Sunday, after unloading the car, eating, showering, and enjoying my comfortable couch for a while, I started to become curious as to what my camera had captured with the FIVE HUNDRED pictures I took at Krause Springs.

The spot really photographs itself, even with a cell phone camera (haven’t touched the real ones yet).

In context, I took SEVEN HUNDRED on the cruise, so apparently I average approximately a hundred shots per day while in pretty places.  Since I had plenty of time with the small piece of land we were camping on, I experimented a lot with different modes and exposures and settings and I was excited to see what worked and what didn’t.  I didn’t worry TOO MUCH about getting the perfect shot, as it’s a place I could easily return to on a weekend day trip. 

Before digging in, I realized that I needed to be tough with myself about finishing projects before I start a new one.  I had the top 10 “application package” photos from the cruise picked out and ready to edit, and as someone with “squirrel” syndrome, I knew I needed to finish those first and put that project to bed.  I probably spent too much time agonizing over making them perfect on Sunday but I wanted to give myself the best shot of being accepted.

This week, I bit the bullet and submitted my photos all around the internets.

  • Submitted to a contest.  If you have a sec, vote my scuba photo up (you don’t even have to register or anything).
  • Got involved with Nat Geo Your Shot and submitted some photos to the We Love Animals Assignment.  It seems like a really neat community that I hope to continue to involve myself in.
  • Submitted eight of my best photos to Getty/iStock, Shutterstock, and Adobe Stock.

This being one of my favorites…

As you can see by the links (even though right now the first one isn’t working yet :P), I’ve been accepted to two out of the three, the first within 24 hours and the second well within 48.  Also, ALL the photos I submitted were accepted. 

At first I was insanely pleased.  Then, as I tend to do, the doubt creeps in… maybe EVERYONE gets in and this is like a participation trophy.  I poked around the internet and in fact that is NOT the case, it’s actually a pretty nice accomplishment to do that on the first try, and iStock/Getty can take up to a month or more to get back to you sometimes, so I’m back to feeling pretty great about things. 

After going through the process, I now know my insanely high quality bar is above theirs.  And, the fact is, you have the best chance in making sales by having a HUGE portfolio.  Now it’s time to test the limits and see what flies.  Obviously I don’t want to put up a bunch of crap, but I have at least 15 more shots that I agonized over which were great but not my top 10.  Also, I have some stunning shots from Bonaire that more than meet the resolution requirements of 4 mexapixels or more but aren’t as high quality.  I’m going to gather up some of those and start submitting over the coming weeks.  I don’t want to rack up a nasty rejection rate because on some sites that matters, so I’ll take it slow, but it’s nice to know that at very least the best of what I’m doing meets the quality standards needed.

I feel like this one now might suffice even if it’s not *quite* as high quality.

In the future, I think I’ll pick out my absolute best ones and put them aside for amazing opportunities and submissions to stuff like this, but I don’t regret putting my best foot forward for the application process.

This is a lot of words about photography and process on a blog that is mostly triathlon and food and sometimes navel gazing – but I’m getting to that last one, I promise.  My theme for the year, in triathlon, in #projectraceweight, in my creative pursuits like writing, photography, one-take videos, it’s been all about GETTING OUT OF MY OWN WAY. 

Sometimes when you have a little confidence in yourself, awesome things happen.

Surprising no one but myself, my quality bar for myself to feel worthy of something is apparently much higher than the world’s.  Sometimes I have remember to lower my expectations and get moving.  I’m not sure when NO or FAILURE or NOT GOOD ENOUGH TRY AGAIN became fearful things, and I’ve been able to hide it well with a veil of apathy in the past, but I was never that kind of a kid.  I didn’t stand under the high dive going “eh, I don’t want to do that, looks lame (read: scary)”.  I was the one climbing the stairs repeatedly to free fall as many times as the day would let me.  Yeah, sometimes I’d over or under-rotate and smack my body on the water and be temporarily in pain, but that didn’t prohibit me from trying again.

It’s the same with these opportunities.  A “smack” isn’t anything to fear, and a proverbial smack is even less of an issue, there’s not physical pain or red welts to go with it, just some hurt feelers.  If I set a goal and I don’t reach it, it’s not that I’m a horrible human being, it’s that I still have some work to do in that areas and god forbid I wasn’t perfect the first time.  However, it’s actually pretty nice to be perfect the first time when you can be. 🙂

There’s one common thread that I’ll need to face here soon.  I have this little corner of the internet, Adjusted Reality.  I have social media accounts.  I have a You Tube channel.  I plan to set up either a section of Adjusted Reality for photography or maybe make a standalone site for it.  I have a book that eventually I will finish editing and I’ll want to share it with the world.  There’s all sorts of crazy future plans too but this is what’s in the hopper RIGHT NOW.

(my feelings right now about self-marketing…)

If I want to make the leap from a couple hundred followers on Insta and Twitter, somewhere between 100-1000 (if I’m lucky) page views here, and crickets pretty much everywhere else, I’m going to need to get a little more outgoing.  If my content is good (which is subjective, but I need to believe in it to market it, so I will), that’s one piece.  That’s what I’m working on now, creating quality content, including the content of my actual body (#projectraceweight), and my basket of accomplishments (Nationals Qualifier, Stock Photographer, etc).

However, eventually, I’m going to need to learn how to make my voice heard in all the noise.  It’s not enough to just be out there, as much as I wish it was with all my heart.  You have to SHOUT from the rooftops to get heard in all the noise.  I’m getting better at being out there and even interacting with people on social media without feeling like a creeper (being part of the #wattagebrigade has really helped here).  But I’m really terrible about actually “hawking my wares”, so to speak.

Here are my two issues:

Knowledge: I’m not an expert in this stuff.  I’m learning as I can, but I really do feel like I could use a course specifically on how to market yourself.  I want to pay someone who is an authority in this some money and have them dump all the knowledge on me so I can take copious notes and develop a foolproof plan and checklist of all the things I need to do to dominate the world.

This is fixable with some time and money, and something I’m going to prioritize in the next offseason.  However, I’m never going to get anywhere with that until I fully deal with the second thing…

Confidence: By uncovering the fact that I was using apathy to cover for insecurity, I’ve made a lot of strides here.  Whenever I start feeling ennui about something that I was excited about, I try to analyze what happened.  Sometimes it’s true *overwhelm*, which is valid and means I need to focus on LESS at that particular moment.  However, sometimes, it’s just that the reality of what I’m about to do (submit a photo for critique, toe the line of a triathlon, be goofy on camera, publish some writing) makes me a little uncomfortable.  Generally, I’m at the point where I can get over it and do it and it’s great.

Feels good, man.

However, the next step is to actually let people know it’s there, which feels like sticking my hand into the fire yet again, after it’s burning hotter.  I ALREADY did the uncomfortable thing and put it out there, now I literally have to shout to call attention to this vulnerable thing that I have done!  Hello!  Here it is!  Come check out this little piece of my soul and pick it apart, everyone!  Previously, I was convinced it was all knowledge I lacked, but now I’ve found that I’ve hesitated to take steps that would increase visibility on various work I’ve done.  I’ve made various excuses about that but it honestly boils down to confidence in my self, and the confidence to be vulnerable to an audience that could potentially call me not nice names.

But as they say, sticks and stones can break my bones but names can never hurt me.  I’ve spent 2018 creating and it has felt AMAZING.  I’ve gotten over a lot of things and have put my work out into the world and will continue to do so.  Soon, though, my goal is to figure out how to confidently hawk my wares, both technically and also having the chutzpah to not just do a thing, but also point and it while shouting it’s praises.