My Journey to Click Pro {DFW Family Photographer| Prosper, TX}

I received an email recently that is a dream for many photographers . . . my application for Click Pro was accepted!  Y’all, I’m still pinching myself as this was a goal that I set three years ago.  It was a big, scary goal especially given my level of talent in August 2014.  However,  I am writing this post to encourage anyone out there with big dreams to go chase them!  God has given you big dreams and a innate desire to create.  If he has put a dream on your heart, don’t be scared to follow that dream and see where it takes you.

Recently,  I heard on a Christy Wright podcast . . . “Make your dreams so big that if God is not in them you will fail.”  That quote was life changing for me because I had let fear hold me back in many areas of my life.  Photography was something that God put on my heart many years ago.  I didn’t listen at first and let comparison, fear of failure, fear of self promotion and fear of rejection hold me back.  Finally about three years ago, I decided to step out and faith (and fear).  I started following God’s prompting to see where He would lead.  Looking back, I am so grateful I took that leap of faith.

Best of 2016 366 Project {Documentary Photographer|Prosper, TX}

Applying to Click Pro

I won’t bore you with all of the details about applying for Click Pro but here is a high level overview.  Becoming a member requires submitting a portfolio of 150 images which are then scored by 3 panelists from their review board. The portfolio must receive a minimum average score based on rankings in the following 7 categories:

1 — Exposure Triangle
2 — Color and White Balance
3 — Use of Light
4 — Composition and Posing
5 — Processing Cohesion and Polish
6 — Technical (focus, DOF, etc)
7 — Creativity, Expression and Intention

My portfolio took over a year to accumulate the images + curate.  I wanted to have a set that I thought worthy of applying.  This was my big goal for 2017 and I held my breath and hit the “submit button” in mid August.  After 15 long days I received an acceptance email!  I realized now that making Click Pro happened exactly three years from the time that I took my very first online photography course Mastering Manual Exposure.

Best of 2016 366 Project {Documentary Photographer|Prosper, TX}

Doing the Hard Work

I get asked all of the time . . .  “What camera do you have?” or “What lenses do your use?”  Many people think that a camera, a lens or natural talent will make amazing photos.  I use to think that too, but now I can tell you that it’s the experience, hard work and creative vision of the photographer that makes the magic.

Learning to be good in anything takes a lot of time, hours of practice and sacrifice.  I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to throw in the towel and just go to lunch with a friend or veg out and watch Netflix.  The last three years have consisted of hours of analyzing different types of light, playing with camera settings, photographing anyone who would let me (my poor boys) and honing creative skills.  This is a little mind blowing for a girl who never considered herself creative.  I was the “organized, efficient, left brain” child and my sister was the creative one. A creative passion like photography was way out of my wheelhouse.  However, I kept feeling that call from God to step into this journey.  Three years and over a dozen photography courses later, I am a walking testament that God can do big, hard things.

Best of 2016 366 Project {Documentary Photographer|Prosper, TX}

Surrounding Yourself with Great People

This journey would not have been possible without my tribe.  When I started photography I was scared.  Really scared.  There were so many other photographers out there and they were really good. I honestly didn’t think there was room for me too.  Through this journey I had instructors who encouraged me + spoken truth into my life.  I met some of my best friends + mentors who have walked along side me.  We have cheered each other on, shared concerns about out businesses, and some personal heartaches too.  I can honestly say that the amazing community of photographers at Clickin’ Moms and here in DFW is the biggest and best surprise of my journey.

My clients are also a huge part of this journey.  I had many client images in my Click Pro application set.  These clients trusted me to capture their stories.  Some of these families even invited me into their homes and trusted me in their sacred space.  That is an honor that I do not take lightly, and I’m very thankful for each of you.

I’m also thankful for my amazingly supportive husband, my boys and my close friends.  All of you who let me “practice” on you for hours.  You are so patient!  Your positive attitude and encouragement made this journey a success.

Downtown Playful Portrait Session {Lifestyle Photographer|McKinney, TX}

Brothers + Sister Growing Up {Child Photographer| Prosper, TX}

Stepping Into Your Calling

Finally, this goal was a huge accomplishment but I feel like it’s only the beginning.  I have learned that leaning into your fears, putting yourself out there and trusting God is huge.  He has made me step way out of my comfort zone in the past three years.  He has stretched me in ways I never thought possible.  I often wonder what my life would have looked like if I had ignored those promptings and played it “safe”.  I would have had a lot less stress but  I would have missed out on so much more.

So, now I get to have this badge on my site and to participate in all the opportunities offered by Click Pro to their members.

 

 

I can’t wait to see what the next three years brings to this journey.  The one thing that I do know for sure is that we are continuously challenged to keep moving forward.  The next three years will bring a new set of fears, challenges and frustrations.  But as I said in the beginning “Make your dreams so big that if God is not in them you will fail.”  He will take you were you need to go!

I hope that my journey will encourage others who are just starting out.  The road is not easy and the path is not always clear.  However, I believe that if you look to God for guidance and prove yourself faithful with the little things, He will lead you to amazing places as well.  In fact your destination might be a goal that you can’t fathom right now, but it is your destination.  So aim for the skies and see where go!

Cheers,

Shelly

Back to School Lifestyle Sessions {Child Photographer| Proser, TX}

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3 notes + Add comment
  • Jonica

    on September 11, 2017  6:04 pm

    Loved this so much Shelly!!

  • Kristin Oliver

    on September 11, 2017  8:37 pm

    Congrats Shelly, that is so exciting! I remember this time last year I was getting ready for ClickAway Seattle and didn't know one person who was going. . .so glad we got to sit next to each other on the plane and hang out that week! I love seeing your work pop up in my FB feed, can't wait to see what ClickPro has to offer you! Thanks for sharing your journey, I have thought about applying and I think I need to set it as a goal and go for it!

  • Jana Zerpoli

    on September 12, 2017  4:23 am

    This is such a big deal...most people won't fully understand but you are part of an elite group, congratulations. I dream about it myself. But I am back where you were 3 years ago, praying about whether to take that next step but comparison, self doubt and good old fear is causing havoc in my head. Trusting God to make it clear for me and help me to have faith sized courage. Thanks for sharing, I love your work you are an inspiration!