Begin: Sara Weir
Have you ever done something and fallen instantly in love? Maybe it was on a dare. Maybe it was on a whim. Maybe it was simply by chance. Have you felt that? That’s exactly what happened to Sara when she began. She hadn’t held a camera for ages, but her brother asked her to photograph his wedding. She had always loved a challenge, learning new things, and being creative, so she said yes. “It just ignited this flame that I couldn’t put down.”
Sara is still challenging herself, learning new things, and finding new ways to be creative because it feeds her soul. She recently fell in love with film all over again, but in a new way. Now she has a deep desire to have others feel this love too, and we cannot help but feel the magic with her.
Describe the first time you had this 'begin' moment.
Well I had two. The first was when my brother asked me to photograph his wedding. I hadn't held a camera for a while, so I set up a practice shoot with a friend and her new husband. It just reignited everything. I remembered what it was like to see the light and feel that moment when everything comes together. I immediately went home and told my husband I was going to be a wedding photographer.
Fast forward a few months when I found film. I'd been shooting film for about 4 months when I attended a conference and was given the opportunity to shoot a medium format camera. It was a completely different experience. I had this amazing sense of heightened awareness. I saw the light in a new way and I knew how I wanted to use it. Almost like seeing it for the first time! I didn't feel distracted by the back of my camera or the need to constantly check exposure. I didn't take the shot if I didn't love it which meant I moved and asked the model to make purposeful changes that enhanced what I was seeing. I became a creator in that moment - not just a photographer snapping away. It was amazing!
What did this moment change for you?
Everything! It completely changed the trajectory of my business. I haven't really shot digital since. I'm even working to add more and more film to my receptions - which is the only time I ever consider my digital camera these days!
Film has made me the photographer I am. It defines my style and creative process. It was my direct decision to shoot film that has brought about my success in my business and has even led me to write a course so that others, even non-photographers, can tap into the magic of this process. I sincerely believe it is for everyone and I want everyone to have it!
How did you balance all that you were experiencing in life when you began?
When this beautiful process entered my life I was a young mother of 4! I love motherhood, but when I picked up that camera it was like a missing piece of my heart reconnected. I felt more myself in a way I hadn't realized was missing. That creative side of me needed to be expressed and photography gave me that ability again.
I think balance is a myth. It's more of a juggling job because when I say yes to photography I'm often saying no to my family and visa versa. But in saying those yeses and no's I feel I am able to give a better self to each facet of my life. I feel like I am kinder and more patient with my children after I've been able to have a big creative release. And I feel that my children are a constant source of inspiration and honestly my reason for doing photography. I couldn't and wouldn't want to do one without the other!
What has it looked like on your journey from your beginning moment to now?
It looks like a constant evolution! I am constantly experimenting in my business and finding ways I can spread this love of film. I am constantly trying to perfect my craft and pushing myself to be a better and more creative photographer. This is what I love most about this - I'm not sure it's possible to reach perfection but the joy is in trying and succeeding in small moments. When I started my business looked very different from what it's becoming and I'm ok with that. In fact I'm more than ok with that, I'm loving it because it's so much more authentic to me and what I want to be doing. And it's all mine. Evolution is a good thing for our businesses!
Amidst feeling excited, what was difficult as you began?
The difficult thing has been finding clients and my audience. We all have something to say, but in the beginning it can be really difficult to find what that is and then communicate it with power and consistency. It takes a lot of trial and error - at least for me it did. But now I feel I have a powerful message and I want to carry it out and find those who feel the same.
Do you still have the 'beginning' feelings? What do you notice brings them on?
Oh yes for sure!! When you see someone who is doing something amazing and you're like - oh I want to do something like that! And you realize there's this immense gap between where you are and what you're doing now to where you want to be.
Or anytime I start a new project. I start the process of creating it, marketing it, and launching it. But I also love that part! I love planning out how to lead to something big and exciting. It's like a new movie coming out and how I can get people excited about what I'm doing. It's amazing how many people are looking for exactly what it is you are wanted to offer. You just have to be brave and put it out there!
Is there any piece of advice you could give to someone who has just begun?
Oh so many things!! Mostly just keep your hunger! Keep going after it and searching. You'll find the resources you're looking for. And trust your gut on those things you need and maybe even more importantly WHEN you need them. We're all at different points in our businesses so listen carefully to where you feel pulled the strongest and start there. One thing at a time and you'll get there!
Sometimes we feel like we have to choose between creating something beautiful and what will sell. I don't think it has to be that way. I think if we learn the business side of things and understand people we can find those who are searching for exactly what we have to offer and we can make it successful. So be creative and be passionate! And have the confidence that you're going to find people who will want what you are creating!