What I learned: Month 1.

November 4th was my last day at my job. I made cupcakes for my teammates and gave them all hugs at the end of the day. I left knowing my health insurance was good until December first and after that, I would need to figure out private insurance and how to pay for it. I left knowing my last paycheck would hit my bank account the following Friday and after that, I would need to figure out money. I left knowing nothing much would change in the first few weeks but then that a lot would change very quickly and I would need to figure it out.

The next week was a whirlwind. I had a photography conference followed by two weddings and three family sessions. November was a busy month, but one night, a week before Thanksgiving, I started to panic.

I was laying in bed and my mind started racing. “December first is coming up FAST. Your last check is almost spent. You have weddings booked and some money coming in but you have no idea what’s going to get you through the summer!!” My brain went into full crazy mode presenting every roadblock, every problem, every ounce of doubt.

Then all at once, I realized, none of that has happened yet.

Because the truth was that RIGHT THEN, right that VERY MINUTE, we were all safe. We all had eaten dinner. We all went to bed with the heater turned to the perfect degree of cozy. We all had health insurance. We all had running water, electricity, a working car, and money in the bank. In the morning, Kayden would wake up and go to school, my mom would cook breakfast, I would get on my computer and build a business that had so much of my passion and heart, and if I couldn’t enjoy those days that were absolutely perfect, then what was I doing?

Why would I give up enjoying a perfectly fabulous day in exchange for worrying about a day that might or might not be perfect?

Why would I even bother working for all those things if I couldn’t enjoy them while they were there?

There’s a quote that says: Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.

Whatever is waiting for me tomorrow, good or bad, will be there. I can’t give the beauty of right now away to the unknown of tomorrow.

This month has taught me to live in the moment, to let go of worry, and to have faith that tomorrow will be taken care of because today was.

 


Day 98 is currently reserved for any questions you have throughout the 100 days. To submit a question, please click here!  If you’re interested in supporting this project, please share, PIN and comment! Any other questions, comments or ideas, please feel free to email me at denise(at)denisekaris(dot)com

Denise Karis is a film & digital hybrid wedding photographer based in Phoenix who enjoys musicals, Doctor Who and breakfast burritos. IG @denisekaris

“I get up at 4:30 am to run to a job that I hate. ‘Hate is a strong word’ I think. ‘I know.’ I reply.

She comes into my chat and right away she’s angry. The little icon option turns red with a mad face to alert us: This customer is mad. And it’s my job to fix it. She’s mad because the code for 40% off isn’t working. I look. The item is already 20% off so the code will take 20% more off to bring it to 40% off. She believes this is wrong. It should be 60% off. I explain that discounts won’t stack, it takes the higher of the two promotions. She starts tearing into me.

This is where I live for most of my day.”

This was taken from my super secret diary from an entry written just over a year ago. I felt completely stuck. With the weight of the world on my shoulders, leaving to pursue my dream felt impossible. The problem was, it had felt impossible for nine years. Was it ever going to feel possible?

The answer was no. I was going to have to decide to do the impossible. The good news was, I had already done the impossible.

Eight years prior, I had ended a toxic relationship. My son’s father and I had reached our end and it felt impossible to be a parent on my own. With the end of that relationship, I also had to let go of the idea of a sibling for Kayden. I had to accept that Kayden would be raised in a single parent household. I had to accept that 50% of the household income would disappear. I had to accept that I would somehow have to make up that 50%.

And I did. For eight years I did what I believed to be impossible. It was completely worth it… because in exchange, I had a peaceful household. All the fighting and tension was gone, the walking on eggshells left, and in its place was peace, love, and a tighter budget. It was a trade off.

And eight years later, it was also a trade off.

I sat at lunch one day thinking about all the things I was ALREADY trading in for my reliable paycheck. I was trading in sleep. Waking up at 4:30 am every day. I was trading in 8 hours each day. I was trading in the ability to make Kayden breakfast and get him off to school in the morning. I was trading in my mental health. I had cashed in all my patience for this job and couldn’t take being yelled at anymore. I was trading in my passion… and at the end of my shift, I had so little left to give to my family, let alone to photography. I was trading in time… that thing that life is made of, and you don’t get any more of it no matter how rich or successful you are.

I clocked back in from lunch feeling like a fool. My time with my family, the success of my business, sleep, and mental health, all for a paycheck.

My mind flashed back to eight years earlier: My peace, my sanity, my happiness, my self esteem, Kayden’s peace, and Kayden’s well being, all in exchange for the outward appearance that we were a happy family because there were two parents in the home.

“This is it again. And you can do it because you’ve done it before.”

