Why is mindfulness still one of the hardest things for photographers to grasp?

As I am writing to you, I have just arrived home after working my fourth Saturday in a row, hair in a disgusting greasy bun, about to throw my fourth coffee of the day down my throat – and it’s 6:07pm. Now most experts say you shouldn’t drink coffee after 12 noon, but I’m sure all photographers will beg to differ.

“Hello, my name is Georgie, recovering workaholic…”

“But Georgie, isn’t this your blog post in homage to Mental Health Awareness Week? Which was only some weeks ago…” I hear you cry from behind your keyboard. In fact yes, you are quite right. I’ve not really got off to the best start, have I?

Okay, let’s start again.

Hello, my name is Georgie, recovering workaholic, and I am crap at mindfulness. I hate gratitude journals and meditating to me just feels uncomfortable and well, pointless. I know, I know, I can hear almost all of you reading this gasping with horror, and well if that’s you, perhaps you should stop reading as this post might, I stress might, not be for you.

Lumix camera

But, that fraction of you who are sat there as home thinking “oh my goodness, yes, hello! That’s me! I hate pretending to align my chakras and always focus on the negative” this post is 100% for you my friends.

We are the unpopular few who just don’t get it – and when I say it, I mean ‘self-care’. I’m gearing this up for you photographers out there, cos if you hadn’t already guessed, that’s what I do for a living. I really want to reach out to those lonely creatives that don’t want to feel stupid anymore just because they would rather sleep till 8:15 then get up at the crack of sparrows, just to attend a yoga class or meal prep for the day ahead.

Photographers really struggle as a collective to have ‘hobbies’; usually because photography was once their hobby that they’ve been lucky enough to make their career. But what really ever does fill that void? I know for me, I still haven’t really found what it is I am passionate about outside of work – mainly cos, I’m a bit of a dork, and I love my job. I usually end up working and working through evenings and weekends most weeks… which isn’t really my remedy, more like my poison.

“…have you ever heard the age old mantra, if you like something enough you’ll make time for it?”

There are things I do do (try not to Chandler Bing hysterically laugh… do do…) to get some separation from work, that I didn’t realise was even being mindful, until I stopped to Google what the hell mindfulness was a few weeks ago. And despite what you might think, being mindful and caring for your mental health as a creative, can be, if you put your mind to it, much easier than you think.

Do you want me to share these tit-bits of wisdom with you? Well, you’re here, so lets just presume you do!

someone reading in bed

Personal work

I remember someone saying to me recently, “but what photography work do you do, for you?” And I had to stop and ask myself, hmm, what do I shoot for me? Not a lot, I had to be honest with myself.
I think I lied and said something along the lines of “because my day job is so demanding, I have little time these days for personal work”.

Okay, that isn’t an out ‘n’ out lie, but have you ever heard the age old mantra, if you like something enough you’ll make time for it? Like those crazy people who work god-forsaken hours but still find time to go to the gym… yeah, I am not one of those people. Finding time for work that makes you happy, and is just for you, that’s what really is important.

So for me, my personal work? I hear you ask, well, you’re reading it right now! My blog has become my personal work. This is me officially taking the proverbial pen to paper again, and I’m loving it – writing is something I do for me, that bleeds into my career, and I love it. Even more so because it’s not for a client, or even for a friend – it’s something I do just for me.

If there’s a photoshoot, I’ll be there if it’s at 4:30am on the moon, if I have to”

Bubble bath

Take a day off, just because you can

As a photographer, it’s just common knowledge you have to work all hours God sends you – whether that be 9-5, or perhaps evenings, and even weekends. If there’s a photoshoot, I’ll be there if it’s at 4:30am on the moon, if I have to.

However, I discovered around May of this year, after burning the candle at both ends for just over 5 years, since leaving University, that sometimes a girl’s just got to take a day off, you know?

