February Goals – 2019

I love February!  You know why?  Because it’s shortalexandra michelle photography - flat lay 2019-2 (like me I guess).  It may sound weird but I love the fact that it is a short month with exactly four weeks.  It’s the kind of month that can go fast if you want it to but can also motivate you to get a lot done because you don’t have a lot of time.  I don’t know about you but I work much better when I’m under a time crunch.  If I have endless time and no real due date then I will procrastinate forever!  But give me a due date that’s coming up quick and I’m bustin’ my buns to get it done.Read More »

2016 Photography & Business Goals

I recently read an article from the Rising Tide Society and it couldn’t have better timing.  You see I had already written on my calendar to blog this, you know the typical goals for a new year of business, and I had a full list of new things I was going to do and try but then I read this article written by Lara Casey, the woman behind Southern Weddings.  The article was titled “Setting Goals with Lara Casey” and it was exactly what I needed to fuel me and this post.  Basically she gets into how we need to spend our time more purposefully and that the things we say yes to or commit to should have a purpose.  They should answer the big “Why” question meaningfully so that we can walk into our days ready and willing to tackle these goals.  Read More »

My "Day Job" – Living my Dream

So I recently saw an article that said “Your Dream Job vs. Your Day Job” and was all about how to strive for your dreams while working a full time job to support your dream.  A great article, but it got me thinking.

What if my “day job” isn’t just a day job?  What if my day job is also my dream job?  Does this mean that photography can’t also be a dream job?  Am I limited to how many dreams and passions I work toward and pursue?  

Here’s a little background about me… I love life.  This sounds cheesy so let me explain.  I love the idea that we all have souls and passions and make choices and can explore.  I love that we create our days and how we spend them.  Every day at school someone on the announcements says “Make it a great day, or not.  The choice is yours” and I LOVE this.  We have choices.  Growing up I was so blessed with the ability to pursue passions and explore my choices in life.  It was around the same age that I picked up a camera and decided I wanted to be a teacher.  They both called to my heart and for awhile I put photography on a shelf as a hobby because I thought, I can’t do both, I am going to be a teacher, not a photographer.

Well I’m here to tell you, that I want both. 

I love teaching, love it, really really really cheesily love it (and since I am a science teacher I can get away with using words like cheesily that aren’t spelled right and don’t exist).  I knew when I was 16 years old that I was going to go to College to become a teacher because I loved the feeling of helping younger kids.  So here I am, 4 years into teaching and every day that I come to school I get excited about seeing my kids.  Talking to them, listening to them, working with them and learning from them.  Is it perfect? Heck no.  Is it pretty?  Not usually.  Is it stuff that people want to read about on social media?  Well if “YES student _______ got a B on this test and worked so hard!!” or “lunch duty was a killer today”.. then yeah! but let’s be real… probably not.  Do I get tired and worn out and wonder if it’s worth it?  Absolutely, but the reality is, I love this job and it’s not just my day job, it’s my dream job… my first dream.

So how does this tie into photography and the “Alexandra Michelle Photography Blog”?  Well, if you like my images and you’d like me as your photographer you should know that I’m more than just a girl with a nice camera.  I’m a dreamer.  I’m a “not gonna settle for just one passion when I have lots” kind of girl.  I’m also a “if I love it I’m not going to give up on it”, kind of girl.  I am a teacher, and I’m also a girl with a small business who dreams of taking gorgeous images for families who love life the way I do.  I love photography in the same way I love teaching.  I plan and then I get to shoots and meet the families involved and we try things, I take pictures and many times they turn out really well.  Are there images that I delete because they didn’t turn out?  Yup.  Are there lessons that I delete because they didn’t turn out? Yup.  It’s another avenue to interact with people, learn about them and capture their best selves.  Teaching is the same, it’s part content and part working habits but it’s also trying to get kids to do their best, whatever that may be.

