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How to conquer your fears to achieve your goals

conquer your fears  tips for entrepreneurs Elena S Blair Education For Photographers

I know you have heard this so many times but I am going to go ahead and say it again.

You are your own worst enemy.

You may not even realize it, but fear is probably holding you back from so many things you are trying to accomplish.

You might be thinking, “woman, I want to make six figures, I am not afraid of that.” or “I want to book out months in advance, there is no fear there.”

But I invite you to explore this concept a little.

For example, say you do have some big monetary goals but for some reason you aren’t reaching them. Perhaps you want to make six figures. You may actually be afraid of this. Afraid of what people will say if you are asking for significant money for your photography services. Fear that having a lot of money may change you. Fear that you don’t have what it takes to bring in that kind of money. Fear, fear, and more fear.

Or let's use the bookings you want for example. Say you want to book 2 shoots a week. You may actually fear this. Perhaps photography is your side hustle and you are worried you won’t actually have time for this. Or maybe you are afraid that there aren’t enough people in your area to even make this booking goal a reality. Perhaps you are afraid your competition is taking these bookings from you. Maybe you are afraid that you will be called a fraud and that you won’t know how to handle these sessions. Again, fear, fear, and more fear.

The reason I am sharing this with you is because it happens to me all the time.

I often get in my own way of success.

The very first step in conquering your fears is to name them. Sit down and think about what you want to achieve and ask yourself what fears might be getting in your way. Write them down. Then, explore where those fears are coming from, what they are rooted in. Now, bust through those fears. Tackle them one by one. Call them out.

Nobody can get you to your goals but you. Take a look at this concept, kiss fear goodbye and invite abundance.

You got this.

Xoxo,

Elena

P.S. if you’re looking for motivation and accountability, download this free goal setting guide!

Stop doing what you "should" do and do what feels right

create before you consume tips for entrepreneurs Elena S Blair Education For Photographers

If you are at all familiar with my newborn work you know that it is completely "Lifestyle."

Now the words we use to define our work aren't really important. What is truly important is the feeling behind our work.

My newborn work is family and baby centered. I don't pose my newborns on a beanbag and rarely take them out of their parents arms.

But it didn't used to be that way. Until about four years ago I was still operating as a traditional "posed" newborn photographer. I had the beanbag, brought the heater, and even had the props.

And if you know me you know that this so so NOT me.

But I was believing the lie that in order to make money doing this I had to do it a certain way. I had to pose babies because that is what my families would expect.

After I gave birth to my third daughter I realized that this was so not in align with my artistic vision and my values.

Right then and there I rebranded, took every posed image off of my website, and started over.

Guess what happened? My newborn business exploded. Why? Because people can sense when something isn't coming from a place of passion. When something isn't authentic.

So if you are doing something that just doesn't feel right, don't be afraid to make a change. I know it is scary to do that, but I am here to tell you that you can and that you SHOULD.

I hope you all are having a fantastic week!

Be you!!

xo,

Elena

P.S. If you are curious about Lifestyle Newborn Photography and how to get started or make a change to this type of Newborn Photography in your business, grab my free download "Getting Started With Lifestyle Newborn Photography” by clicking the button below.

Work smarter, not harder in your photography business

work smarter not harder with honeybook Elena S Blair Education For Photographers

I get asked about time management literally every day. Listen, I don't have more hours in my day than you do.

I am a single mom. I have a full time business. It's a lot.

But what I have learned is that you have to streamline your work and develop systems in order to keep things running smoothly and efficiently.

This past year I signed up with Honeybook. Honeybook is a super easy to use studio management software that has so much power. But my favorite thing Honeybook does is that it allows me to quickly respond to inquires with click of the button email templates.

I made a little video to show you this feature and why I love it so much. If you sign up with Honeybook using any of the links I have shared in this email or in the description on the video you will get 50% off your first year. That is a HUGE saving.

Work smarter, not harder! 

