Welcome to my blog! I'm thrilled to be able to share with you my favorite images from weddings, engagements, maternity, and more! Grab a cup of coffee and get snuggly cuz this blog will give you all the feels!
I was standing in a dark parking lot half elated half terrified with what I was about to do. My heart was racing, my palms were sweaty, and I was questioning myself even as the words came tumbling out of my mouth, “So…You want to do this again?” The awkward pause that followed felt like years went by as I waited for his response. By the time he finally answered I was sure he was going to say a big fat “NO.” To my surprise & delight he said “Yeah, I think I would.” That phrase was the way we ended our first date. Daniel and I didn’t know it then, but that was the beginning of the most amazing whirlwind of a relationship. Six months later we were saying “I do” with our favorite people in the world surrounding us. It was the best feeling in the world!
That same feeling that I had in anticipation of seeing Daniel again was very similar to the one I feel right now as I write this blog. You see after 10 years of shooting hundreds of weddings, families, & portraits I still have this nervousness with sharing my story and advice with others. The voice of insecurity is running through my head saying things like “You’re not good enough to help other photographers” and “No one will want to listen to what you have to say.” Which I know isn’t true and even if it is true I need to do it anyway because every time I’ve felt this mix of anxiety & anticipation it means something really great is about to happen. Growth.
Too often I’ve let those words of insecurity and fear hold me back from great opportunities. Had I listened to that voice at the end of our first date, I may not be married to my gentle, kind, and supportive husband. Loving Daniel has stretched & grown me in to a better person. The more I learn about myself, the more I look for those “uncomfortable opportunities.” Moments where I can choose to do something new and maybe uncomfortable OR I can choose to never do and always wonder. If I fail and people don’t want to read my advice on photography & business, then okay I’ll move on to the next uncomfortable opportunity and maybe that thing will work.
Today though, I’m excited to launch this new section of the blog. If I had a resource like this when I was just starting out it would have saved me so much time & hair pulling! Over the next weeks and months I’ll be writing blogs about practical tips, how I do my thing, and blogs to keep you motivate (which I’ll be writing for me too!). I encourage you to ask me any questions you have in the comments below or shoot me an email at MabynLudke@Gmail.com I’m excited to watch our businesses grow and THRIVE together!
Every now and then I get an opportunity to stretch my photographic muscle and just “play!” It’s so refreshing to not have any pressure to “do well” or capture something specific & just shoot for the pure enjoyment of it.
There is a group that I belong to called The Rising Tide Society. It’s motto is “A rising tide lifts all ships” and it’s goal is to help entrepenuers support one another to grow healthy business. This amazing group of entrepreneurs is nation wide and there are several local chapters through out NC, the closest of them being in Hickory, NC. I’ve only been to a few meetings so far, but I can tell you that these ladies are “in it to win it!” They’re all incredibly passionate, work hard, and love their craft whatever it may be. So it’s an honor to be part of this ever growing group!
Recently, we had the opportunity to get together for a headshot swap. We met in downtown Hickory and spent 2 hours shooting, laughing, and producing some wonderful images! It added a new layer of friendship to this group that is growing ever closer. They’re all so beautiful and I hope my shots do them justice. It was such a joy to capture their glowing beauty! Here’s to all of the #BossLadies that came out to rock it in front of the lens!
You’re a small business owner who pours her blood, sweat, and tears into her business. There’s no one else to do it for you. You’re it. You work tirelessly to provide a service that seems effortless, but in reality sucks up most of your time. Then it happens. Life. Things outside of your control that consume your very being. What to do you? Do you curl up in a ball on your couch and watch reruns of the Property Brothers? Do you binge eat every holiday cookie that comes across your nose? Do you dread looking at your “to do” list because you know it’s getting increasingly longer? Yes. You do all of those things and more. Because life happens and as much as you plan for it, it still kicks you square in the pants and throws you off balance.
