Today we’d like to introduce you to Sharon Lewis.
Hi Sharon, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstories.
I quit my corporate job 10 years ago to become a stay-at-home mom. It was not an easy transition because I was so used to working. You associate a lot of your identity with what it is you do. My husband encouraged me to find something outside of mom and family life that I could have as my own. I chose the gym. I hired a trainer and entered the world of bodybuilding competitions. I met a lot of great people in the fitness world including fitness photographers. One of those photographers introduced me to photography. He mentored me for a year and I built my portfolio with the help of my bodybuilder friends. As my confidence and skill grew, I dabbled in other genres like fashion, boudoir, creative portrait, and product photography. When COVID hit I suddenly became more drawn to personal branding photography. I was seeing all these businesses suffering and people quitting their jobs to pursue their passions. More people were interacting online and more people were shopping online. All my clients that were business owners needed content. I made it my goal to use my skills as an image-maker to help businesses survive and thrive in this new and changing reality.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
When I first started photography, the main objective was to learn something new and meet people. It was never to make 6 figures or get published in a prestigious magazine. For the first couple of years, time is spent learning the craft, doing the research, and understanding the business. That often translates into a whole lot of work with extremely little income. The success was mostly in all the knowledge gained. The struggles are not only financial but as a mom to my two young boys, it was sacrificing time away from them. The mom guilt is real. Trying to balance my work life with personal life is always a challenge, but I feel there is an added layer of difficulty working for yourself and working from home. The lines between work time and personal time are that much more blended. That one quote about “Entrepreneurs are willing to work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week” makes me laugh because it’s often true.
Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I love to do two types of photography. The first is personal branding. I like helping small businesses by working with clients to help them realize their vision for their brand. When I’m not doing shoots in Colorado, I am part of a branding team called Reframe Your Brand. We do photoshoot retreats in various locations where women come together for a long weekend to create content. It is a really fun way to do a photoshoot with the support of other women and a team of branding experts focused on helping them succeed. They also get a ton of images both of themselves and group shots with other women. The second type of photography that I enjoy is conceptual portraiture. It is the type of photography where I unleash my creativity. It is also what I think sets me apart from others because I am able to inject a sense of fantasy into any brand. The best example I can think of is when a fitness trainer client started promoting warrior mentality and we did a spartan warrior shoot to help convey the message. I’m an artist at heart and my work can be emotional, surreal or fantastical, but I am able to switch gears and shoot a lifestyle vibe for promoting a brand idea. All my work is individualized to each person and situation so there is a lot of variety which is what keeps me motivated to keep creating the next thing.
What would you say has been one of the most important lessons you’ve learned?
As artists and creatives, we are our own worst critics. There is so much noise in the world filling our minds with doubt and fear. The biggest lesson I’ve learned to quiet the noise is to remind myself that it is not about me. It is about focusing on what I can control and that is to do my best to help that person that needs me. We do not have to do everything alone. We are often stronger working together.
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