It was like my mental health stuck up a tiny white flag, waved it furiously in the air and shouted “enough is enough, I can’t take this crap anymore!” and I had somewhat of a mid-twenties crisis. How am I meant to work Monday to Friday, evenings and weekends for the rest of my life? I found myself asking anyone who would listen.

And then it hit me… I don’t! I don’t have to work every hour of the week, just because I feel like I have to. Someone very wise once said to me “just because you’re busy, that doesn’t make you hard working”. It was like I was confusing a busy schedule with feeling hard working and important. It’s about identifying that these two things do not connect – you need to be economical with your time.

Now I take a day off in the week from time to time, or if I know I’m working an evening I take the morning of the day off. Sometimes the days have purpose, I go get a coffee with my Mum, or walk the dog, or even sometimes, most of the time, I have a Sex and the City marathons all by myself, just because I can. And, I kind of like it.

Do the thing you love, don’t just take photos of it

Okay so get this – when I became a recognised food photographer, in the Manchester area at least, I kind of just stopped cooking. I was so busy, running from shoots to events to more shoots, I just didn’t have time to prepare and stock up the fridge like I once did.

I started heavily relying on Jon to do all the cooking – bless him, he is an angel – but I really missed the thing that once made me so happy and filled me with joy.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not a great cook, I’m okay, I make a mean chicken curry and I like to bake banana bread, but I just stopped doing all that, and God did I miss it.

I was surrounding myself with food in my day job, but not saving myself enough time for the thing I loved so much, that made me become a food photographer in the first place – cooking.

So I’m not saying don’t completley stop shooting that thing you love, you’re making a career out of it, good for you! All I’m saying is if you’re a sports photographer, take some time out and go to a football game every once and a while. Or a fashion photographer, take some time every September to go to the A/W fashion shows. Or even like me, a food photographer, just remember to make time for the little things, and don’t lose that fire for that thing that you loved in the first place. You were lucky to find it, please don’t forget it as you excel in your career.

don’t get me wrong, I love a mind-numbing Instagram scroll every now and then…”

dog on bed

Put a limit on social

Social media, the demon of all 21st century businesses. You can’t thrive without one, but having one takes up all of your time, boggles your mind and might as well be a whole other job all together.

I’ve talked before about not getting caught up on the numbers, and creating content for you always comes before how many likes light up on that new upload you posted a half hour ago, but when is it time to say enough’s enough?

Not all together, don’t get me wrong, I love a mind-numbing Instagram scroll every now and then, but can all the scrolling really be good for our souls? Interesting studies have shown that social media apps promote bad mental health, create comparison issues for their users and leave you feeling well, damn right inadequate.

I know I’ve spent the odd Saturday morning looking at my competitors newsfeed and thinking ‘why did they score that client, and not me?’ Forgetting all the amazing things I had achieved that day, week or year, just because Joe Bloggs seems to be doing better – or so he’s choosing to tell you – but that’s a whole other story for another time.

Create limits for yourself like your parents once made you do as a child, I have two strict rules…
1. Only 1.5 hours of social media a day on my work phone, which btw includes WhatsApp
2. No phones, at all, after 9:30pm
Sounds drastic? Yes I know, but no one knows me better than me, and I know I don’t like feeling worthless, inadequate or jealous, do you?

1 in 3 people say that using their smartphone is the last thing they do before going to bed at night”

What’s worse, 1 in 3 people say that using their smartphone is the last thing they do before going to bed at night. So most of us are actually going to sleep and stewing over all these negative feelings last thing we do, before sleeping! Imagine what that’s doing to you, no one deserves to feel bad, especially just before we go off to the land of nod.

Insuring your mind is one of the strongest things you can do as a photographer, no as a creative. You wouldn’t leave that £500 lens hanging around uninsured, so why do we do this to ourselves? So little time is spent on the nurturing, just the doing, working and running around like a headless chicken. I promise you, it will catch up with you – it did me.

It’s so important to find that thing you love that takes you outside of yourself and your natural working habitat. I know for me, it’s that time when the camera is down that I actually make real memories with my family, Jon, and the people around me.