You can see the video by going to the following link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_NNXLfujTRI&feature=youtu.be

I hope this is helpful for you. :)

xo,

Elena

P.S. You can try Honeybook for 50% off by clicking the button below!

Why it's so important to create before you consume

create before you consume tips for entrepreneurs Elena S Blair Education For Photographers

We live in a magical time where we have access to entertainment, art, and friendship literally in the palm of our hands. I will be the dork here and say that the power of the internet still blows my mind.

However, this instant access, instant gratification, instant everything has many downfalls in my opinion.

I could bore you and go on and on, however I won’t do that. Instead I am going to share with you one major downfall that I feel can be detrimental to your creativity, your confidence, your mindset, and ultimately the growth of your business.

This downfall is the comparison game. I play it EVERY SINGLE DAY and my gut says you probably do too. Am I right?!

You scroll through Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, etc and you are flooded with so much beauty and talent. You are flooded with people showing themselves looking absolutely gorgeous doing epic things, creating incredible art.

Cue the inner narrative:

“Wow, my photography is so boring. Why can’t I use light like that?”

“I need that lens. I need that camera.”

“I look like a slob. My kids look like ragamuffins.”

“I don’t travel enough. I don’t spend nearly enough time in bed with gorgeous lattes.”

“I suck at all things and will never be able to be half as much as these bad asses, I quit.”

Yeah, you know what I mean don’t you?

Here is the thing. Inspiration is a beautiful, wonderful, motivating thing. But it can also bring you down to a place that is hard to get up from. And it can also suck so much time out of your life that you don’t get half the things done you were capable of.

But here is the good news, my friend. I have a very simple solution, a practice really, that I have been implementing and it has changed my life.

I now have a hard and fast rule. Create before you consume! Create before you consume!

It is almost meditative and I will admit it was hard to implement. It took some major self control to not roll over, grab my phone, and start binging on all things social media.

Now, I wake up, make my coffee, meditate for 5 minutes (that is it) and then I create something. That can be as simple as writing a blog post, writing an email like this one to you, editing an old personal photo, writing a note to my best friend, scheduling my own Instagram feed or facebook posts, culling a session, working on one of my upcoming talks or retreats…. ANYTHING BUT CONSUMING.

Then, when I do start guzzling social media (because I absolutely do) I come from a more firmly rooted place. I feel more sure of my own abilities to be a creator and I look at others from a more subjective place.

I urge you to try this. Create before you consume. See how it changes your mindset. And let me know if it helps.

xo,

Elena

P.S. I want you to start achieving your goals! What better way than this handy goal setting guide ;)

What I learned from being a full time mother and photographer

life of a working mom and photographer Elena S Blair Education For Photographers

I tend to write to women. I tend to write for women. Because really, who I am writing to is myself.

So today, I write to you, and to me.

It’s okay to want more than being a mother. *Cue all the gasps!

When my first child was born nearly 11 years ago my world stopped.I didn’t just give birth to him I gave birth to me. A new me.

Like many mothers I became absolutely wrapped up in my role as a mother. Happily. And in time I gave birth to two more babies, two little girls. For 10 years I was pregnant or breastfeeding. Basically my whole 20’s. 

I put them before me every single day. I skipped showers and workouts and time with their father and time with my friends. I disappeared. I rarely did anything for me at all, I am sad to admit.

And on the outside I was beaming with pride. Truth be told, I still am. I have three beautiful, confident, intelligent, creative, curious, well-behaved children. And it was worth every ounce of sacrifice I made for them.

But I want to be honest. There was always a little voice, a yearning inside me, that said “I want more! Where the hell are you, Elena!”

I was all things mother. All things!

But something burned hot inside me. So I picked up photography. And it saved me. But even that started about them. I was a photographer because I wanted to capture my own kids so it was okay that I was doing something not about the kids, right? Right?

Slowly, gradually, I realized “no, Elena, this isn’t about them. This is about YOU. You want to create for YOU!! For the you who used to like to sing and dance, for the you who laughed with her friends, for the you who loved passionately, for the creator inside you that you put to sleep when you became a mother, when you became an adult and did all the adult things you thought you had to do.”

