I draw inspiration from SO many different things. My own wild imagination, movies, music, books, the sky, the stars and so much more. While I was in London this past summer, I decided to go see a movie one night. Before the movie played, a short cinema spot came on. As soon as it began, I was instantly captivated, forgetting the whole world around me. I was drawn in to it’s every frame. I had no idea what it was for, but I didn’t care. I was breathless. I couldn’t move. The images that passed in front of my eyes had taken me away to a fantasy land that I never wanted to leave. I was stunned by it’s utter beauty. Even though the film was only 3 minutes long, I felt like I had been drawn in for hours. I was wonderstruck and left in complete awe. I was left feeling so incredibly inspired that I could barely breathe. This short film had captivated my soul and thrust me into a dream world I would never escape. As I left the movie that night I couldn’t stop thinking of this beautiful work of art. I thought about it for days, weeks, months. It is what inspired me to create the recent shoot I call “A Boudoir Dream“.
I drew my inspiration for the shoot from this beautiful film. But if you watch it you can see how my shoot is not at all a duplicate or copy of this film. You may be able to see how I could have drawn some of my inspiration from it. But if I had not told you this, you would have never known. My shoot and this film could be side by side staring you in the face, and you would not know that it was my inspiration. My Boudoir Dream is still very original and different than what you see in the film. See, it’s okay to be inspired from someone else’s art. We all do it. Ideas are all created and sparked from somewhere. However, there is a difference from being inspired and copying/stealing.
When I picked up my camera at age 15, I never looked at a photography book or photography websites, etc. It was literally just me and my camera. I taught myself how to shoot and practiced on anything I could to gain experience in lighting, composition, exposure, etc. As many years passed, and I began to realize that photography was more than just a hobby… that it was a calling; a gift. When I realized that God had indeed designed me to be an artist, I began to develop my style and what I wanted my images to look like. This took many many years. MANY YEARS. It didn’t happen overnight and it certainly didn’t happen by trying to be like another photographer. I had to do it the hard way, the long way and it has truly paid off in more ways than one. I didn’t take any shortcuts in my career as a photographer and I can say that is one of the best decisions I have ever made. Because I look at my work now and I am proud. Damn proud. I have come a long way from when I first picked up a camera and I absolutely LOVE who I am as an artist. I love it for so many reasons but one of the biggest is knowing that I can take SO much pride in myself in knowing that I am not like anyone else. I am special, unique. What you see in my work comes from my heart, my dreams and my own extremely hard work that I put into it.
I am SO SO SO flattered by the constant outpouring of comments and emails from photographers who tell me they are inspired by my work and business. I cannot tell you enough how much this means to me. Truly. I never expected that in all of my life. I just wanted to be a good photographer for myself and my clients. I never imagined I would have any sort of impact on other photographers. NEVER in my wildest imagination. So please know, with all of my heart, I am so grateful by your kind words of encouragement and flattery. However, I do sometimes feel discouraged when I discover another photographer stealing my images, ideas, or words I have written. I must be extremely honest in saying, this sort of behavior does NOT flatter me whatsoever. It is very frustrating to say the least. I have worked hard for almost half of my life to become the photographer and business owner I am today. I have spent years and years developing my talent and learning things about business to become who I am today and build the business I own. To see someone so easily just steal what I have worked so hard for and call it their own is utterly disrespectful, atrocious and evil. Stealing doesn’t benefit anyone. And it only makes the thief look, to be blunt, STUPID.
I am an extremely hard worker. I take such pride in every single thing I do concerning my art and business. I spend hours and hours researching things to benefit my work. Every single aspect of my business was birthed because of my own hard work and money. It’s why my business is unique and special. It’s why I can say without a doubt there is no one else out there like me. Why? Because I work hard on my own. I don’t take shortcuts. And I don’t steal. I truly do not understand those who do. How do you sleep peacefully at night? How can you take any pride in what you have done? When you know at the end of the day no matter how much you lie to everyone else and convince the world it’s yours, you know it’s not yours.
Let me get a little more specific about what really bothers me. When I find out another photographer has copied words that I have written, then changed a few things to make it their own, and pasted it onto their own site/blog, my blood boils. I am not a very gifted writer. It takes me hours and hours sometimes to come up with the proper writing for things I share to my readers and clients. I write, and re-write sometimes over and over. HOURS AND HOURS. It is so wrong on every level to copy what someone else has written and call it your own words. Not to mention it’s highly illegal and a little thing called plagiarism. It’s why I have spent hours of my time and tons of my money with lawyers so that my words are legally copyrighted and so I am protected. Don’t copy, you only make yourself look unintelligent and there will be consequences. Cheating and taking shortcuts in life only truly hurts yourself.
Something else that bothers me is when people constantly ask me where I buy my props, backgrounds, equipment, products, etc. I dislike the attitude in the world today that because I worked my little booty off and researched my own stuff, that it is expected that I should just share every aspect of my business with anyone who asks. This is SO wrong on SO many levels. Yes, there may be other photographers out there who make it their business to sell and give away their business secrets. But let me assure you, I have no desire to do so. If you were to go to a painter’s art show, and saw a beautiful piece of art he created. Would you be so bold to ask him how he painted it? What brushes he used, what type of paint, what type of paper he painted on? Would you ask him if he did it in natural light outside or in a dimly lit studio? Would you ask him how he found the building to have his art show? Would you ask him how he does his pricing? Or what about a master chef. Would you go to a restaurant, eat a delicious dinner and then ask the chef to come out so you could ask him the recipe? Or let’s thing even really big here… what about Apple. Would you call up Apple and ask them how they invented the iPhone, Macbook, or iPad? No, you would not. So why is it expected of me to share my business secrets? Truthfuly, I would be a very foolish business owner to just offer up every detail of what I do and how I do it. Very foolish.
Truly successful people are the ones who worked hard, didn’t take shortcuts and didn’t steal.
I am writing this post with the intention to encourage you to be your own artist, your own business person. Be inspired. But don’t copy, don’t steal. It won’t benefit you in the end. Be different, be unique. Learn things the right way. Do your own research. Do your own hard work. I ASSURE you that if you do it the right way, and take the narrow path, you will be SO much happier. I am so flattered if you draw inspiration from me or my work. Truly I am. But the biggest tip, advice or secret I can tell you is to make your business and art your very OWN, special and unique. Be original.
The Boudoir Vixen
By the way, as a side note… I photograph SO many photographer’s from all over the United States. It’s SO flattering that they would trust me with their special boudoir memories. I absolutely love it. I don’t want anyone to read this post and think that I don’t want to photograph other photographers, because I love them just as much I love my non-photographer clients. The photographers who come to me are all so extremely respectful of what I do and have never put me in an uncomfortable position. I just want to express how much I appreciate that. xo
Please check out the video below of Swarovski’s Cinema Spot. The film that inspired my Boudoir Dream.