That’s what I want to remember last thing before I go to bed at night, not feelings of tiredness, stress and anxiety.

What’s it going to be for you? What are you going to chose?

All original imagery taken and curated by yours truly, Georgie Glass
Take a look at my food portfolio here, and my lifestyle portfolio here.

All Rights Reserved - Georgie Glass 2018 ®

When you see someone successful it’s easy to think that its all come effortlessly to them. Why is this so? When that’s rarely the case, especially with professional women. In this series I hope to explore the professional realms of different working women, how they’ve got to where they are today, and what nuggets of wisdom we can be empowered by moving forward with our own careers.

This is a monthly catalogue of question and answer interviews, called the Working Woman Series. I hope you enjoy reading these pieces, as much as I enjoyed interviewing these inspiring women.

This month’s installment of the Working Woman Series comes from local blogger, bridal MUA, and business-boss Emma Campbell, more widely known by her alias ‘What Emma Did’.  A bit of a busy lady to say the least; Emma’s main job is running WhatEmmaDid.comwhich hosts content from beauty, to fashion, to reviews of Manchester’s food & drinks scene. The blog is supported by Emma’s social media status. Boasting a following of over 23k, and that’s only on Instagram. Emma has been blogging in Manchester now for just over 8 years, firmly cementing her steak in the Manchester’s social scene.

Working Woman Series -What Emma Did- Portrait

Recently leaving her job in beauty PR to pursue writing full time, Emma is now acting Lifestyle Editor at Lovin’ Manchester where she gets to use her social influencer status to bring her audience the latest happenings and hotspots in Manchester. For those of you who didn’t know (including me before I wrote this piece!) Lovin’ Manchester has over 450K likes on Facebook, and their following grows everyday.  

2018 is set to be one hell of a year for Emma Campbell, and I got to sit down with her to discuss all things in the pipeline for her, her businesses and what gems of wisdom she’d love to share that she wish she new when she was starting out.

1. Having a career, and running two businesses must be manic; what strategies (if any) do you put in place to manage your workloads?

I wish I had the right answer to this and I could probably do with improving how I manage them all a little better, but one thing I find I do have to do is I have to just stick to a list and put everything down to a paper diary. Even though a lot of my career is digital, running the blog and working at Lovin’, I do have to have everything in an old fashioned paper diary. So everyday I will do a to-list and I’ll prioritise everything I need to do that day, but I’ll list things in order of priority, so the most important stuff goes to the top, and then as I’m getting through the tasks I’ll cross them off throughout the day. A big tip for me would be don’t add to your list, always set goals to finish your list and then start a new to-do list for the next day, to avoid feeling guilt about never finishing lists. Honestly the only way I get by at the moment is sticking to those lists!
I wish I could say I implement a cut off time to stop working but at the moment I don’t really, I work right through, which I know is really bad. Now I’m freelance again I’m hoping I’ll be able to schedule time slots for everything I do whether it be Lovin’ or the blog and then evenings will be for make-up bookings and then hopefully by 10pm I can just relax, and stop checking my emails from bed at night.

Working Woman Series -What Emma Did- Portrait

2. What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever been given?

So it’s probably not career advice but I remember about 8 years ago I went to a Harvey Nichols show, I hadn’t been blogging long and it was one of my very first events. An artist who had collaborated with Harvey Nichols was there and I asked her this same question and she said to me always “feel the fear, but do it anyway”. I think when I’m in situation when I’m really scared to take on a certain job for the blog or when I was taking make-up bookings for the first time, especially large parties, I think back to that piece of advice and I think “Okay well I’m really scared, but I’m just going to do it!” I also always like to try and imagine the worst case scenario for a situation, whether that be work or even in life, and half the time they’re not really as scary as you’d of imagined and there’s always a way to overcome an obstacle. If you can handle the worst case scenario, what’s stopping you? I always like to go for it anyway, despite my reservations.

