I'm a lover of love who is addicted to Starbucks and goes through weekly phases of favorite foods. I'm a wifey to a firefighter and a dogmom to a grumpy Whippet. I love having lunch dates and dream of traveling the world.
It’s anxiety and depression awareness month. It’s a subject most people tend to shy away from talking about, but something a lot of people struggle with- including myself.
I hear about so many entrepreneurs that deal with this! It seems like it’s a common issue in the creative industry especially. Maybe some of it has to do with the pressure we put on ourselves.
I’ve always been a perfectionist. I set very high standards for myself, and while that’s sometimes a good thing, sometimes it’s not. This is even more true when it comes to weddings and the amazing couples I get to know. You guys, I love my couples so so much. Every single one of them. I want nothing more than to give them the most amazing wedding photos of all time and give them a dream of an experience that they’ll remember for the rest of their lives.
But along with that love and hope and work comes the most insane amount of pressure you could ever imagine. Every wedding brings challenges and frustrations. The timeline that was planned may get rearranged or fall behind. The family or bridal party members may not be the most enthusiastic when it comes to portraits. The perfectly partly cloudy, 70 degree day may suddenly turn into the dreaded rainy, windy, 50 degree day.
And guess what?
I still need to capture it all with swoon worthy, magazine ready, inspirational, and emotional looking images that you, your mom, your grandma, and every pair of eyes at your wedding are anticipating.
That’s a whole lot of pressure.
Now, I’m not sitting here saying I don’t want to do it. Or that I don’t think I can. I’ve been performing great under pressures and perfectionist tendencies for years. And, not to toot my own horn, but with each wedding I shoot, I get a little better and grow a little more in my skills.
But underneath all that cool exterior and fun loving wedding photographer personality, is a girl who’s scared to death.
Scared that she’ll disappoint her couple that she loves so much. Scared that she’ll miss something important. Scared that when her couple looks at the photos they’ve been waiting for weeks to see, that they’ll break down in tears. And not the good kind.
When I go through the images from a wedding day, two things are guaranteed to happen. 1: I’ll have a ridiculously happy, large grin on my face the whole time. And 2: I’ll be upset with myself. Upset that I didn’t turn my couple to face me a little more. Upset that I didn’t move them five inches to the right. Upset that I didn’t notice the Bride’s necklace was askew, or there was a leaf turned the wrong way in the bouquet, or one of the groomsmen left his sunglasses on the ground in the background.
The perfectionist in me makes a great, detail oriented wedding photographer who will go to great lengths to give you the most outstanding photos possible.
It also makes me spend the entirety of wedding season fretting over tiny details that 99% of people wouldn’t notice.
Anxiety comes in so many different forms, and it’s expressed differently in everyone. I’ve learned that anxiety makes me cranky, gives me stomach aches, takes away my appetite, and heightens my OCD quirks. I’ve found little things I can do (particularly from May through October) to help me get through wedding season with a (mostly) positive and joyful attitude!
Forgiving myself. I try to remember that even if every image isn’t perfect or could be labeled as the best wedding photo of all time, it’s still a beautiful piece of art that my couple will love and cherish.
Educating myself. If I feel like I really failed at something (whether it’s on the wedding day or behind the scenes), I make a point to learn a better way next time. I’ll practice for the scenario I struggled with, write down things to remember for the next wedding, read some articles on how to be smarter about something, or ask for advice from other photographers I admire and respect.
Not focusing on myself. Sometimes all I need to feel better is to grab a coffee and pastry with someone. When the finances allow for it, I try to schedule cafe or lunch dates with other creatives in Columbus. It’s so nice to sit down and talk with someone who knows what you go through! And hearing about their successes and business struggles allows me to cheer them on and encourage them to keep going.
Taking care of myself. I try to get enough rest. That includes setting work hours, shutting my computer down at the end of the work day, and not replying to emails after dinner time unless there’s an emergency. I also make time in my schedule every day for spiritual activity, housework, and cuddling Speedy. And I never ever let a day go by without using my essential oils to help me relax, focus, energize, or whatever else I need to tackle the day!
Anxiety is something I’m always going to have to deal with, and I know that. Finding ways to realign my thinking and feelings is going to be a constant battle! If this is something you’re struggling with, try some of these things in your life! If you have any questions about finding great educational resources, finding essential oils to help you with specific issues, or just want a friend to have coffee with, let’s connect!
All content and images in this post are copyright of Alayna Parker Photography and can not be used or reproduced without exclusive permission.