Despite all the doubt and all the feelings of guilt for being selfish I went into business. Because turns out, I LOVE business, I love setting goals that have NOTHING to do with my kids and achieving them.

Turns out I don’t actually enjoy photographing them every day, only when I really feel like it.

Turns out I actually like photographing other people's families more.

Turns out I love pushing boundaries with my work.

Turns out I LOVE getting up on stage and speaking my passion and my truth.

Turns out I LOVE educating and inspiring others.

Turns out I like being in control of the amount of money I can make which is a stark contrast to my “safe” job I went to college for, which was a nurse. Yup, I just said I like making money.

Turns out I need to work out nearly every day to feel human, even if it means dragging my kids to the park to run around a crappy track.

Turns out I don’t like wearing yoga pants every day and that I actually like looking put together, for ME!

And I want more. I have goals that seem out of this world and they are FOR ME!

This doesn’t make me selfish. This doesn’t make me less of a mother. This doesn't make me less of a woman.

Self acceptance and self care is an act of rebellion for mothers.

How dare we want more than the precious children we mother?

Well, call me a rebel. I know I am a kick ass mom. Proof is in the amazing little humans who call me Mommy.

But guess what, being a mother isn’t enough for me.

I need more and if you do too, it is okay. I give you permission. Be a rebel. Find YOU within the role of a mother.  

I only just started to fully realize this in the past year. I literally look back at photos of myself over the past eleven years and don’t recognize who I am looking at.

Not anymore. Now, I take care of ME first, I make goals for ME first.

And guess what? My kids are still alive and well.

xo,

Elena

P.S. Interested in doing something for YOU? Download this free quick start guide and learn how to get your photography business started!

Tips for photographers to stay motivated year round

stay motivated as a photographer Elena S Blair Education For Photographers

I will never forget the thrill of my first booked year. Finally, after lots of trial and error I managed to book up my fall months. It was amazing! I was finally making a good income with this photography gig and was really finding my way in business. 

Then January came and cue the crickets. My inbox was empty and so was my bank account. But what’s worse is my motivation was also in the tank. 

It is hard to stay motivated when you are judging success on inquiries. I get it. I have been there. Self doubt creeps in and you think "maybe this isn't for me?"

But it's not true, friend. This is for you! Here are a few things you can do right now to get your motivation back and start planning to make this year awesome! 

1. Start shooting for yourself again. I know my personal work goes by the waist side when my business is busy. I take the winter months to take a class, think about my art and really start picking up the camera for my own personal use again. 

2. Ramp up your in-home photography sessions. I will reach out to past clients and say that I am taking in home sessions for the months of January- March. This gets them thinking about me and excited about a new photo shoot option. (Photo above was an in home session.) 

3. Get business savvy. Guess what, friend? Having a photography business that thrives is about 20% art, 80% business. I now don't have a slow season. Sure, fall is far busier, however I have steady bookings all year long. Because I have learned how to be a good business woman. So dive in to business podcasts, education, and content. You have the art thing down, now it's time to get the business thing down. What better time to learn about business than when business is slow?

4. Diversify your business offerings. Ever thought about trying something new, like fine art school photography? It’s a great way to bring in income during slow seasons! And it’s an easy way to get your work in front of more families.

So, use this time wisely. Busy season will come again and you will be so much better prepared if you use this time well to educate yourself and to grow. You got this! 

xo,

Elena

P.S. Are you interested in seeing if fine art school photography is right for you and your business? Download this free quick start guide to learn all about it!

How to improve your confidence as a photographer

goal setting and confidence building education Elena S Blair Education For Photographers

Friend, I had a feeling you were feeling like you were lacking confidence so I wanted to touch base with you. I get so many emails and messages asking how to gain confidence and I want to help. 

First, I know it seems like those of us who have been in the game longer are confident as hell and that we were born that way. 

But that is not at all true. 

