14 Apr

Looking ahead

For nearly 11 years, I have worked as a software designer for a Tech company in downtown NYC. But beginning this Saturday, I will finally be pursuing my dream of being a full-time portrait photographer focusing on infants, children and family portraits.

This week has been bittersweet for me. I’ve been finishing up a large chapter of my life and getting ready to begin a completely new one. I’m excited for the road ahead, and the opportunity to capture beautiful and fun moments with my camera, but at the same time, I can’t help but feel overwhelmed with emotion about the company I’m leaving behind.

I had the opportunity to speak to our entire design team, and before I could even start, the tears started to fall. I didn’t think I would get through what I wanted to say to everyone. I chose to share some of the things I’ve learned in the years at our company, many of which will make me better anywhere I go:

  1. There is no such thing as negative feedback. If you are looking to improve – whether it is a product or yourself – you need to take every ounce of feedback you receive as a way to grow and make things better.
  2. Don’t worry about being realistic in a brainstorming. Let all the ideas come out first, and later you can figure out what can actually be done now.
  3. There is almost always an easier way. As a software designer focused on usability, I feel that I look at everything differently, not just with computers but in my life, too. I often try to determine what takes too long or is too frustrating and work with others to figure out an easier way. (It’s a good exercise to ask yourself “what is the most frustrating part of your day/week, etc., and then think about how to fix it).
  4. Be an optimist. Focus on the happy thoughts. In times of change, focus on the positive things that change can bring and keep going. (Go read the blogs on ‘The Energy Project’)
  5. You are not handed initiative, you need to take it. This was highly encouraged at my company, and I often felt I was at my best when I just saw something wrong and made a plan to fix it. Just go do something. (Another motivator on this topic – Read ‘Poke the Box’ by Seth Godin).
I can’t thank my co-workers enough for all I’ve learned in the last 11 years. It was a unique culture and a very fun team. When I started, we had about 30 employees in the whole company. Today, we have almost 5,000 employees around the world. It was amazing to see the company grow and achieve successes, even despite some rough patches including having an office across the street from the World Trade Center on September 11th. But we stuck together, we worked hard as a team, and we got things done.
Now, it’s time for me to look ahead. I’ve wanted to be a photographer since I was about 9 or 10 years old, and that moment is finally here. At the WPPI conference this past February, I sat with many other photographers listening to Tamara Lackey speak about the fusion of photography, business and life. Her words brought many of us in the room to tears. As we watched a slideshow of her images at the end of her session, I could only think about making my dream become a reality. I want to create beautiful images for parents of their children and families – images that you will treasure for years to come and photographs that will be passed to future generations. I love spending time with my client families, because each one becomes a part of my life, and it is always wonderful to not just see, but also capture the true personalities of the children I have had the privilege to photograph. It truly is the best job I’ve ever had. Although writing this post has yet again brought tears, I am so excited for my opportunities in photography and look forward to working with all of my future clients and families!