One of the most powerful keynotes I’ve ever heard was at United three years ago. Mary Marantz told us about her childhood home. A trailer with a dirt floor and a roof that leaked more than it didn’t. She said one day a vehicle pulled up and they brought her a plastic bag. “Put what you want to take with you in this and let’s go.” It was time to move to the next place… wherever that was… and she could take a plastic bag’s worth of her belongings with her. Imagine being a young girl and having to make that decision in only minutes. You can’t stay… you have to go to the next place… but what are you going to take and what are you going to leave? What do you have to leave behind to go to the next place?

I had to leave a reliable paycheck. I had to leave good health insurance. I had to leave amazing friends at work. I had to leave the idea of another child… one that might have looked just like Kayden. I had to leave pride and security and predictability. What do you have to leave behind? What are you currently trading in? What are you getting in exchange? Is it worth it?

The scary part is, you don’t know what that next place holds. The first time, it held peace and love and a home with no eggshell walking. What does it hold this time?

A month ago yesterday, I left that full time job to be a full time photographer, and while I mapped out the first four months pretty perfectly, I have no clue what lies beyond that. I would however like to share with you tomorrow on Day 71 what I’ve learned this last month. I’m grateful you’re here, friends.

Day 98 is currently reserved for any questions you have throughout the 100 days. To submit a question, please click here!  If you’re interested in supporting this project, please share, PIN and comment! Any other questions, comments or ideas, please feel free to email me at denise(at)denisekaris(dot)com

Denise Karis is a film & digital hybrid wedding photographer based in Phoenix who enjoys musicals, Doctor Who and breakfast burritos. IG @denisekaris

You guys, if you’re anything like me, occasionally you will have a mindblowing moment when you realize just how much knowledge is at our fingertips! We have literally every bit of human knowledge in our pockets! At all times! It’s amazing! So to end this last day of my film series, I am leaving you with my favorite articles, videos, and resources that have all helped me immensely with learning film.

1. Loading Film: There are tons out there but D’arcy is my YouTube homegirl, so I’m gonna set you up with this one. Subscribe to her channel too, she has a ton of great resources!

2. Vitor Lindo: This is a three part series and he is extremely thorough on what he carries with him, his gear setup, and then in the third video you follow him through an engagement session. I don’t remember how I found this video a couple of years ago but I’m glad I took the time to watch this series!

3. How to meter for different film stocks: This is another one by D’arcy but SO helpful! I took notes on this video, guys!

4. Chances are, you shoot both film AND digital. Mastin Labs is the best channel you can possibly subscribe to on YouTube and it’s because they’re all about hybrid shooting! This video has helped me so much in learning how to edit film scans!

5. The Find Lab Blog

I am such a Find Lab fan girl and I encourage you to become one too! They cover film shooting from different guest bloggers and also do spotlights on different film stocks and inspiration posts each month. I love this blog because it’s not just one person talking at you, it’s multiple photographers, and photos from different photographers and film stocks… it’s so much knowledge and information all in one place. Even if I never shoot a 6×6 Rolleiflex camera, I’m still going to read this post because I love the knowledge!! You can never know too much about your field, you guys! Keep this in the favorites and check back every few weeks to catch up on the new goodness that this amazing company drops for you!

6. Mastin Labs YouTube Channel

I know I mentioned this above, but you guys, just scroll through this library. Having lunch with Kirk Mastin is on my photography bucket list. He’s so generous with his knowledge and is such a gift to the photography industry!

7. How to Get Started Shooting Film with Abby Grace: Abby is an amazing film photographer and she has this great starter video you can check out right here!

8. Pentax 645 Review: Ok girl, you gotta chill on the Mastin Videos, right? Nope, sorry, not gonna happen. This review convinced me to give my camera a real try after I kicked and screamed about not getting a Contax.

9. Mike Janik 13 Film photography hacks: Mike has a great YouTube channel with a lot of fabulous info served up straight and fast. I dig this guy.

10: Find in a Box: Jon Canlas is an incredible film photographer who has put together a complete film photography course. From their site: FIND in a Box contains everything you need to know to successfully shoot film in the modern world. From cameras to film stocks, metering to lighting, storytelling to posing — everything I know about film — it’s all here. (And it’s on freaking video, people.) 

Click the link above to go to the site and click here to get a free video from the course. It’s soooooo worth it!

 

Friends, that was the end of the film series and day 68! Day 98 is currently reserved for any questions you have throughout the 100 days. To submit a question, please click here!  If you’re interested in supporting this project, please share, PIN and comment! Any other questions, comments or ideas, please feel free to email me at denise(at)denisekaris(dot)com

Denise Karis is a film & digital hybrid wedding photographer based in Phoenix who enjoys musicals, Doctor Who and breakfast burritos. IG @denisekaris

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