3. What keeps you driven, when things feel stagnant or flat?

Again, this is something I need to improve on too, I need to try and find that thing that encourages me and picks me up when I’m feeling flat. But I find that if I’m having a really quiet week, or not a lot of new commissions have come in, or I might be feeling like something I’ve done isn’t quite good enough. The way I always try and pick myself up is by speaking to other creatives in a similar field to me, that have encouraging words that help keep me going and help me feel inspired. I’m terrible at beating myself up and feeling like I’ve failed at something, especially if I receive any criticism or negative feedback I always end up in that spiral of “what am I doing with my life?” and a bad day can end up a bad week. But once I’ve spoken to another blogger or even a friend who then revitalises that positivity in myself I’m straight back on it. Try to embrace those feelings of negativity and failure, communicate with your peers and don’t be afraid of opening up to share.

4. How do you respond to and get over negative criticism?

It’s a tough one, because I think I am one of these people who takes such pride in their work, like any creative, and if I do get anything negative fed back to me I do often take it to heart. I only ever give myself 24 hours to dwell on an issue or something that’s troubled me, because it’s good to feel how you’re feeling, don’t deny it. If you shut off those feelings and deprive yourself of that emotion it’s only going to come back 2 weeks or 2 months later and hit you harder and stronger then it did before. Accepting negativity is just part of being freelance, and its such a small part too, but it’s so easy to remember the negatives and forget the positives. I just have to in my mind try and focus on the positives, and that’s what keeps me going. It’s life and it happens to everyone, but we’ve got to remember to speak about it and accept how we’re feeling because it’s totally okay.

Lifestyle Blogger - What Emma Did - Portrait

5. What’s your on-the-go snack for when you’re out and about on a busy day?

I’d love to say I’m healthy, but that isn’t always the case! I used to be so healthy and now not as much. It’s not so much a snack but I drink a lot of coffee, not even like an Americano, but the Lattes and Cappuccinos, the unhealthy ones full of milk. But I find if I’m out and about and I’m starving, instead of gorging on chocolate I always opt for a coffee as it’s a drink it lasts and the milk fills me up a bit longer than a snack would. Other than that, I’m not a big fan of junk-food snacking when I’m really busy, so I always try to have something like cashew nuts or cereal bars to hand. I’m quite a carb-focused snacker and I find they really fill me up, whereas fruit and veg just doesn’t do the job for me. I always try and fill up on my 5 day at meal times instead. Cereal bar and a latte are just what I grab when I’m busy.

6. Do you feel there is inequality in your industry in 2018? If so, what can be done to inspire young people to break this?

I have to say I do feel like there is inequality for women in 2018, especially in my industry, but not only that just in life in general. I think it’s more women compare themselves to each other and don’t feel good enough compared to someone else. There’s this need to compare against those who have done really well in life and in their careers. It makes some people feel like they’ll never get there or achieve what others have. We shouldn’t compare ourselves to other successful people in our industries as that’s no way to live your life. If you look at someone who’s really successful, been in their industry for years compared to someone who’s just starting out, you both put the same amount of time and energy into things it just might mean on paper you have got quite the same results yet, but you’re still just as hardworking as that other person.
We all just need to help and celebrate each other more. Women need to stop bringing down other women, and we should all celebrate and empower each other.

7. What are three things in your work arsenal that you just couldn’t live without?

Boring, but my essentials are:
1. My Diary – as I mentioned before, I’ve always got to have my paper diary to hand, and I’m dead fussy as it’s got to be kept really nice and premium looking, so I’ll always look forward to opening it.
2. My Phone – unfortunately, I am glued to it.
3. My Laptop – Mainly because I do everything on it. For my 30th I got an iPad and I thought this was a genius idea as it would stop me carrying my bulky laptop around but it didn’t! I just need my laptop with me wherever I go, there’s nothing like setting up somewhere and being able to type properly. Even right down to my social media scheduling – I do it all on *Hootsuite, from my Laptop.