I remember when I was first starting out as a photographer with a newborn in my lap, a toddler at my heels, and a cropped censor camera I felt like I wasn't worthy of calling myself a photographer. I felt like the industry was full of so much talent that there was no way there was room for me. 

I struggled to find my way and quite honestly I nearly called it quits many times. I mean who did I think I was? I already had a great career as a registered nurse, I had two babies, a mountain of debt so new gear was never an option, and I wasn't good.

Yet.

It’s the truth. I see some of my earlier stuff that I was including in my portfolio and I giggle. But I also feel proud. Because you know what I was doing? I was faking it until I made it. 

Yup. You heard me right. I was faking it. Every day I would say to myself "who cares if they think you aren't good enough. Who cares if you aren't as good as so and so. You are learning and eventually you will make it." Self talk is powerful, friend. Because you can't ever expect anyone to trust you to take their photos much less pay you to do it if you don't trust yourself. People sense inauthenticity. 

I want to share with you a few things you can do to improve your confidence right now. 

1. Take a social media time out. When I was starting to feel like I had no idea what my style was and was feeling really down about my work because I thought I wasn't good enough, I took a three month break from social media. My work skyrocketed during that period as it forced me to only focus on ME. 

2. Call yourself an artist, not a photographer. Shift your mind, my friend. You are an artist and you will feel more confident calling yourself a photographer once you really grasp the fact that you are an artist. This is an art form just like painting or writing. It is visual expression. 

3. Trust the journey. If you are new you aren't supposed to be good. We all start from nothing and we have to work our way up. There is no reason to rush your come up. In fact, I don't recommend it. I know friends who rose fast and unfortunately most of them suffered major burn out. Slow and steady wins the race. 

4. Tackle one goal at a time. If you are trying to learn how to use your camera, how to edit, how to capture connection, light, and everything else all at once you will get overwhelmed and of course you will lack confidence. I tackled photography in this order: shooting/using camera > light > connection > style > editing
Editing remains the least important part of my process. It may be something you enjoy, which is great. 

5. Take care in who you are finding support and inspiration from. There is not room for drama or negativity in your life. Anyone who brings you down is only doing so to lift themselves up. So ditch them! Make sure to only surround yourself with friends who support your dreams and mentors and teachers who advise you to be you and not them. 

Friend, I have a sincere desire to rise up leaders in this community. I believe in you. Find confidence from within to keep on pushing on!! 

xo,
Elena

P.S. Setting goals and tackling them is a great way to boost your confidence. Grab your free goal setting guide!

My number one secret to success

number one secret to success as a photographer Elena S Blair Education For Photographers

You know what starting your own photography business means? It means you are following your dreams. Yup, you heard me right. 

So many times I get messages from ladies just like you who tell me that they are afraid. That they feel like a fraud or that they feel they will never make it. It is because following your dreams takes courage. Breaking away from the norm takes guts. 

Let me tell you my #1 secret to success.

I believed in myself. You can't ever, in a trillion years, expect someone to believe in you if you don't believe in yourself. 

Seven years ago when I started this crazy ride that is photography, I never said I was a photographer. I honestly didn't believe it myself.

And it took years to get the courage to call myself that. A photographer. And it took even more years for me to take the plunge and quit my day job to pursue this crazy dream full time. 

Ever hear the phrase fake it till you make it? Well there is some truth to it.

You see, you have to be brave. You have to be bold. And you have to fail. You have to have the guts to say "yes, I am a photographer." And say it loud. 

I mean it, right now, yell "I am a photographer, damn it." Don't scare your kids or the lady next to you in line in the grocery store though. ;) 

Because here is the truth. I had to travel across the country to a photography conference to learn this. I heard many powerful women and men speak about photography and when I came home I said. "Screw it, I am just going to go for it!"

And I did. I started promoting myself like crazy and calling myself a photographer, an artist at that. And things changed for me. Because I was now attracting attention. I was beckoning it.

Because I FINALLY believed in myself. 