I decided a year ago I wanted to chase this dream and I had people who asked, so are you going to quit teaching?  I didn’t know what to say because I felt weird.  I didn’t want to give up teaching.  But I also didn’t want to fail at this either.  I felt shameful that I had two dreams, selfish almost like I wasn’t supposed to have both as if I couldn’t do them both well.  Well, I don’t think I should have to give up on either dream.  I don’t want to just work a full time job, I want to love my full time job.  I can’t let myself live life void of passion.  So I’m here, a year later, trying.  I have two big dreams and I’m trying to do them.  I have one that is full time and one that is just a little small business that I love and am excited about the long term potential for.

Maybe this blog post comes off braggy (if that’s a word) and I really don’t mean it to.  I don’t want anyone reading this to sit there and say “well gee, must be nice that you love your job so much”.  I’m here trying to say, if you want something, you should try for it.  We shouldn’t have to sacrifice our dreams, we should try!  If your day job is just a day job then don’t give up on your out of work passions.  We should choose to explore joy in being alive, to live passionately and not settle.   Easier said then done but someone once said to me “It should be a little scary, that means you care and that it’s worth it”.  For me, a year ago, it was easier to keep photography on that shelf.  It meant I didn’t have to put myself out there, fail publicly.  But it also meant I was suppressing a dream and then the fear switched and I became a afraid of the regret of never trying.

So after a very long blog post, that you’re probably not reading any longer, I’m here to encourage you to live your passions.  Make life important to you, dive into your dreams and try.  I am a teacher and a small business owner, but ultimately, I’m a dreamer who is passionate about life and I won’t give up on either of my dreams or any of the future ones to come.

Dreamer’s Mind: My Time with Ashley

Happy Wednesday!  It’s officially hump day!  I love Wednesdays!  Its finally the middle of the week and I love my Day 2 schedule!

In any case it’s time I tell you about my time with Ashley of V.A. Photography! This girl is amazing!  I got to sit down with her for hours and talk about dreams and logistics.  I asked her about packaging and quality of work, marketing and more!  It was such a relief to ask the questions I’ve needed answers to in order to put my mind at ease.  I’ve been thinking about this dream for so long and am not sure when I became scared of it.  Sitting down with Ashley made me realize that I can do this, even if only with small steps at a time.  She is so positive and willing to give so much.  I feel lucky to be blessed with so many supportive people in my life who can dream my dreams and push me to be better each day.  I get to see this at school every day when I work with my colleagues and last Sunday when I met with Ashley I felt like I had met a new cheerleader.  Not only did she help me realize some practical solutions and gave me great ideas moving forward but she also gave me the courage to bring my dream to a reality.

I’m not sure when we become scared of our dreams.  When we are little we feel fearless as though we can do anything, be anything, and we dream impractically.  I remember wanting to be a tap dancer, an astronaut (who is afraid of heights and gets motion sickness…), the next Julia Roberts, a photographer,  an architect, a teacher and so much more.  Part of me feels like the world should be like it was when we were little, full of options and no fear but I’ve come to realize there are small blessings in fear.  I’m a little afraid of this dream because I know how much it would mean to me.

One of my cooperating teachers after spending time with me learned that I’m the type of person who so passionately loves my dreams that the thought of failure will hold me back.  When my placement was done he framed a quotation for me that states “Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgement that something is more important than fear.”  This will always be one of my favorite quotes.  To me it means, your dreams are bigger then the fear that could hold you back.  You have to put the fear aside and know that it is there because this is important to you.  Where would I be if I had chased myself away from the classroom out of fear of the first day of school?   If I had let the fear of my first year, my first real lesson, the fear of failure keep me from doing something I love.  

Well now I’m applying this dreamer’s mentality to photography.  My time wish Ashley made me realize that I wanted to try this more than I wanted to sit and hope for it.  She gave me the confidence to publish the Facebook Page and the website.  I was so nervous but can’t begin to express how blessed I feel to already have 142 likes, some of which are from people that I have not personally met (if you’re reading this, hi! I’m Alex, nice to digitally meet you :))  If you are seriously considering having a coaching session with Ashley, take it from me and just go for it!  It will be worth it!  

Here are a few pictures from our first session together (that got rained out) and a sneak peak from this past weekend.  To see more make sure to check out her blog 🙂