yellows and solid white! Now, these colors can absolutely be pulled off during the right hour - GOLDEN HOUR. However, golden hour doesn't always fit into everyone's schedule. So avoid those colors all together when prepping your clients for their session.

2 - White Balance. By now, if you're shooting in manual, you should also be in control of your white balance. Typically, I shoot with my white balance set to Shade or Cloudy to give my photos an extra boost of a golden glow. However, if I am shooting in brighter sunlight or near greenery, I flip my switch either to Sunlight or my custom setting if it's still super bright. If you're not familiar with custom white balance settings, the way I found my "sweet-spot" was I went out at different times in the day, around greenery, and I played around with my white balance settings until I felt comfortable with what I had. Now, there are easier methods, such as using a white/grey card to balance it, but, I learn how to control my settings much better through trial and error.

3 - Step AWAY from the greenery! Ok, but really. If you or your client are absolutely 100% dead-set on shooting around greenery in the day time, avoid standing directly under or near the greenery. Well.. other than the grass, of course! Pull your clients away from the trees or bushes where the leaves are over-casting onto their skin. This may seem like a simple fix, but, it is one of the most difficult to remember when in the middle of a session. Especially when we find that *ONE* gorgeous tree that we just HAVE to shoot underneath. You know what I'm talking about!

So, what happens if after following ALL of these steps, you get home and your clients STILL have a green overcast? Well, I'm sorry.. but tough luck. 

Ok, not really. I'm kidding! It's a simple fix in Photoshop or Lightroom (or whichever other program you use). Think about color balance and remember this simple trick:

To take away YELLOW -> add MAGENTA and/or BLUE

To take away GREEN -> add CYAN and/or RED

It's that simple! Now, each photo will take some time to find the perfect balance and you may have to erase some of the correction off of your surrounding greenery, but it is definitely a fixable situation to where you don't have to deliver Hulk-like images to your clients.

Take a look at a before and after below showing how I corrected my client's skin tone:

My client had gorgeous, freshly tanned skin but you definitely could NOT tell it in the first photo. For this fix, I took away the yellow by adding some magenta and I removed the green by adding cyan, I then erased some of the corrected tone away from the rest of the image so everything could balance out.

So there you have it! I truly hope this helps and if you ever need anything at all, you're always welcome to email me with your questions to info@visionofrosephoto.com or drop your question below and I'll answer it during our next Tip Tuesday post!

Also! If you'd like further help, I have MENTORING sessions available for some one on one help, OR you can register for my upcoming workshop: MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM which is coming up in August! 

Take care and happy Tuesday, friends!!