My BIG Announcement

Paradise Cove Beach in Malibu, CA by Clara Bella Photography

So I might as well rip the bandaid off now…

I’M MOVING TO SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA!

“You know all those things you’ve always wanted to do?  You should go do them.” – Lara Casey (I am a quote enthusiast to say the least. I surround myself with positive thoughts, words and quotes because I eventually start believing them.)

I know, I know. Crazy, right? Let me start off by saying I was in as much shock as you when my husband text me (yes, I said text. We have somehow made all of our biggest life decisions via text) that he was taking over the West Coast for his company. In the back of my mind I was thinking, OMG we have an opportunity to move to my favorite city in the United States, but my first thought was, MY BUSINESS!! I’ve worked SO hard to finally get to the point where I am now, and now I have to leave everything and START OVER?!

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined.” – Henry David Thoreau

Fast forward a few weeks. Anyone who knows my husband knows he is an entrepreneur at heart, rational thinker and just overall the most amazing person I know (well maybe I just think that ;)) but we started talking about how I wouldn’t have to “leave” (which sounds so harsh, especially when I say it out loud) my business. After all, he travels almost every week for his job so why can’t I? In fact, why can’t I EXPAND my business? So, after going over everything in depth.. I decided that’s what I’m going to do! It’s no secret that I LOVE my job, LOVE my girls and LOVE photography in general, so for now my plan is to continue to book Dallas & surrounding Seniors for the Class of ’15 (deep breath), as well as Seniors in SoCal! I will be back monthly at least for the first year, and not charge travel fees. The sessions in TX will be very limited so I have a feeling they will go quickly (I will be announcing how to book those in the coming weeks)  and of course this does NOT affect any shoots that I currently have booked for Spring.  I have had a truly beyond AMAZING year with my Class of ’14 Seniors, and I can’t wait to meet the rest of my girls over these next few months!

“When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.” ― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

So there it is. It feels REALLY good to get that off my chest. I’m not going to lie, now that the shock of leaving the only home I’ve ever known, and the fear of venturing into the unknown has worn off… I AM EXCITED. I have ALWAYS felt like I belong on a beach, and SoCal is the only other state I’ve ever been to that felt like home from the first time I ever went.  It’s funny because for the New Year I always create these crazy detailed vision boards and lists of resolutions, but this year I only had one – to be UNCOMFORTABLE. I have learned that being uncomfortable and being out of our comfort zones is the ONLY way we will grow, and it is only when you grow & learn that you really LIVE.

“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” I’ve come to terms with the fact that even if somehow this turns out to be the worst decision in history – I will have NO REGRETS because the only thing that would have held me back would have been fear, and I have decided that I choose FAITH.  I don’t believe in coincidences or accidents. This is our destiny. I pray for GUIDANCE and He always shows me the way.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6.”

El Matador Beach & Paradise Cove in Malibu, CA by Clara Bella Photography

El Matador Beach & Paradise Cove in Malibu, CA by Clara Bella Photography

In addition to this expansion, my SECOND and super exciting announcement is I am going to start offering photography mentoring sessions, both online and in-person! If I’m being completely honest, this is not something I would ever feel I would be in the position to do. After all I’m the one that’s been researching, practicing, going to conferences, going to my own mentoring sessions, being really close to giving up my whole photography career in general, etc. etc. I did that for almost 4 years before I finally became fed up with the fact that I wasn’t a successful full-time photographer. I didn’t  want to be known as the “good priced” aka cheap photographer or “weekend warrior”. I wanted to be known for my work.  I wanted to have a niche and focus on what made my heart happy. (I touched on this in my post about my journey HERE.) So that’s what I did. I poured my entire heart and soul into my craft. I became obsessed, and borderline depressed because I was working so hard and not seeing the results. I did this for a few months, and it wasn’t easy, but the breakthrough finally happened. I put my faith before my fears and simply decided that I wasn’t going to quit until my dreams finally became my reality. I completely stopped comparing my work to other photographers work (huge reminder to never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle!)  and thinking I’ll never be as good as them (which is something I think every photographer is guilty of) I stopped trying to fit into a mold. I stopped trying to be a photographer I wasn’t, and started shooting what I LOVE. I wanted to find my own style. I love nature.. trees, tall wheat grass, water and the SUN. The sun is what makes my heart skip a beat. It’s what pushed me out of my box. I didn’t want to hide it from my lens, I wanted to shoot straight into it to see what it would do to my pictures. I wanted to manipulate the sun to be exactly how I wanted it. I’ll never forget the first call I got when they said they wanted to book with me because of how I used the sun. I’m pretty sure I cried on the spot. So all those quotes are actually true..

“Believe in the beauty of YOUR dreams and they will come true.”

I credit my entire business to my amazing clients and how they have spread their love for me and CBP. I’m still in a bit of shock about being completely booked until May. I’m just one person. This is (was) just ‘my little business’. My dream. I’m just treating my clients the way I would want to be treated. Of course I know there has to be a little talent and hard work there 😉 but without my clients I would not have my business. I GENUINELY love what I do and I think (read: Know) when you pour your whole heart into something. It shows.  This is one of the reasons I am hosting my first give-a-way exclusively to my clients on my Instagram page.

