From Conviction To Confidence with Audrey Woulard
Yeah. Hello, everyone. And welcome to Creativelive. Welcome back to Creativelive. My name is Kenneth Klosterman and I am your host here, creativelive for our shows. But also this podcast which we call. We are photographers where we connect you with photographers, filmmakers, industry greats all over the world, from their homes to my home to yours, wherever it is. So if you are tuning in, whether it's on creativelive dot com slash tv, you can click on the chat icon up there, join the conversation. You know, I love to do shout out. So let me know where in the world you are tuning in from. We also have folks who are tuning in on Facebook. Twitter, YouTube. So again, same thing. Give me your shout outs, but I'll be there looking at that crate of live TV page First, I am super excited to bring today's guest onto Creativelive. She is hailing from Chicago, and her name is Audrey Woolard. Audrey is a Nikon ambassador. She is a pro photo, uh, legend of light 1st 2nd, forgetting what they call t...
he pro photo Legend of Light. Um, in addition to her portrait work, she's most known for photographing teens. She is an educator at heart. She speaks at all the major industry conferences. She has her own site, called a W Teaches, and she co founded a virtual conference called The Virtual Photography Conference. She also has worked with select commercial clients. She's been published in a variety of publications from O magazine in Style People, US Weekly, and she is a proud mom of four. Please Help Me Welcome Audrey Willard. Audrey. Welcome. Thank you so much for having me, Kenna. It's our pleasure. It's my pleasure. I want to start by giving somebody these shoutouts. We've got Suzie, who's in England in Wiltshire, England. We've got Dallas in Los Angeles, Galina in Illinois and keep, um, come back a tree. I want to talk about two things. Two themes, at least for starters. Uh, you are when I when I look atyou, I think of those two things. That photographer and educator and then mom. But Mom, not just to your own kids and family, but Mom Thio, digi. Get kids and families that you photograph year after year after year after year because I've heard you say, like they're like my own kids. So talk to me about what it means to you to be a mom kind of in in both of those senses, you know, it's well, obviously like with my own kids. Yeah, I centered everything around my family. Everything that I've ever done from Day one has them in mind. First from my hours to what I do, where I speak, where I travel. If it doesn't work with my kid's schedules, I won't. I just will not do it. And I grew my business with my Children. I say that I'm blessed because the parents who hire me also allowed me to grow with them. So I see. See them kind of. It's like parallel. It's like it's a very hard thing. Thio describe because sometimes I feel like I'm in an alternate universe like, Wow, I've been with this thes kids since they've been baby like newborns who are now 16, 17 years old. So you just become part of the family. So, like, I would talk to some of these kids and they asked me about things for their skin. They'll send you make, you know, questions like, Hey, what do I get for this? And then I just like my kids. That's this way. I can describe it and I'm curious toe talk more about that from the business perspective of of those relationships and how that effects sort of the work that you do because you're you're able Thio bring out sort of the joy and spirit in the in the kids that you photograph. And have you found that that sort of connection changes over time with these kids? Yes. So it's some kids I see every year, and I find easy because there is no break between them. But with some of the kids that I may see every four years, I kind of have to get to know them a little bit more if that makes any sense. But they know me, and so they open up a little bit more, and I find it just a lot easier because they recognize that they know the process. Audrey School. So it's just it's pretty. It's pretty easier. It's a lot easier to do. So take me back to when you first actually started the business, because again that's connects with your boys, um, and tell us how old they are now and then how old they were or one was when you started your business. So my kids are all adults now. Congratulations. Yeah, Thank you. I will accept that we we've managed not to hurt one. So So they are 18. I was 18. 19 one just turned 21 then we have a 27 year old. So So Yeah, so in the beginning, at least the stories are always stories, always kind of. It's like it's funny and embarrassing at the same time. Um, I used when I I knew I wanted to go into business. All of them were born. Wait. Yes, they all were born. I had to think about that one. For a minute. Our oldest was in school and I had quit. My job at corporate has had a corporate job. So I quit to be a stay at home mother and I used Thio. Oldest was at school. I would get my double stroller, put two of them in the double stroller and put one in like one of those little baby pack things. And I would head downtown to look for some of the businesses that I can collaborate with me using important shoot camera, you know, So but I my my thought process waas building a relationship with other businesses within the areas that I wanted to work with. And it wasn't like a superficial relationship I was was hoping to build. I wanted them to know me by name. I wanted to, you know, come in there And, you know, just make that that connection. But what I wanted to do differently was this. It wasn't really about going into the store and say, Hey, can I hang pictures on the wall or can I put business cards in your window? You know, whatever the things were, then what I wanted to do, and I did all my research. I wanted to photograph the owners family so that they can have firsthand experience of what it's like. You know, it's one thing for them to see my pictures, but I wanted them to know, like, how do I interact with people? I wanted them to see that firsthand, and by doing that, that created, like, literally instant word of mouth. But more importantly, more genuine word of mouth does that mix. And I did all that with babies attached to me so Well, I think that having the babies attached to you first of all, is instant credibility. When you walk in and you're trying to photograph or, you know, making connection to photograph other people's Children especially when you got three going on with you. I'm just I'm sorry I had a picture of you with the double stroller and the other kid, and, uh, it's it's, um it's quite a feat. Thio not only have done that when you did, but you've been in business for how many years now I'm coming up on my 17th year. Congratulations again. Uh, so I want to take people back because a lot of people, um, are working in the corporate world or have different jobs than, um, and then being a full time photographer and whether they want to or they want to keep it as a as a, you know, side job or what have you? Or just a hobby. Um, but you did take the leap. Um, I saw a block post that you wrote about, Like, what does it mean to take the leap? Um, and making sure that your planned for it, um and but tell us your journey. You weren't again. You were in corporate. Was it having the Children? Was it like what was the thing that led you to starting the business? That's probably a lot of questions. So everything s so I was never the photographer who grew up with a camera in their hand. Didn't Do you know what I mean? That I say I wasn't that lucky. I wish that I did have a lot of that that practice, but I wanted to be, you know, high powered in business, that that was what my goal was. I wanted to make it as far as I could be. Someone CEO. That's what I wanted to be. So when I was working, I actually had a really good position. And with my second, he was born and within the company. They gave a lot of the managers and the executives the opportunity to take your kids down to the daycare within the building. So I had that opportunity, so I would, you know, obviously dropped him off, head back up to my office, and I would use my lunch break to go visit my son. This is Jacob. So I would go visit Jacob and I would leave every time in tears, literally in tears. So I was called to call my house. I used to tell him I wanted to quit, but he never believed me. So I used Thio. Call him and, you know, say, Hey, I gotta quit. I can't I can't do this anymore. And he finally said, You know, fine, you can quit. Um, and I I quit was for my kids, and it didn't take long after that for me to become needing some other sort of intellectual conversation. Besides, you know, Dora the Explorer, So with that part, said, um he came home one day with this camera he bought from a sister and said, Maybe this could keep you busy. And I was like, You know, OK, so it came with and I'm really dating myself now a c d. I don't think they don't make it anymore. Adobe Photodeluxe. So I used to take these pictures and put them in Adobe Photodeluxe, and it blossomed from there. Now, again, a lot of people go into business, you know, right afterwards, especially a lot of the mothers you started, you know, it's kind of like an instant with no real plan in place. Um, it didn't take me long. This I would say a good 3 to 6 months for me to say, Hey, Audrey, you quit your job to be home with your kids. Why would you leave your kids to go photograph other kids and not be paid for? It just did not make sense. So I started my business kind of like out the gate, and I would only work on my my husband's days off. I would work Sunday and Monday. And then as my business grew and I started making more money, he was like, You know, you know what? I don't have to go in on Tuesday. So he took Tuesday because he owned his own business. And then he dropped Wednesday, and then he dropped Thursday until he eventually. Now he works within the business with me. So he has quit his, um, jobs about seven years ago. I feel like I'm gonna keep congratulating you all throughout this show. But congratulations to both of you to have you know, it's it's interesting because often we think that we want to go, you know, work in corporate because that's sort of like you said an opportunity, or you see it as an opportunity to go through, raised the go through and have a lot of responsibility. Have a lot of accomplishments. You know, all of these things that you were clearly driven Thio. Well, when you're owning your own business, you got to do all of that. All of it, and more. Yeah, and so what? What what? What did you dio previously? What kind of work was it that you then, um, we're able to transfer a lot of that into building your own business? Um, computer programmer e was a computer programmer, and then I was ended up. You know, after working as a programmer, I was over the department, so So quickly, a manager at 23. 23. Nice. What do you think it is about you that people recognized or that took you from doing the work to managing the people to, you know, take a certain person to be to get be given that responsibility at age 23? Mm. You know what? This is the guest, so that I don't know, I might have old boss watching this and hit there, but that is not it. But, um, I would guess that I can get things done. Um, you know, in hindsight, it could be if I know something has to get done. Even if I've got 10 minutes to do it, I'm gonna get it done. Do you know what I'm saying? So I think that that is kind of what it was like if we needed something done and they asked me to do it, I'm going to do it. That's my only thought process. So there's I feel like there's a couple different types of people out there, some that are able thio like, just go and get it done without it, like just it's got to be done. So go do it. And then there's people like myself who are like, I guess, gotta be perfect. I get paralyzed or, like, you know, in terms of, um, my ability to get things done quickly. And I know that I think I listen to something where you said you have, like the 80 rule, which is like, if it's you know, it doesn't have to be 100% has to be 80% to get out the door. Is that is that Do you apply that to sort of all of your life? Is that how in terms of getting things done person? Yeah, because, I mean, I could do my makeup and be okay with it and not put my lashes on. So it z 80 20. Yeah, I'm pretty much that because you can always go back. In my opinion, certainly You know, there's exceptions to the rule, but you can always go back and find two things. If you could go back and fine tune it Why, you know, make yourself miserable before you get it out. So I you know, I don't want to make it sound like I got I have it all together because I don't, um but yeah, so at 80 that's definitely it. I think that's a really important point and skill. The skill that you just mentioned in terms of being that the ability to be able thio refine things are fine tune, um and and it's it's not a like, Oh, look at me. I'm able to get things out. It's like knowing the process and knowing that there's always gonna be have two things that that you have to find too. Yep. What else in your life? Like, let's let's go back to the boys. Because again, like, this is your caretaker in whether that's your family, whether that's your students, whether that's, you know, photographers across the world. Um, and then the kids as well. Like, what have you learned that you've had thio, like, refine in terms off, um, being being a mom across the board? Hm? Part of me, I'm stubborn. Let me just say that part. I'm your tourists, and so, um, I I I heard that s so you understand that thought process. I'm very stubborn. Even if I know it's something that I need to change. Do you know what I mean? I'm still gonna stay in my lane, and I'm a very hard sell, is what I like to say. So you know, I in hindsight on I think this is what you're asking. I wish that I would delegate more. I don't delegate more, because if it's something I feel I could take care of, I'm just gonna do it. Even though I'm adding too much to my plate that resides within business and with being a mother. I mean, I could I could probably name 10 things that I should have delegated. But I don't delegate it because I want to control it. Oh, that I'm a control freak too. So is a control freak part of being the Taurus? I'm not sure. I wonder that because I can. I can. I totally hear you on the if I could do something like and control it and make sure the outcome is going to be the way I want it. It's hard to hand off, and sometimes it feels like it is going to take longer. Thio hand it off. That's exactly it. Like I'm adding, you know, I feel that if I don't do it, I'm adding to my work load because I would have to either go and teach it or I would have to redo. It s Oh, yes, I'm like, I'll just do it myself. So has that gotten you into trouble in terms of, uh, taking on too much? Yeah. Tell me more, because I think so many business owners, you know, is there a particular sort of story or something you can share where you know you got to the point where you had taken too much on and things weren't able to sort of role as you would imagine in the still trying to control them. This is probably airing some dirty laundry, but let's have at it. So, um, there's some things I should delegate on. I'm gonna tell you the story. There's some things I should delegate that I don't and I won't. But I know I should. Right editing is one of them now. I would not dedicate that. I will not delegate all of my editing, but there's some things I probably should my, my, my aspect of wanting to control. And, you know, I trust myself more than that would trust somebody else. That's the best way to do it. How did I get in trouble? So, you know, years especially especially around this time of year when things get really busy. You are not meeting certain deadlines and they there have been deadlines that I did not meet. Now, thankfully, my clients love me so they give me a path. But it shouldn't. It should have never happened. Do you know what I mean? It should have never happened, so there There have been times I've missed deadlines, you know? Hey, Audrey, did you have this? And I'm like, I didn't even start it, you know? So it's things like that that I find myself doing a quick turnaround, having some some long nights because of something that I didn't do. Like I have like, a mental list, and nothing jumps in front of that list. Do you know what I mean? Like, I've got one through 10 and that's the list. I'm not going to go to number eight and bring it to the top. That would just make my life just crazy. So I have my list, and until I get to it on my list, I'm not going to do it. So there you have it. There's my dirty laundry. That's not such dirty laundry. And we, you know, I mean, I I feel like everybody's had that scenario in terms of business owners or working in, you know, as you're saying that I'm thinking of all the things that I had hoped I was going to get done last week for, you know, for work or personal life. And so do you have sort of tools? Thio or or like, How do you kind of release that being okay with Okay, well, that happened, like, let me. You know what? I can you know the next time around for that client, or just like, what do you tell yourself? Ah, when you find that you've missed a deadline, Um well, it starts off with exactly what you just said. Well, you know what? I didn't meet it, but I do try to find ways to fine tune my system without completely changing and overhauling it. So, you know, and I'll look up different management time management things, and I'll never use it because I'm so old school. I have to write things down. If I don't know, it's like that's the only way I could get it in my brain is if I write it down. If I type it because my husband like he'll say things like, write it down, put it in an email, write it in your notes. I can't use my phone notes. I cannot use IPad notes because I'll never go back and check them. I have to, like, write it down in like, a physical book, so it's like little things like that. You know, I will try to change the system, and then I it goes back to this has always worked. So figure out where you lacked in your day to make it, you know, to screw it up. Did you go on Facebook? You know, did you? It's like things like that. So I totally hear you. And, um, it's funny. I'm looking at the comments that air coming in because we're live again. Like we're recording this. Giving these shoutouts and Dallas is Tauruses are notorious control freaks. You do it the Taurus way or the wrong way High Dallas. Are you tourists as well? We'll see. We'll see. Um, it's it's interesting. It's interesting, because it for me, that sort of relinquishing than some control is kind of the work is, um, recognizing you know that it's that it's no Oh, it doesn't always benefit me. I guess. Would be would be the thing have you been able to tell me about, um, you know, you're you're a businesswoman, not just in your photography and portrait business, but your education business. Have you've been able to relinquish control in in that world or, you know, you're putting on a conference. Um, how Talk to me about that a little bit. And then, like, how is it that you have been able to to have you been able to realize that not realize? Let me see what I'm trying to say that once more people get involved that actually, you know, there's mawr collaboration, if you will, Um, so I have to give my husband a huge shout out because without him teaching site would never be the conference would never have happened or even came into fruition. He's the brain behind all of that. I just show up like that's pretty much it. But, um, a lot of that because it's so much tech involved and you know, that's what he does. He takes over a lot of that responsibly. Like literally, That's his. That's his baby, Really? Just has my name on it. So without him, I couldn't do it. So yeah, so I delegated a lot of that, mostly because I can't do it. E just show up. Okay. Well, first of all, Audrey, you don't just show up a There's a lot more that goes into it, but it is that, you know, those those partnerships. I think it's amazing. And again, congratulations for being able Thio, Run a business with your husband. How is that? Is it great all the time? Is it challenging? Is it? Talked to me about partnering with your husband? Because I know. And for a lot of people, that sounds ideal. But then there's, like, the reality. So how has that? How? Tell me about that. Make sure I don't get myself in trouble. Um uh, it's alright. So most of it. And I'm not just saying that most of it is my issue again, not wanting to give up certain things. Um, control, you know, this is mine. All mine. Do you know what I mean? Kind of like that. We went through that for ah, while. And we've been married for so long, so he kind of knows how to deal with me. Do you know what I mean? So, um, we have separate offices. You So the other side of the house s O that works, but I it gets tough. But the good thing is that we're we are friends first and without being friends first. Everything else I don't think could happen Um, I know that he will always have my best interest at heart. So some of the things that he says I just have to relinquish a little bit of control. And it's tough, you know, when you've been doing it yourself. And this has been something you started bringing someone in, which is how this whole thing start in the first place. Um, he's like it would make more sense because that my business grew just kept growing, he said. It makes more sense if he can handle that because of my control is shoes God. So I just I just I think it's I think it's super important to hear sort of the, you know, the rial behind. You know how how all of this comes together because it's I had on, uh, the last episode was current and Reg Bethancourt of Creative Soul and as we were messaging, you're like, Oh, they're my family, my friends. But I ask them the same questions like, you know, Ah couple that works together has runs their business together. You know all of that. While they don't have four boys, they do have their little pixel. It's a puppy, but do you look to other people? Do you talk to other couples who run businesses together to sort of And what is that, like, a thing that you're able to get advice on or not advice just, um I don't know. Just just have those conversations. You know, I actually I haven't to be honest. Um, no, you know, here's the thing. It's the funny thing Kenna is that with, you know, from having my business, anything that happens within the business, I would confide in him. I would get his opinion like he knew everybody in the industry and was not a photographer. Do you know what I mean? Just like he knows every conference. He knows every vendor, and he does not. He's not a photographer. So it kind of didn't feel like he just started working into the business because he was always there. Do you know what I mean? So I never really talked to people because I kind of are always felt he was. He was there. The only the only source of contention for me was him. He would say you need to get this done. That has to be done. And that with boy make my blood boil. But it needs to be said, You know, that's the piece I'm always wondering about is the like is the yeah, the the boundaries of you know, someone saying what you gotta dio versus like yeah, yeah. So what do you dio? This is another comment question from Dallas. Hey, says, um which who, by the way, shout out Dallas is an Aires and tourist cusp. He says he's a double control freak. Uh, how do you have your me time away from your husband? And this is just in general. Oh, God. Not even about your husband or being, you know, or your boys or whatever. Like, what does Audrey dio to rejuvenate? To be able to continue on at this very high level of of, um, producing in all the different areas I have always had my me time. I find especially having my younger three, they are a year apart. So in order to keep my sanity, I always had to incorporate me Time I get my nails done, I go shopping. Um, now in the pandemic, I eat. I'll go out to dinner. We, you know, go toe lunch. I will scheduled me time. I mean, with no regrets. I will not feel guilty. I've done that. I can't remember a time when I didn't literally. Well, that's I mean, that is the secret to success. I believe in whatever, whatever it is that nourishes you, whether that's getting your nails done or, you know, go into a restaurant or coffee shop or bookstore or hike, you know, whatever it is, that's absolutely. And the fact that you've been able to recognize that for your whole career is huge. Yeah, I wanted start to get into. I titled this episode, um, from conviction of confidence, and that was based on a block post that I read of yours. That really stuck with me. And it's this, like, what is confidence? What is conviction? So I'm wondering if you could just talk to me about because, ah, lot of people, so many people who I have on this podcast or we talked Thio in general, you know, just in general, you might appear tohave confidence, but there's a lot of imposter syndrome. There's a lot of you know, just like it might appear that way to somebody else, but then a lot of times. We don't actually feel fully confident in ourselves. So that talked to me about confidence and conviction. You know, I never when I hear the word conviction, which is funny. That's how people used to describe my mother. They would say she was steadfast in her convictions and I was like, Man, I'm I really like my mother. I mean, like, that was my first like thought. But, um, in hindsight, when I really think about it, there are things that for me that I believe it to be true. These are the things that I believe to be true. They need to be that way, and I don't. I don't go with the flow like you can't like, convince me Oh, Audrey, you should, you know, drive this car because it's better for the street. And if I like my car, you can't convince me anything else. Do you know what I mean? So I sometimes think that can give a false sense of confidence to others because I'm so sure in my own beliefs, that doesn't necessarily mean that I'm so uber confident. It just means that well, maybe this is a tourist thing. We're having an astrology talk, but I You know, you can't just because someone tells me something I won't believe it to be true. Until I check it, Check it out. But if I feel in my heart, I have no reason to check it out. I've already dismissed it that I do you know what I mean? Like, I think that's a conviction. But in terms of confidence, I'm very confident in my beliefs. That isn't necessarily mean. I'm that confident as a person. So, like, for example, people to say, um, you know, you speak with such confidence. You know, if I'm speaking, I'm like, I'm terrified. I was in tears right before I walked on the stage. You know, things like that. Or I think people don't don't think that I'm very sensitive about certain things, and I am. But I know how to control it in the public. Does that make sense? Oh, yeah, I'm right there with you because it's there's what's going on inside. There's what people are seeing. And then there's also just the self knowledge of, you know, that those things may be different. Uh, tell me, and I'm going to go for a little bit further on this. Tell me more about your mother and growing up, and I know she passed away, and I'm sorry. Um, but, um, too early. Um, tell me about growing up. Tell me about your mom. Your dad? What was Audrey like as a kid? Was she a control freak with her? Whatever you played with as a kid. Oh, my dad is not watching. This s o growing up. I mean, we had just just a normal family. Just me and my brother. My our parents. Um how would they described me? Probably very proud people would describe me today. Um, you know, I I knew what I wanted. And this is what I want. If I can't have it, I'm gonna try to get it. If you say that I can't get it, you have to kind of tell me why I can't get it. That's gonna make me want it more. Um, I I did that right down to different toys that I wanted. I wanted one specific toy and this is what I want. This one and you give it to me. I didn't say like that. My mom would have had a heart attack. But, you know, But I was very, like, persistent and things and that I think my personality as a child is very similar to my personality today. I don't know if that's a good or bad thing. I think it's a I think. I mean, I think there's e I don't think it's a bad thing and I mean, it's It's interesting to be able Thio sie I don't know, just see see what makes us who we are. And so it's always that, like, you know, what's innate in us as a little kid like that is who we are that's like, Who are You know, what our spirit is? Um and and then there's, you know, Then there's I don't know. It just it's it's fascinating, I think to, um, to kind of be able to look back and see those those elements. Uh, yeah, I think I've I've had that same you know, determination, same drive, different things that I wanted. I sought out to get it, so I remember. I don't know if this I would even this even needs to be interjected here, but I distinctly remember. I don't know why I cannot get this out of my head. When I was 21 and I was corporate America, my boss brought me into the office and I was getting these promotions and he said to me he never gave me an answer, So I feel incomplete. For whatever reason, he said to me that I worked really hard to get something, and then when I get it, I stop and he never explained that. So Vince Summers, I swear, if you're watching this, I want to answer some email. But he said that to me. I don't know why he said it, but he was like one boss who always challenged me. But he wouldn't give me everything. I had to figure it out like a puzzle. I never figured that out. Oh, that That is a good puzzle. I want to explore that a little bit. Maybe we can figure it out together. So if you if you'll work your persistent your dedicated and then once you achieve it, is it stopping on that particular project? We're Is it just that you like then shift and letting somebody else take over for that? Or is it like you? Then shift to a new goal. See, I think it's that I think it's the ladder. I'm this is a guest. Um, I think I get from here here. This is the goal. I don't expound on the goal that I have achieved and try to make it and blossom that into another goal within that one. I just shift and go to the next thing because I think it goes down to that list. I want this, this this and this. So once I could scratch off number one. I'm on number two, but maybe I'm missing opportunities because I'm not blossoming and nurturing certain goals that I reach. I don't know Kenna. No, it's a good. It's a good thing to think about the wise, you know, the wise, why we do what we do or why. And I think it's so interesting that we can, when we are when you are working as part of for somebody else or for a company or whatever. It's different than when you're working for yourself, but that it just takes me back. Thio You know, sitting in like reform reviews with that sounds like something a boss would say in a in a review, and it's it also leads move to like, like did. Was he saying that as in, it's a weakness? Yes. He was saying it like it was a weakness and gave me no explanation. And it was like one of those bosses that would like to turn his back to you. Do you, like, in the chair? And he would, like, be on his computer. And he'll say these things that I can't see what his expression is because I'm really good at reading expressions. I think he figured that out. So I was I would try, toe, you know, I can pick up energy and things if I could just look you in your io he would never do that to me. So I and I You know what I would ask for, you know? Well, what does that mean? He wouldn't tell me. Hmm. I think we've I think I think that would be my interpretation would be the like, you pivot to keep going to the next goal. If if that sort of it sounds like the way that you, um are, you know, satisfied with with sort of achievements, if you will, in terms of like, you know, hitting, hitting the things that you're you're looking to dio think it's interesting. I want to go further into the, um, reading people looking people in the eye. Um, that sort of intuitive nature. Tell me more about that in you and how that's like, manifested in your life in terms of the benefit of that, Honestly, I think that has probably been one of the better qualities. I'm glad that I have, Um, just let's just use photography, for example, being able to understand people without them telling me what it is allows me to relate to different people that I photograph. So if I walk into a house because I was location, you know, when you started and I'm going into these different neighborhoods and you know what I'm showing up. I'm able to, um, relate to whomever I'm photographing or meeting in the parents in the in the in the energy that I'm picking up from that, you know, because certain people like to joke and play around certain people do not. I'm able to shift and not make them feel uncomfortable, or, um, expect them to change to make me uncomfortable. I don't I mean, change might not be a word I have to say more relatable. Um, in the in the industry side, you know, that probably helped me more than you know, in hindsight. Because, you know, I was, um, what I would consider especially back then, Kind of an outsider. Um, I and it's hard to be that person, and you still have to maintain who you are, and I'm able to kind of read people and no. Okay, I know what they're probably thinking, and I can respond accordingly. I know what they're probably thinking, and I was never wrong about it. And I think instead of just half has really saying things or doing things. I can change that and shift based on how I consent, what their energy is. So that was probably a long winded answer. No, not at all. I mean, it's it's, um, again tourists intuitive. I find myself control. I relate. I think it's, um but I also think it's interesting because certainly in terms of relating thio, the subjects of the people that you're photographing, you know, is one thing kind of ida trying to connect on that emotional level toe. Bring them out at the as as as well as you can Andi show their true Selves? But then I find myself and I don't know if you're the same way. But on the the thinking, what other people are thinking, I feel like that can get me into trouble because you don't really know what somebody else is thinking. Yes, and as my best friend says, what other people think is none of your business. And I'm like, Whoa, that's a big one to take in that that you know what? I'm going to write that one down. Write that one down. What other people think is none of your business because you don't really know. You don't know. You don't, and and so then it comes back to me than that. Intuition is more about the feeling that you can sense your thoughts and thoughts, right? You can sense. Like you said, you can sense it. It's almost like of It's like an energy in the room that you just, you know, is there. But you can't address it because you're guessing did right. So I just think it helps. It helps me move and, you know, kind of shift and work the room based on the energy that I feel So far, I haven't been wrong. Maybe I have absolutely agree, though, in that it's the It's the energy that you're able Thio read and feed. Um, which doesnt Not to say that that doesn't go along with somebody's thoughts, but I just think it's a It's a different It was very It was a very I opening sort of way to for me toe approach. When I find myself cause I find myself a lot thinking about Oh, this person must be thinking that or that or that about me, and then I'm like, Are there just never thinking about me? Period, I wanna I wanna talk a little bit about, um your desire to educate And, um, tell me about when that kind of when you went from like, okay, I love what I do with my clients, and I create these incredible experiences to like seeing the opportunity thio lift other people up. When did when did that? What was it that made you want to add that onto all the things that you dio You know, Um and this might be a long story but I'm way. So, um, someone once I did a, um, an interview once, and they said to me, Audrey, you never And this is by someone. The person interviewed me is someone that I've known for a while. She says, Audrey, you've never chased the fame. It just found you. And I was like, You know what? You're right, Right? So there was no Facebook. There was no instagram. There was no none of that social media things. Um there was just, like, message boards and things like that on the internet for how photographers connected to each other. And back then I did the same thing that I do now. I like sharing my work. I just like putting it out there, you know? Just I'm a photographer. That's what I like to do. I like to show pictures. So people started asking me Hey, can I learned this from you? Can you tell me how you do things? And my I still remember the day my husband was cooking fish in the kitchen. I still remember this and my email was just getting flooded. So I put on my block. I'm like, Okay, yeah, I'll do a workshop. Who would come? I mean, that's really kind of what this is. Even before I was before I went to speak of WPP, because that's when I realized things were really nuts for me at that point. But people just wanted to come. And I felt at that time, if you wanna learn, why not? I mean, there was no reason for me not to do it because, you know, I'm a techie kind of it hard because I was a computer science. Um, But as it grew, um, watching people go, you know, achieve what they wanted based on their lifestyle was very rewarding. And this is what I mean by that, you know, everyone comes to learn from any photographer. They all have their different reasons we can put we can put out there. Oh, I want to teach you lighting, but sometimes they don't wanna learn the light. They want to know what makes you tick. How do you interact with clients? How do you run your business? Do you know what I mean? So seeing people achieve what they want that works well with them as a person is the most is that makes my heart thing is that is knowing that you can achieve something and you don't have to shift your entire life in order to make it happen. So I guess that's probably a piece of me outside of photography that I'm able to give to other people. That makes me continue to do it. I mean, it's a it is. It's a beautiful thing that going back to, like conviction and and confidence, like I feel like Were you confident when you first started to teach? Oh, no, no. You know what? I'm confident and what I have to teach. I'm not confident in how I can relate it to other people because every what I've learned over the years, you can say one sentence and three different people will interpret it three different ways and being able to say what you have to say and making sure you take the time that to find out if each person understood it and then shift the way that you explain it for that person. Do you know what I mean? That that was something I had to learn over time. I got it. So s so that's that same again like you knew your you were convicted in you were you had the conviction around your knowledge on Bennet's, knowing that to be true on and then it's a yeah, I think it's interesting. Talk to me about another congratulations on recently becoming a Nikon Ambassador. Tell me about that moment or I don't know just what, what it was that another like, again Goal or tell me about it. That was a goal. Um, but I would be perfectly honest with you. It was a goal. I I didn't think I would achieve it, But hear me out and, you know, coming up as a photographer for me. Just you know me as a black woman photographer. Being an ambassador is just something that you just don't think what happened. And it's not so much. This is only speaking for myself. It wasn't so much of a good or bad thing, is just one of those things you just don't think you would achieve. Like I don't think I would be a National Geographic. It'll be great. But, you know, it's just kind of like one of those things that no, that's for other people. That's not for you. So I I wanna say around 2018, I think it's 2017 or 2018. They reached out to me and wanted me to speak at the trade show. And I spoke and I was terrified, terrified, terrified. And a small story. Their first time doing that. My husband knew how important it was for me to be there. But we had a kid who had we would never miss a basketball game. And he had a really important game. And it fell on the day that I was supposed to speak. And obviously I couldn't go. You're my husband. Left to go be there. So we do things like that. Um, but, you know, I started to speak, and it was probably 2019 that I thought, Oh, well, you probably can be an ambassador. You're building a relationship. You probably can be. You know, it s so that became a goal, but I didn't know how to achieve it. Do you know what I mean? I didn't I needed that mental list. But I didn't know what that list Waas. And I wasn't gonna ask him. Eso with that said it was a lot of like guessing off. What can you do? And it turned into you. Can't do anything to be yourself. That's it. Yeah, that you could do nothing but be yourself. You can't say a certain thing. You can't ask a certain question. It just has. It just has to do with that. And so 2019 came around. I mean, I went to and spoken every trade show Nikon did. He asked them pp I, you know, photo. Plus, we I did. They kept asking me back. And so I'm like, OK, you know, 2020 comes around C s okay. I don't want you to come. WP, I want you to come on, like all right, I'm never getting it, just like I'm not gonna get it. But I was like, I like them. So if they asked me to speak, I'm gonna still speak. I didn't speak to get to be an ambassador. I spoke because they asked me to do it. I like them. You know what? Not so I got the call and no, let me go back. They asked me to do an interview. Didn't mention anything about ambassadorships. So these are all the same things that we're doing because We were here for the pandemic, and they were doing these interviews on their instagram. So records, interview, talking. Hey, how you doing? Blah, blah, blah. Didn't say a word. They goes by, they call me, and they're like, You know what? You know, I just wanna let you know we really want you to be an ambassador. And I started crying because I was not I wasn't expecting it. Um, I didn't think I was gonna get it. Like, you know, you just take a page out of your gold book, throw it away. You know, that's literally what I did. It wasn't gonna happen. Find, you know, just keep doing it. So that's kind of how that happened. And then after before they announced it, um, one of the general manager told me he answered my question because it's probably would've haunted me, too. I didn't ask the question, but he told me why I got it. Because remember I told you I didn't know there was no list. There was no nothing. I just had to guess and he told me and he said you would being vetted, and you just didn't know it. And I was like, Oh, he told me about what it was. And I'm like, you know, that that control freaking me now has her answer. So that's kinda That's how that's how that went. Well, congratulations again, And it za massive, um, accomplishment and achievement And what I was going to say until you actually just said it was in my mind. So you're sitting there thinking like, Oh, they're never gonna They're never gonna ask me. They're inviting me to do these talks, but you know, nothing's happening. Meanwhile, I'm sitting here thinking like they're inviting her to do all these talks. And therefore, that is the path like that is the That was the checklist. You know, that was the path. And, uh, okay, what excites you about? It's kind of like it's another step in your love. Thio educate others. What? What happens when you become a Nikon ambassador? Like, what is it? What is what is that going to allow you to do differently than what you do today? Um, you know, since I do educate now, it allows me to reach on entirely. I think different market of photographers. Um, after I got the announcement. Now I've got photographers who have never would have connected with reaching out, you know, wanted to learn, you know, different things. And I like to be a little bit technical in terms of your like lenses and cameras and things like that. I like to talk about that stuff. So now I'm really, like getting that, um, that different sector off the market that I never would have been able to reach. Because when you start off for myself, you know the mom photographer your market kind of stays there, if that makes any sense. So now I mean, I could talk of nature photographers and just different people who all love the craft. And it just gives me a nen tire. Lee new lane to really, you know, help educate. It's interesting because, you know, you said the mom photographer when I started this conversation talking about you as a mom, like, I don't think of you as like, oh, she's a mom photographer. I don't know. It's like that that I think of you as you know, like businesswoman. First, you know, which comes along with being an educator, comes along with, um, working super hard to be running a photography business for 17 plus years in all of the, you know, a portrait business in all the ups and downs that you know that have that have happened. But I just think I feel like it's just part of that. Like, it's cool to me to see that, like with Nikon with pro like, you just get toe expand your reach of who You're a little you know, your mom who you're who your kids are kids across the board, um, that you're either photographing or educating. Um, and and then, of course, you know your own for grown men, Grown man grown men. I I'm curious, just sort of final question, because this has gone by really quickly. I'm just looking at the time of what is your What is your hope? You know, it's it's been a super challenging year, not toe. You know, I try not to harp on that through all of these conversations right now, but we're recording this the end of December 2020. Do you have hope? And and if so, just talk to me about hope. Um, you know, I'm probably I'm very much glass half full type of