What is Failure?

I took some time off from my daily reading for a while. Not by choice, I just in all honesty got lazy. Summer is a busy time for my business, which is wonderful. I love staying busy and having work but it doesn't always leave much down time, and since the other part of my life lately is lifting i didn't pick up my books for a bit. However, I recently was motivated to start again. This week, i picked up my journal and got busy filling my heart and soul with beautiful words of authors again and it gives me so much energy for everything else. 

John C. Maxwell has been an author I've been reading from lately, and I purchased The Complete 101 Collection after enjoying two of his previous books. it's a collection of smaller books he wrote, and i'm already feeling inspired and strong as I read. I'm on Attitude, and a few chapters about failure and success.

A lot of times, i hear people talking about their dreams and being afraid of failure. Many times it's disguised fear as they make excuses like they don't have enough money, it's not the right time, or waiting for something to fall into their lap. 

I'm passionate about photography and lifting heavy weight and let me tell you, i tend to fail a lot. Especially in the beginning of my photography career (don't get my wrong, i still make mistakes and get frustrated)  when i didn't know what to do, or how to fix it or couldn't get the outcome i envisioned, i felt i was failing. Luckily, i was working with about 10 other photographers and since it wasn't an option just to not try, I had to keep going. There were tough days when i was told i wasn't good, days i would go home crying, i didn't see improvement, but i knew it's what i loved. i did what i could, followed other photographers, went to conventions to learn, stalked online, and practiced as much as i could surrounding myself with people who were better than me. I didn't wait until i had more money, or until the time i was right. i started by purchasing the best camera i could and a kit lens in college. i couldn't even pay it off for years and it wasn't expensive. i practiced all the time, and didn't wait for opportunities but asked people (and made people) if i could photograph them. i jumped at a job that would put me in the position to be photographing weddings daily as a second shooter. I'm not telling you this to say i'm better or have it figured out, i'm telling you this because whatever goal or dream you have you can start now. Start before you're ready. 

Lifting can be looked at it the same way. There are days i can't physically get the weight up that a week ago i could. There are times when i know i could do better, and for whatever reason just have a bad day. I definitely don't give up. i finish my workout, and know that the next time, i'll get it. and maybe i won't. i might not get heavy weight up for a few weeks or months. i have set backs where i tweak my back or my knee and i have to take it easy. Weight lifting has taught me patience in a way nothing else has. Only by my daily efforts can i see that physical change I want. Patience is still something huge i struggle with, but I know with time and daily practice, I will continue to lift more than I ever thought i could when i first started.  

Basically, "every successful person is someone who failed, yet never regarded himself as a failure." I fail a lot. i reach out to blogs, people, organizations for photography. I get turned down, I don't get every job i feel I'd be perfect for. I still sometimes can't get those shots i envision. But i work on it. i get better every day, and practice on my own time so when a client desires a certain look, i can feel confident about it. 

I'm not a failure, I just failed at doing something, but it's only a momentary event, while i strive to get better. 

So why am i sharing this today? You're not alone. No one wants to be seen as a failure, or think they worked hard for nothing. I'm also telling you, every successful person you see or admire has endured failures too. Theodore Roosevelt said " There has not yet been a person in our history who led a life of ease whose name is worth remembering." I fail often. But each time I"m turned down, don't get the weight i want up off the ground, or don't place in a competition, It's still great experience, i get more out of my comfort zone to keep trying and eventually there's that yes, winning, or getting the weight up. it takes time, practice, and lots of failing. 

So what is failure?- it's when you stop trying after there's a setback. but when you overcome that setback, i promise that's where the most reward lies. 


So instead of leaving you with just the keep going after it talk, i want you to know i'm here. you can email and ask any questions. Whether it's fitness, how i stay motivated, books or anything. I'd Love to hear from you!


Getting out of my creative rut and finding beauty -self portraits

Why am i sharing these with you today? i have been in a creative rut. i've wanted to try new things, wanted to have these wonderful sparks of imagination that hit me and send my creative side over, sharing something that i hadn't. i was looking for fresh ideas, but i couldn't get them executed in my head. i had saved images that inspired me, but i couldn't make it happen. 