8. If someone was looking to start their own business or launch a new idea what would be your best piece of advice for them? Based on your own success.

This is probably a boring and sensible one but I do think you do need that sensible voice every now and then. “Always make sure you have a back-up plan or a Plan B” before you properly go into whatever it is you want to do. I only say that as I know how it can feel. I did quit my full time job about 4-5 years ago now to go full time with my blog and at that time I just bought my house, and I had a car on finance, and savings to think about. I just panicked, “what if I have a quiet month?” I thought, and I decided I just can’t do it.
Now I’m just in a very different place than I was those years ago, I’m in a much better financial situation. It’s so easy to big yourself up like “you go girl, you can do this!” and the girl-boss motivation is great, but at the end of the day if you’re not financially secure incase anything does go wrong then it’s not ideal. Don’t let finance stand in your way, just make sure you’ve got that safety net to catch you, if needs be.

What Emma Did- Portrait - Beauty Blogger

9. What is your favourite Instagram account? Why?

There’s an influencer called Kristy Green (@kristyjgreen), and she’s not so much a blogger, she’s just primarily a social influencer. I’m not sure if she was trained in beauty originally but she’s just a major influencer now. She really inspires me because her life is absolute goals. I was in awe of her when I found out her Instagram isn’t affiliated to any website or blog. She’s created this incredible career off the back of her social media and to me that is incredible. Her Instagram is huge, she has a mega following, but her content is amazing and she works incredibly hard, but she inspires me to think that if Christy did it, I can do it too.
Then other then that, of course Victoria (@inthefrow). Quite a standard one that I am sure everyone says, but as she’s grown up here in Manchester to me she’s just a normal girl who’s worked her backside off to be where she is today. She inspires me everyday to reach my goals.

10. Who is your career icon? Who inspires you?

I’d say the women who I meet everyday, or who I meet in the blogging world either on social media, online or at events, they are the women who inspire me the most.  Basically anybody who is doing what they love everyday, who doesn’t do it for the money but for the love of it. Those women who are so passionate about what they do, it’s the first thing they think about when they jump out of bed every morning, those are the women who inspire me. Hat’s off to those women who do it everyday, that’s exactly what we should all be striving to do.

What Emma Did Instagram

Inspired by Emma’s story? Reach out to her on Instagram.
@whatemmadid_ or follow her MUA account @cheshirebridalmakeup

Working Woman Series -What Emma Did- Portrait

All portraits of Emma were taken by yours truly, and are copyright of Georgie Glass 2018.

*Hootsuite – What is Hootsuite? It’s a social media management platform. The system’s user interface takes the form of a dashboard, and supports social network integrations for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, and many more.
All Rights Reserved - Georgie Glass 2018 ®

When you see someone successful it’s easy to think that its all come effortlessly to them. Why is this so? When that’s rarely the case, especially with professional women. In this series I hope to explore the professional realms of different working women, how they’ve got to where they are today, and what nuggets of wisdom we can be empowered by moving forward with our own careers.

This is a monthly catalogue of question and answer interviews, called the Working Woman Series. I hope you enjoy reading these pieces, as much as I enjoyed interviewing these inspiring women.

February brings us such an exciting installment of the Working Woman Series, well it certainly is for me anyway, as this lady is someone I’ve looked up to and followed for an awfully long time.
Rebecca Warriner is a 27 year old photographer and blogger who resides in the beautiful Nottingham countryside. Lesser known day to day by her full name, if you know Rebecca you’ll know her by her online alias, From Roses. As Rebecca is a full time beauty and lifestyle blogger, she dedicates her days creating beautiful online content for the everyday girl. From skincare to style, and even to mental health, collaborating with brands on campaigns and projects. Rebecca shares with us her insights into the day to day, and everything that life may throw at us.

