When I was 13, YouTube was quickly taking over the teenage world. As if overnight, adolescents like myself could now connect and experience life through the lens of another. Those with strengths in organizing could now show the world their tips and tricks while others vlogged religiously. It was new, exciting, and very enticing to my 13 year old mind.
One area on YouTube that sparked my liking was makeup. The 90's big hair and bold eyeshadow was slowly fading into the background while new techniques such as contouring, highlighting, and winged eyeshadow were growing trends. As I watched clips of girls transforming everything from jaw lines, eye appearance, and even nose size, I was mesmerized. Mainly because this 13 year old knew nothing but chalky base and clumpy mascara. So I turned to my new online experts and faithfully watched their techniques.
I would find a certain channel for a bit of time, writing down each step and reviewing over and over again how to wing that eyeliner. I watched carefully and even recorded the exact makeup line they purchased. I wanted my result to be exactly like theirs. For they looked beautiful in my eyes, and I wanted that feeling too.
After several months, I would branch out and find another makeup channel. Girls that sported bright and bold looks and others that kept to the soft and natural tones, I watched them all. And as I began to learn from another I would begin to discover something: they were doing it wrong (or so I thought).
"What? They put base on before eyeshadow? What happens if they mess up their eyeshadow and it smudges the base? This isn't how the first YouTube channel taught me. They must not know."
This would go on and very soon, my makeup process was in disarray. Well, to be honest, it's always been in disarray, so just imagine it one step more.
I was confused. Is there not a certain way we must go about makeup? Eventually, I grew frustrated with my efforts and tired of collecting "makeup essentials" I barely used.
Why am I giving you a detailed story of the evolution of Hailey's makeup? Because believe it or not, it taught me a thing or two about photography.
When I entered the world of photography and started my business at 18, I was scared, insecure with my ability, and worried how people would take me. What if my ways with the camera are wrong? I'm not achieving a look that is similar to others. Would I just be like every other teenager who has an affinity with the shutter?
Fast forward from my 13 year makeup-attracted self, and I've seen growth. I've seen change, I've seen the story of me.
I had to learn something: you'll have to learn it too.
The key to success comes from your talents and abilities- not how well you can copy another's techniques.
It should be "how far are you willing to take your ability?" What dreams do you want to achieve? I believe this is such a vital component in your success that I had to make it the first part of this photography series. The story of you.
You are unique- and I hope you never hear otherwise. Trust me, you'll hear otherwise, but I don't want you to internalize it. I want it to roll off like a bead of rain that pelts onto an umbrella. You have your own set of skills, abilities, and a personality that no one else could ever fully recreate.
But the story of you goes beyond photography and makeup- it's applicable to your entire life. You see, the beautiful thing about personality and personal style is that it's reflected in everything you do! The way you talk to others, decorate, dream, apply makeup, and even the way you use a camera.
As you embark on your own photography journey, my request is simple: take the rules of photography but never seek to imitate another's personality or style. Because if you do, you're hiding your light and doing a disservice to yourself. You're depriving the world of your talents.
Be a chocolate chunk in the world of sugar cookies.
Consider the story of you- what are your dreams, your passions, your strong suits? Do you have an eye for detail, a love for portraits, or a new idea to rock the photography world? You can learn camera rules, the importance of good lighting, and how to make the switch to RAW, but you can't be taught style.
Because that, my friend...