Then i hit the book store again. a couple days ago i felt a twinge that i needed more books. i knew i was almost done with the current ones, and would need new material soon. before i head to the bookstore, i find my favorite photographers and business people and search what they recommend, but nothing called to my heart. so i went to find something on my own. i bought two inspiration women's books and one business book. i have been journaling for pages ever since. 


i wanted to share new material to inspire and motivate you to get your portrait taken.  it's so important for your heart and soul. it gives me more confidence, and let's me see myself differently. but this time, those words don't seem enough. i want to share with you instead the importance i've found that reading self-help books and business books and devotionals have helped me with my confidence, my thought process, and my creative ability. 

i follow photographers and business people. i read their blogs, watch their videos, and take notes on their advice. It's a wonderful way to learn and grow. but reading women's books, books of encouragement, beauty, and feeling loved has helped me in such a unique way with my photography. i'm not alone in wanting to feel beautiful, or loved and when i sit down and read and take in their lovely words, i have time to reflect. it's been oozing into my photographs, showing all the wonderful things i'm learning about beauty. 


how did i get out of my rut? i took time for myself. i have a chair on the patio in the front of my house where i go to sit, read, think, and journal. i take in the quietness that not enough of us search for. i listen to the birds, and the bikes cruising by, and let me be alone with all those thoughts. it's a time to make sense of them, to understand fully what they mean and to get deeper into how i feel, and what i want. I read thought-provoking books. who doesn't love a good novel? you can get lost in their world, and soon you become a character, but there's something about the books that push my own desires, and passions that is so powerful. i soon learn about myself, my desires, and why i desire them. i connect everything that i've been thinking about, and grasp why i was thinking them. i journal and get it down, so i can get them out. i release the ideas, so i can have bigger ones!   

Since i started doing this, i've journaled and found more about who i am, why i'm a photographer, my purpose in life, being a confident woman, and so much more. 


i'm not just sharing photographs that have been stuck in my head, and finally i was able to visualize what i wanted. (although it's definitely part!) i'm sharing the thoughts finally making sense, and understanding the importance or finding a completely silent place and learning about you. what happened when i did this, i felt beautiful on the inside and out. i was able to be creative again and feel inspired. 


i'm here to encourage you in your beauty. own it. i'm here to photograph you and show that beauty. i'm also here to share how i am finding mine, and how you can too. i'm challenging you to take 5 minutes when you can, and find a peaceful place, wherever that may be for you. be in silence, and bring paper and a pen. write down all those beautiful thoughts you have, the things you want, the things you love about you, and whatever you feel led to write. if you can, a few times a week read a chapter of a book (i can recommend a few!) and write down how it makes you feel. soon you'll be exploring all those lovely thoughts and understanding more about yourself. 


so this is me, showing you in a visual way how my thoughts are transferring to my work. i wanted sexy, fresh, photos i could share with everyone, and i finally got out of my rut and found exactly what was in my head all along. i wanted simplicity, beauty, just me. 


verse that i found that especially related to this week: 1 Thess.5:11- Therefore encourage one another & edify one another. 

i've listed some books you can click and buy right from amazon! just click below and it'll head on over! these aren't the ones i'm currently reading, but have finished and found to be some of my favorites! if you have questions about where to start, i'm always here to help. don't hesitate to ask me anything you need.

-Shanna Star

By John Eldredge, Stasi Eldredge
By Stasi Eldredge
By Joyce Meyer
By Spencer Johnson
By Gary D Chapman
By Seth Godin
By John Eldredge
By Stormie Omartian
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Exciting news!

What better way to start off a blog, then with new and exciting news!? Last week Danette Chappell invited me to come shoot some chefs and food down on the strip. (Through the amazing Juanita, who we both used to work with.) anyway, i went, shot a little but mostly tagged along to learn all things new! i had never shot food before. 

duh duh duh duhhh.. now the news, she's going to be using a few photos in her magazine which means, my picture ALSO gets to be in that magazine. even though it's not my photography strongpoint, it's the first time anything will be published. soooo exciting! i soon noticed i had absolutely no photos suitable enough for a magazine. so once again danette to the rescue of new photos. so here's a few she took! 

OH can you guess what lens she used? because it is fabulous.