Now time to geek off a little; Rebecca’s skills as a photographer don’t just come down to a keen eye and beautiful styling; She graduated from University with a first class honors degree in Photography with Editorial & Advertising. Now anyone could know this (as she does tell us so on her website) however, I know all this as Rebecca and I actually graduated from the same University, from the very same course, just one year apart.
It’s a real treat for me to have her as part of this series, as following her career develop over the years since Uni has been such a pleasure, and she’s been such an inspiration to me. I’m not even sure Rebecca knows about my girl-boss crush, but what a time to tell her ey?

All embarrassment aside, Rebecca tells me more about her career has developed and changed over the years “…When I came out of university I went to work with my sister as a classroom assistant… During that time I had some health issues flare up leading me to take 11 months out of the work place, and due to complications I became self-employed. I did little photography jobs and then started up an online magazine with a close friend which we ran for a couple of years. During that time I was constantly blogging still and building up my audience. When we closed the magazine that’s when I decided I wanted to run the blog full time.”

And if all the reasons above aren’t enough to compel you to keep reading, have you heard about her gorgeous pooch Josie..?

If this doesn’t get you reading, I don’t know what will.

***

What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever been given?

Your job isn’t to answer e-mails’. I’m an absolute slave to my inbox and can get lost in it for hours but that isn’t the only thing I have to focus on. Everybody seems to constantly talk about e-mails but it’s not my full time job. 

What’s your on-the-go snack for when you’re out and about on a busy day?

Right now, I’m really into apples. Last year I stopped eating fruit for health reasons and I’m so slowly working it back into my diet and thoroughly enjoying it.

How do you balance your personal life with work?

To be honest, I don’t. It’s still something I struggle with and having a boyfriend who on average spends a good 9/10 months away from home it’s meant that I’ve developed an odd work pattern as I’ve become so used to having my time completely to myself. This year saw a big change though and I’ve struggled striking a balance, so each day I try to have at least 1 hour where I’m not sat on a screen. It’s something I’m constantly working towards and it changes constantly but I certainly struggle.

What maxims do you live or work by?

‘You do you’ – for so long I was so consumed by what other people were doing it controlled my life and was such an unhealthy pattern to get into. Focusing on myself and letting other people do the same has made me so much happier.

What is your favourite Instagram account? Why?

I mean, obviously my dogs Instagram is one of my favourites because she’s the light of my life (@josiethewhippie) but as that’s completely biased. I have to say right now @rebecca.kathryn, she’s somebody who I’ve connected with as we both have whippet crosses and they’re totally unique, she’s an illustrator and just a generally lovely person to speak to.

Do you feel there is inequality in the workplace in 2018? If so, what can be done to inspire young people to break this?

As I don’t work in a traditional environment I feel like I can’t answer this properly. But in the blogging world, certainly not. There are so many issues in this industry that have to be tackled, issues with being paid, spoken to and treated like absolute garbage by the vast majority of people and so many more things to deal with on a daily basis. As a predominately female industry in general it seems to be treated as an easy life, a simple career that is a luxury.

How do you respond to other people’s reaction to your career success? Whether it be positive or negative?

In general, I think whenever people find out what I do their response is generally pretty similar. They ask me how I make money, is it real job and then just general queries of how it works. As it’s still something that is so new, people are fascinated.

What career set backs have you had to overcome? And what have you learned from them?

One of the biggest ones is to make sure you can pay your bills. In 2016 I made a big financial loss due to companies going bankrupt. That made me realise when you’re your own boss and you’re in charge of everything, you have to be smart with your money. 

What are three things in your work arsenal that you just couldn’t live without?

My camera, my MacBook and probably my phone. Without them I wouldn’t be able to do my job, if I can add in a bonus one i’d say it’d be a notepad, as I’d also be lost without my lists.

What’s your biggest goal for the next year ahead?

Probably to find a little more a balance and take more time away from my work. And also just to embrace work and keep on doing what I’m doing and make it as awesome as I possibly can.

Inspired by Rebecca’s career? Reach out to her on Instagram.
@fromrosesxo

All photographs are credited to Rebecca herself.

All Rights Reserved - Georgie Glass 2018 ®