After years of figuring it out the hard way, I finally created a business model that I used to only dream would exist. You don’t understand, I was SO close to quitting everything. I even said it out loud one time and knew immediately that it was a lie. I want YOU to know that I know exactly what you are feeling and what you are going through, and you don’t have to go through it! I’ve never been one of those people that is secretive about what or how I shoot. No one is you. They can go to where you shoot, use the same camera and techniques but no one is more “YOU-ER than YOU! – Dr. Seuss” I had an epiphany one morning after receiving several messages from other photographers asking about how I shoot, what equipment I use etc. Of course I shared and even thought to myself “I love helping people!” I really do! Apparently (according to my friends) I am a pretty outgoing and bubbly person, which are 2 words I would never use to describe myself. I just genuinely like to get to know people. Some may call it nosey, and I like the word, inquisitive. 🙂 Anyhow, I started writing out my process thinking I would jot down a few notes then that turned into an hour and basically a novel (like this one! – Sorry!) and I thought to myself, “Wow, I wish I would have known these things when I first started!” I don’t have all the details and/or pricing worked out quite yet, but trust me it’s coming! This is something else I am super passionate about, and something I can’t wait to pour my heart into. Once I get through my crazy Spring season (and after our move at the end of April – eeeeek!) this will be at the TOP of my list! For more info and to be added to the wait list click HERE.

“Do what makes you oh-so HAPPY.”

Thank you for allowing me to share my journey and ‘BIG announcement’ with you. I have always been hesitant (and honestly) a bit embarrassed to share my story but I plan to share A LOT more from now on.  I actually have a few more announcements that are coming up so be sure to check back soon – they won’t be as big as this one though! 😉

I would love to hear your feedback! Please leave a comment in the box below if you have anything to share, or if there is anything particular you would like to hear about!

XO,
Claire

El Matador Beach by Clara Bella Photography

El Matador Beach by Clara Bella Photography | One of the newest locations I will be offering sessions at starting Summer 2014 😉 🙂

L~ F~:
  • YAY! Good for you! I think it’s awesome that you are doing this and don’t worry – you are fabulous; people will flock to have their portraits done by you no matter where you are.

    xoxo

  • Thank you SO much, Melissa!! XO

  • Jen & Rick

    Awesome, awesome, awesome! Congrats to you and Jason!

    “A woman who walks in purpose doesn’t have to chase people or opportunities. Her LIGHT casuses people and opportunities to pursue her.”

  • Liz Rivera

    Claire, you are an incredibly inspiring and talented woman. I see you doing BIG amazing things because you are simply that amazing as a person. There is no going back, you have pushed and exceeded your OWN expectations and now the only way to be is successful. You are lucky to do something you LOVE to do, have the talent and the success that so many only dream of. I’m so happy for you in this new journey!!!! You are a true example of FAITH in HIM and that dreams do come true <3

  • Thank you Jen, Rick & Liz!! Your kind words truly mean the world to me!!! <3

  • Liv Brumfield

    Hi Claire! First off I want to say CONGRATULATIONS! I dont know u personally but we are fb friends and I must tell you, this testimony that you just shared completely jus made my day. Im fighting back tears as I type this to you because some of the things you’ve shared about your journey and living on faith is exactly what I needed to promise myself that I WONT give up on my dreams. I have been trying to find my way in the modeling industry for the last 6 yrs and being a hairstylist for the last 2, and I, just like you have to jus give up completely. Not knowing how to pay for things that I needed or making my weekly booth rent at my suite. I jus up amd quit my job paying almost 70k because I wanted to live my dream. I know GOD has something very special for me and u jus confirmed it for me that I jus need to hold on if I begin to live the like the life I want it will happen.
    You seem to be such an amazing woman and I would love to meet you and work with you one day. I pray that GOD will male this move for you worth it. Thank you for sharing.. Liv

  • Thanks so much for your kind words, Liv! I’m definitely an advocate to never ever ever give up on your dreams 😉

  • The Ogors

    AWE HUN! This is AWESOME news!! Follow your heart and everything will fall into place. Keep up all the hardwork and the rewards will follow. Many more blessing for you guys!!

  • Josie Bowen

    Congratulations to you and Jason! That is AWESOME news because you BOTH want to do it! At least I still get to see your beautiful pictures (no matter WHERE you live!). You are a very talented photographer and will do very well anywhere in the world!

  • Claire, congratulations!!! I am beyond excited for you. You are such and amazing person and you have the sweetest spirit. No matter what you choose to do in life or where you choose to do it, you will succeed. I am absolutely positive of that. I feel so blessed to have gotten the chance to get to know you and work with you in the short time we have had together and I am ever so thankful for our friendship! Everything happens for a reason and you gave me the perfect little push I needed when we first met. I will always be here for you and I will always be your TX makeup and hair girl!! Love you!