For Photographers: question and answer
Hey y'all! I get asked this question often and I feel like it would be great to share my answer and thoughts publicly in case anyone else would benefit from them in any possible way!
" I was just looking at your photography and it is so beautiful! I would just love to ask about photography and life!! I would love to hear about how you incorporate Jesus into photography, and about missions photography work. That would so be my heart, and I am trying to figure out more of what it looks like! - Corrine "
That is such a wonderful and thoughtful question. It really is a process to find a balance as a Christian on what it looks like to be an artist and a minister of the Gospel. I think that each individual will have a different answer to this question and their art/business/ministries will look differently according to what the Lord has for them.
That being said, I will explain my personal process a little more and the steps that lead me here. : ) I believe that God as called me not to photography, not to small business ownership, not to being an artist, but to ministering to marriages and families. I believe He has made it clear that He has placed me in my line of work so that I can speak life and love and Jesus into the foundations of marriages, into the foundations of the generations to flow through those unions, and into the families and friends and communities I get to encounter on wedding days. So in answer to your question about Missions photography, my main "mission" is Relationships. I can write another time about my global service work, as it sort of separately fits into this picture.
So, in identifying my main ministry point, Relationships, it became easier to then draw some guidelines and dream up some vision on how to best do that. What do you think your main ministry point is? What area do you feel He is calling you into? Art? Global missions? Relationships? Church service? I think this is the first step in figuring out the right balance and blending of photography and ministry for you.
From there, I looked at the ways the Lord has gifted me: I am a photographer, an artist, a writer, a counselor and an administrator. These giftings enable me to step fulling into wedding photography and business ownership and relational ministry. What ways has He gifted you? This can help you so much in seeing how you have already been equipped. For example: some people aren’t gifted administratively, and they thrive more with a boss and a structured system; they could benefit by working for a firm or an agency instead of navigating the challenges of running their own business. Calling out and naming our giftings is a beautifully simple way of seeing what He is already doing in us, how He is already preparing us and what direction He is already pointing us. If you have trouble with this, ask some people close to you to call some gifts out that they've observed in you. Sometimes it's hard for us to see it in ourselves, but our loved ones don't miss a thing. : )
So establishing what specifically He is calling you to, and how He has already equipped you, the next step is what does that look like? And that step is a doozy, right? It’s so hard to dream up a vision, at least it is for me! I think with this step, it’s important to feel freedom to pull from tradition. We do not need to make things more difficult with unnecessary “new” and “unique” methods when there are proven paths that work. So it’s great to ask for wisdom of those who have gone before you, to model your structure and decisions after some of theirs. That being said, you will still need prayer and a willingness to let God ultimately guide your decisions, even if what He wants to do seems crazy. His crazy ideas are usually the best ones, anyway.
So the advice that I can share here, as one who has gone before you, is this: I think personally the biggest difference I have found in myself than in some photographers is that I completely 100% consider my business to be my ministry. I consider it in the same way someone who works for the Church and raises support would view their job. My job is my ministry. My job is my area of influence. My job is my invitation to make changes and waves for the Kingdom. This is my little corner of the world where I can pour myself out to help build the bridge between The Old World That Is Passing Away and The New World That Is Coming. I try to remain in this mindset as I communicate with clients, as I work on the wedding day, as I write emails and answer phone calls and mail out dvds. Every mundane task, suddenly, is a holy act when our hearts are in the place of humble servitude. I certainly fail at this but I keep trying, because it’s really really important. I think this mindset is the thing I want to keep at the core of my business, and would encourage others to do the same. We are impactful no matter what, for good or for not-so-good, intentionally or unintentionally, and it's important to know that everything we do makes a difference. So let's make the right difference.
All of that to say, You can do this! I hope that some of these thoughts and questions were helpful, Corrine. Thank you for your willingness to reach out and ask! I'm excited for all that's ahead for you.
* If you guys have any other questions feel free to write them in the comments section or in an email! *