Sometimes we make mistakes. It’s not a failure though if you learn something from it. I think the lessons I’ve held onto the longest are the ones that hurt the most. The lessons that made me really have to work to pick myself back up from- those are the lessons that stick with me. After having been through the heat, I know I WON’T make those mistakes again.
I made a mistake this past week and it cost me some pain, embarrassment, and an upset client. I’ll tell you about it in a minuet, but first, let me clarify why. I confess this truth and tell this story because of ONE reason. There are people in my industry who I look up to. I look up to them not because of their success, or fame (although that is how I stumbled across them) but I follow them because of their authenticity on social media. The people I follow have taught me about honesty and vulnerability. They share their struggles openly and it has helped me in my first year of business TREMENDOUSLY. (shout out to J*, Promise Tangeman, and Sophia #GIRLBOSS) They have taught me that no one is really chipper ALL the time, and that’s ok. Starting a business is hard freaking work and you have to screw stuff up lots of times before you can get it right. Sharing about a crappy day or a dumb mistake is more than ok, actually- it’s a GOOD thing to be open because it builds connection and, most importantly, it can help others find their way. So here goes…
I scheduled a session at 4:00. Sunset is around 5:30 so I had plenty of time to capture everything during “the golden hour”. I left home 30 min before the session allowing for myself to arrive 15 min early to scope out some key spots in the park. When I arrived downtown, I noticed traffic was a bit backed up. ‘No problem’ I thought (still having about 20 min spare time). At about 10 min till, I was still barely creeping ahead. Stand till traffic had me backed up about 5 miles away from the shoot. ‘Must be an accident’ I thought, surely I will get past this soon, take the next side street, and be able to make it just on time. I text my client just to let them know about the traffic issue and that I was on my way.
This was when I had the “oh no” realization. The city parade was the same day, just one hour prior, and the roads were ALL closed going in that direction. I explained to my client that I was determined to make it there still for the shoot. At this point they had been waiting 15 min. They had arrived 10 min early since they were staying in town on vacation at the hotel across the street. It was a cold, overcast day in the winter and 15 min feels like an eternity when you are sitting, waiting, and shivering.
I parked at the closest parking garage I could get to and strapped my 20 lb bag on my back synching the shoulder straps tight. Taking off on foot, I ran about 2 miles to get to the park. Thankfully wearing my vans tennis shoes, I arrived sweaty, out of breath, red faced, and 30 min after their scheduled appointment time. I apologized profusely and they responded well. They were understandably annoyed with my tardiness, but a quick forgiving family.
We began the shoot, working quickly now since light was minimal. I shot the entire session at 1600 ISO which was NOT IDEAL but you gotta do what you gotta do. After the session they decided to buy the cd because they loved all the images. They thanked me and said they would hire me again. I gave them a few free-bee upgrades to make up for the blunder but they just seemed pleased with everything either way.
This was a gentle lesson in my book. Nonetheless. I learned that I need to check the paper before setting my monthly schedule. Beyond that, I also learned that I need to sometimes just let myself off the hook when I make a mistake. Do my best to show up and correct it, apologize for the error, but then get on with life. Pick yourself up and keep going and doing the best you can.
Here’s some pics from the oh-so-awesome Brookins family: