Don't Let Fear Win


I was an awkward kid growing up...

I was the middle child in between two very handsome and popular brothers, while I walked around in a head gear for a year in elementary school to correct my massive 1 inch over-bite. Yes, you read that right. ONE INCH! I was in braces for 4 years, and a retainer for another year or two after that. I had to do mouth therapy to learn the proper way to swallow my food and saliva in order to keep my tongue from pushing my teeth forward and I had to do exercises to strengthen my lips. Yes, it's as weird as it sounds. I remained a pretty confident kid and made the best of what could have been a humiliating year. When it came to my physical appearance, I never really cared what other people thought or said. What I did care about was looking dumb in front of people. The fear of failure and struggling to discover my passion is what really held me back.  I was shy, but would speak up when needed. I'm still told that I tend to keep quiet unless I have something I find important enough to say. I was confident, but reserved. Determined, but afraid to fail. And I walked around wearing t-shirts that were always a size or two too big so that I would fit in with my brothers. I also hated anything remotely uncomfortable and all things girly, and was much happier playing in the dirt than I was hosting a tea party.

I failed quite a bit in school. I don't think I ever flunked a class, but I do remember getting some D's, and hovering somewhere between the B's and C's throughout most of my high school and college years. English was the only core class besides choir and P.E. that I did well in.

Academics was one area where I was a bit envious of my older brother. He was able to study for all of 20 minutes and ace every test. He had what seemed like a photographic memory, and every bit of information would just be locked in his brain safe and secure until it was time to take the test. I, on the other hand, would read the same paragraph over and over again and still not remember what I had just read. It was incredibly frustrating! I can't even express the amount of joy that I felt after I took my very last test. 

Bliss!! Sheer bliss!

What I learned as I got into my early 20's was that if I'm not into it, then the information is not going to stick. And it wasn't out of rebellion or for lack of trying. It literally came down to whether or not there was a legit interest. If there was, then my brain, my weirdly complicated brain, would retain the information! I came to this realization when I went searching for a career. I ended up going to massage therapy school back in 2005, and I can still tell you 12 years later the names of most of the bones and muscles that I learned about in my anatomy course. I never knew that my mind was able to retain detailed book knowledge in that way, other than the Bible. Which makes sense, seeing as the Bible is something else I'm passionate about. The same can also be said for photography. I always hated working. Even being a massage therapist became a burden(more so physically than anything else). The thought of opening my own business completely freaked me out. The marketing, keeping up with finances, and taxes... oh, the taxes really scared me!! That fear of failure and messing something up came creeping in again. But with photography I have such a deep desire to learn and grow and be the best I can be! So much so that I'm not letting the fear and level of difficulty in running a business scare me away. I want to soak up every bit of knowledge that I can. Just ask my husband. I drive him a little crazy with it at times! But this sort of passion is something I never had at any other stage of my academic or professional career. I never once was in a job that I got excited about attending. In fact, I dreaded it and just sat counting down the minutes until I could punch out.

But now, I have to watch the clock for a completely different reason. Now, it's to make sure I don't work too long. It's a pretty awesome feeling! 

Was I afraid of failing as a photographer? Absolutely! I wanted to start long before I did, but I was scared of learning the darkroom and feeling... well, dumb. I wish I had pushed that apprehension aside back then, and just gone for it. The business part of it all isn't my favorite, but the fact that I'm doing it says a lot!! The challenge of taking an excellent photograph is what I love the most about this business of mine. I absolutely love being able to see from one year to the next the growth that has taken place displayed right in front of me in my photographs. Being able to see the joy that I bring my clients is pretty incredible as well! I've also learned that the only person I need to compare myself to is me. I look to others who are more advanced then myself and gain inspiration from the art that they create, but I look at their level of work as a goal, and not as a way to feel bad about where I am today.

I look at where I started back in 2013 when I was taking my first born's monthly pictures, which, as you can see were not great. Out of focus, clipping the highlights, and shooting in auto because I had no clue what I was doing. Sorry Olivia! But then I look at where I am 4 years later, and I am able to recognize the journey of knowledge and growth that has taken place. I will always have so much to learn, as art is ever evolving, and the information is vast, and I hope that I maintain the same passion to want to continue learning and improving. With every session, with every family, I want to be better than the photographer that I was at the session before.


The road to get to where I am today hasn't been pretty or perfect, and there's still so much more to journey through in this crazy life and business. The fear of failure is still going pretty strong, but my desire to succeed is even stronger! So to my younger self. That awkward teenager and young adult who was always searching, always struggling and who fought and cried to get through those challenging learning years and less than perfect jobs... to her I say "Don't let fear win!"  Always power through, push the limits, and keep moving forward!


And to any of you out there who may be wanting to give up on your passion, or are afraid to start something you think you will love. Stay the coarse. Take the leap. Don't let fear or frustration win! And remember to...


Embrace every moment,
Nikki G.


Olive Shoot Photography
Houston Family Photographer
Family Documentary Photographer

Documenting your story
so that you can simply live it.