This is going to sound like a bad example but it's true. You know the "cool" kids in school? Who said they were cool? Nobody. They did. They decided that the would carry themselves that way, and BAM, everyone notices them. 

So today, believe in yourself. Be brave. Because I am here to tell you it is worth it. I have never been happier in work and life. I make my own schedule, photograph families just how I want to, and get to teach other budding artists how to do the same. It's amazing. 

And you can too! Believe in yourself friend, because I believe in you! 

xo,

Elena

P.S. Since you’re now ready to be a photographer, let’s get you ready to be a business owner! I have a handy quick start guide to starting your photography business. Grab your download by clicking the button below!

Why every lifestyle photographer needs to know how to pose

why i hate the word pose lifestyle family photography Elena S Blair Education For Photographers

With the gaining popularity of "lifestyle" and "documentary" family photography the word "pose" has gained a bad rap. 

One of the things I see photographers posting on social media all the time is "I just love the in-between moments." Or "I swoon over candid moments." 

You guys! Let me let you in on a little secret. Unless a photographer is a 100% documentary photographer. Meaning that they are coming into a home or location and standing back and doing zero guiding, almost all those amazing "candid" moments you see were orchestrated or "posed" by the photographer. 

Yup. True story. 

Take the image in this post for example. It looks unposed. It looks candid. But I literally made the entire moment happened. I told them where to stand. I told them what to do right down to where dad is looking. I guided the children. Everything! Except maybe the dog ;). And there is no shame in that. My families trust me to make them into my art. They trust me to tell them what will look the best and yield the best photo. 

Posing and guiding is an art form. It is important that you know how to direct a session so that it yield the results you and your clients are expecting. 

I like to say that I guide my clients but really I pose them. Then I direct them to interact and that is where the moments come from. 

Heck, I will come in and move their heads how I want them. 

So don't believe the lies social media is telling you. Not many are showing up with their camera and simply getting lucky catching beautiful candid moments. They are gifted in making those moments happen. 

Posing is not a bad thing. In fact I proudly do it every time I photograph a family. 

xo,

Elena

P.S. Are you ready to get started with posing? Grab my FREE family posing guide by clicking the button below!

Three things you can do RIGHT NOW to improve your family photography

how to improve your lifestyle family photography Elena S Blair Education For Photographers

It is not a secret that I love family photography. And I SUPER love Seattle family photography because I love the people in this city! They are for sure my people.  

Family photography is what I would say is my speciality, my zone of genius. I love it. But I will admit, there was a time when I was telling my friends... "I think I am going to give up on family photography and stick to newborns and seniors." You guys! I suck at seniors. And while I do love newborns, at that time it was posed newborns I was talking about. This couldn't have been further from what I love or what my heart wanted. It was what I thought was easier. 

So what gives? 

Well, I hated family photography because I was trying to make my families look perfect. I was scouring the internet trying to find the perfect poses and then trying at every shoot to pose my families in these perfect ways which was making me feel totally defeated. It would make anyone feel that way. Sound familiar?? Please tell me I am not alone. ;)

So let me tell you three things you can do RIGHT NOW to improve your family photography and whats more is that it will make it more satisfying for you too. 

1. Give up perfection. Let it go. Today, stop trying to make your families look perfect. Instead, focus on capturing connection and emotion. Family is anything but perfect and there is no rule book that says we have to make them look that way. Put your own twist on it. 

2. Use movement in your family work. Ask them to sing, dance, spin, run, tickle, tell a story. Anything to get them engaged and moving. You will love the results. 

3. Tell the parents over and over again NOT to look at you but instead to look at each other. This will make the images more meaningful and more emotive. They need lots of reminding about this as they have been trained to look at the camera their whole lives but it will be worth it. 

Give these tips a try and let me know if even these simple tips help you make a change. Family photography is very in demand so don't give up! 

xo,

Elena

P.S. Ready to learn some poses that’ll really take your family photography to the next level? Follow the link below for my FREE family posing guide!