I was doing so well! I had a great plan to shoot & edit weddings all while planning my own nuptial extravaganza (in 3 months time). It was going to be tight to stay on schedule, but I had every confidence that I could. I had even gotten ahead in some work! It was going to be exhausting, but doable. Then, the unthinkable happened. Just over a month after he married us, my dear friend Mike passed away. And my world was sent into a tailspin of emotion that I wasn’t prepared for at all.
wedding photography by Megan of MorningWild Photography
Granted my grief pales in comparison to his family, but his sudden departure hit harder than anything I had yet to experience. I found myself crying uncontrollably at random moments and the desire to do anything other than curl up on the couch disappeared. It’s still hard. At the cusp of a new year, the knowledge that he wont be there to experience it with us, to encourage others, to love his family, just devastates me. Gosh. Why did I try and write this blog now? Excuse me while I go grab my tissues.
Alright I’m back, soggy tissues in tow. I didn’t start writing the blog to get all weepy and share my grief with you all. That’s not what Mike would have wanted. Through this whole process Ami, Mike’s wife, has been incredibly transparent with everything and I in turn have tried to do the same. As I head into this new year of business, (partially exhilarated and partially terrified) I wanted to share with you some of the ways I’ve pushed on (just a little bit) with my business and life. Because it doesn’t stop, even though we want it to.
#1 – I REMEMBER Mike and all he stood for – You might think that this would make things harder for me and in some ways (and on some days) it does. However, most days remembering my friend who’s smile was infectious and heart was bigger than anyone I had ever met, spurs me on. If there was anyone who would have told me to stop mourning over him and start living, it would have been Mike. So every day I try to remember a “Mikeism” and apply it. Like “Live your life like everyONE matters.” or “Never put a period where God put a comma.” Little nuggets like that, applied to my business and life, keep things in perspective and help me return to “life.”
#2 – I COMMUNICATE with my clients and loved ones. There is nothing like grief that will make you want to shut out the world. I know I keep saying this, and I’ll keep saying it until it isn’t true. I have THE BEST job in the world because it has brought me into relationship with some of THE BEST clients I’ve ever known. Had I not communicated what was going on in my life tho, my clients may not have been as patient or understanding. The trick here is not to “over share.” I didn’t want to bring other people down or sound like I was using this experience as an excuse. But, people did need to know why I wasn’t delivering on their expectations. I’m so grateful that I learned this lesson early in my career. Communicate as much as you can, when the communication stops, that’s when fear starts to creep in. So stop it before it starts!
#3 – I LOOKED FORWARD to the future. As I said earlier, life doesn’t stop just because we want it to. And as hard as it has been to look forward, it IS one of the things that has helped me move that direction. At the beginning, it was forced. Bills had to be paid, people needed pictures for Christmas, holiday plans were in fulls swing. I had people depending on me. I slowly started to look beyond my emotions and tackle each task. Somehow, my brain slowly turned back into “production mode.” Though I couldn’t comprehend what 2016 would look like, I could at least see what today would look like and that was progress! Then today turned into tomorrow, and tomorrow turned into next week, and you get the picture. Now we’re here on the eve of 2016, and though it still looks hazy and I haven’t officially done any goal setting or business analysis I’m still optimistic.
2015 Has been quiet the roller coaster of a year. From fears, to joy, to sadness I’ve experienced the gamut of highs and lows and A LOT of change. One thing has remained the same though, I’m still a photographer who is passionate about capturing LOVE in all of its forms and I don’t see that changing any time soon. 2016 is uncertain, uncharted, and full of unknowns, but I’m excited to have a husband to journey those unknowns with and chart our New Year together!
wedding photography by Megan of MorningWild Photography
I hope this little gimps into my life will help others who are struggling with grief (of any kind) while trying to maintain a business on their own. It’s not easy doing so when life is great and you’re working at optimum capacity! I recently read a newsletter by Elsie & Scott of My Own Irresistible Brand and it was very appropriate for all of this. One of the things I took away was this quote “We, the entrepreneurial souls, were born to overcome.” We can RISE and overcome these hardships and face tomorrow with a confidence that we are held by an incredible God who see’s the entire picture. That brings me peace to keep going even when things get hard.
Thank you all for every note, prayer, and thought. You’re dear to me and I hope we can navigate 2016 together in a more open and loving way.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!