Industry & Colleagues


I told myself this year I'd start actually 'blogging' more often, and for the most part, I have been doing pretty OK... only I've mostly just been posting client galleries (with the exception of this doggy mini post!). Then, last night, I had dinner with a group of 9 other local professional photographers and I felt suddenly inspired to write something new. Because I am so incrediblybeyondwordsthankful to have these people in my professional life. They lift me up, inspire me to do better, hold myself to a higher standard, and be totally ok with who I am as a professional and creative. They even appreciate my snarky snarkiness... or at least I think they do... perception is reality, right...right?! A large percentage of us even made the trip to Nashville together last January/February for one of the largest photo conferences in the country (maybe world?), and it was so awesome getting to do something like that with people who know what it's like to do what I do from my own little town. We teach each other, we laugh with each other, and support each other through those difficult situations that sometimes, and irrationally, make us want to throw in the towel. I cannot express to you how valuable that is.

(Please excuse the terrible iPhone photography- we do not bring our cameras to social events... unless someone is paying us... haha.)

panama-city-beach-destination-wedding-photographer-family-photography-30a-desiree-gardner From our Christmas meetup: panama-city-beach-destination-wedding-photographer-family-photography-30a-desiree-gardner  

Beyond the professional support, Kiersten has become one of my closest friends (and is actually the front-runner in the way of snark). Sometimes it's really great being second place (unlike last year when I totally beat her in Best of Bay... heh heh!). Don't feel bad for her, she's won before and has placed in the top three at least twice- I think maybe 3 times. And while we're completely 110% competitive with each other, she was the first person to call me and tell me I won, and congratulate me. That is friendship. And our paths only crossed because of our profession.


Being a photographer can be incredibly isolating. We spend very little time with actual clients, and when we are working we have to be pretty focused on our tasks at hand. Because this industry is also unimaginably competitive. It takes so much work, dedication, continuing education, money, and the will to not get burnt out to even potentially succeed. There is no guarantee. We all just pour our hearts and souls into this hoping to create something with enough emotion and connection (and, you know, something that's pretty) that people want to hire us. So we can pay our bills- and our taxes- by doing this truly incredible, fulfilling job.

Driving to Nashville with Kelly and Kiersten: panama-city-beach-destination-wedding-photographer-family-photography-30a-desiree-gardner From the Honkey Tonk in Nashville: panama-city-beach-destination-wedding-photographer-family-photography-30a-desiree-gardner Me and Amanda, who has moved to Atlanta, but I still get to see very often! We even went brewery hopping in Asheville last year!! panama-city-beach-destination-wedding-photographer-family-photography-30a-desiree-gardner

So, if you're a new photographer, thinking about becoming a photographer, or a seasoned pro: find your people, and lift each other up. Four of us that showed up last night are currently in the running for Best of Bay 2016, and nothing would make me happier than any of these ladies winning- even if that means beating me (and if you know me that is saying a lot because I am for sure competitive). Beyond the fact that I just like hanging out with these gals, they're also incredibly dedicated to their craft, and running their businesses professionally and legally (which is not very common, believe it or not)- and that makes me respect them as well.

Thanks ladies, for making this whole self-employment thing a little more enjoyable, and a lot less lonely. <3

panama-city-beach-destination-wedding-photographer-family-photography-30a-desiree-gardner Melanie Resch, Kiersten Grant, ME!, and Megan Morse- all in the Top 10 for Best of Bay (out of 96 nominated local photographers)! Please go vote for at least one of us! 'Photographer' is listed under 'Services' 

P.S. We are such professionals: panama-city-beach-destination-wedding-photographer-family-photography-30a-desiree-gardner