a person, I think. And again, I keep saying this only for me because I know everyone processes things differently. And I don't want Thio um discredit anyone who may feel differently because everything that people feel is valid, their own feelings are always valid. Um, for myself, I find that if I look at things that are bad, it manifests itself with in my life, and I have toe always look at, you know, if something bad happened, Okay. Nope, We're gonna do it and look at the positive outcome, you know, from it. So even like, um, with this year for everyone, you know, it's it's just been a challenging year, especially for photographers. My fellow wedding photographers event. It's just tough for all of them. Um, and the one thing I would say even, you know, within business or within your own home life, spend time on your relationships. Um, and it's like if it sounds like that, that was written on my list in permanent marker. And it really, like, kind of wasn't is just something that I know now. In hindsight, especially after doing interviews like Oh, yeah, this is what I dio but manifest and grow and nurture the relationships with in your life because they will come back to you and reward you so even like using this year. Um, I'm thankful that I'm still working fairly regularly, mostly due to the relationships from the clients who are dealing with this year and want nothing more than family pictures or pictures of the people that they love. And I've had people, which is which is funny. Some people who I haven't seen Kenna and, like, eight years. And I'm like You still remember me and because I even just last week I was driving out Teoh, one of my clients houses, and my husband was with me because he will hold my light and then we'll go have dinner afterwards. That's like a little thing. But I said, You know, I said, The lady knows me, but I'm like I can't can't like asked like, Who are you? Because it just sounds rude. So I drive up to the house and I had a completely deja vu like I know who this is, but I don't know. So get going to the house. Not only did I see the her son, who I originally photographed like nine years ago. She had two more kids and I never met. But at the point of it is I'm getting these phone calls from people. For whatever reason, I'm still on their mind. I made some sort of impact for them to continue to call me because there are so many people that they could call. There's so many photographers out there. What was it about me that made you remember me? So my biggest advice. And I hope that this keeps everybody hopeful. Nurture your relationships. This is the time to do it, be it. I could stay at home. Your family, your parents, your kids, your dog. I mean, all of that is this is the time to do that because in you will start to see the rewards from that. That's what I see beautifully, said Audrey. I just I that's really when it comes down to it, that's what we have is our relationships. And it just, you know, this week is a holiday week that we're recording. And you know, a lot of us may not be with the families that we want to be with, like I'm not going to be and, you know, and it's just, um I was actually this morning thinking about that. I would spend some time on Thursday just like just messaging people that I haven't messaged in so long. Andi. Just like I'm grateful for you. I'm great, you know, like just making it a day of gratitude in my own way. And what did that come down to? It doesn't come down. Thio pumpkin pie. I love me some pumpkin pie, but it's those relationships, um s o again, whether it's business life, you know, all of it. So thank you for that. Yeah. Say something nice. I mean, things that you wish you could have said. You don't know if that you know when you say it that might make that person's day. You might think it's very small, but, you know, I sit back and think about you know what? You know these people are nice to me. Why are your eyes say it? You know. So that's that's me. I've kind of always been that way. Um, maybe missing some people. Like she didn't tell me. Thank you. I'm gonna get on it. Whoever says that, but that's just kind of try to do that. Awesome, beautiful, beautiful way to end this conversation, especially this week. Audrey, I wanna make sure that everybody knows how to find you. Follow you. Find out about the workshops, the conference, all of it. Tell me where toe where people could go. Um, you can find me in terms of work. You can always find me on Instagram. Kate. What is my kids? And had to think about it. Kids, I know we didn't even talk about kids in the city, but go ahead. Yeah. So kids and the city is my instagram. Um I have a teaching platform, which is a w teaches dot com. Um, I also have a Facebook group, but I'm active in there, so that's also under the same name. A w teaches dot com and we are putting on a virtual conference on on November 30th through December 2nd. So many great educators through I'm so thankful are part of it. So that is virtual photography conference dot com. Awesome. Very excited for you. And congratulations again on that. I want to give you some shout outs before we sign off. Audrey, just because there's a lot of love coming in from everybody online. We got Pam. Who says Love Audrey. Such an inspiration. Rachel. Thanks, Audrey. So great, Cindy. Crystal. Glenn. Um, of course, Dallas. Thanks for being with us and all your comments today. Uh, Deb from Michigan. We've got Cosmo. We have Albuquerque. I'm going back. I'm going back. Um, we have Tories, Dixon photography. Audrey's an excellent teacher. I can't wait to go to another one of her sessions. Um, and on and on and on. Denk was in Indonesia. Robert was in Texas Cat in Colorado and on and on. So I love it. I love that. Thank you. I love the shout outs because it just it really is. We are a global community, and, um, it's just it's a beautiful thing. And so I am grateful for you, Audrey. So awesome to have you on the podcast and grateful for everybody out there tuning in for now. That's a wrap. But everybody have a wonderful week and you can check out all the episodes of our podcast. Were photographers. Wherever it is, you listen podcast, you can subscribe, and you can also check them all out. We have over 100 episodes now on creativelive dot com slash podcast. Check out what else is playing here on creativelive dot com slash tv. There is always something playing for free, whether that's this podcast Chase, Jarvis Live and other sessions where we're bringing you musicians, um, entertainers, all kinds of things again for free to connect us all. So thank you again, Audrey Willard, and we will see you all next time.