Chelsea Peterson Photography » Utah's Top High School Senior Portrait Experience.

Transformation Tuesday | Then and Now Utah portrait photographer

“Success is a state of mind. If you want success, start thinking of yourself as a success.” ― Joyce Brothers

Today’s transformation Tuesday is a little different. Its about MY transformation. My first session ever was engagements for my cousin 3 years ago (first picture below).  The session was a torturous 4 hours long, (poor guy) and I stared at Google images for weeks before the shoot.  This session is mostly laughable to me now. However, at the time it was the session that made me decide to start my business. I LOVED IT! Sometimes its easy for photographers to look at other peoples work, get really down on themselves, and want to quit because they will “never be good enough.”  I know because I have been there, many times. Now, instead of comparing my work to other people work, I compare myself to, MYSELF.  I have come leaps and bounds from that photographer 3 years ago and I am just beginning.  Where could I be in three more years? I challenge myself and I am never satisfied, but I am proud of where I am at, and enjoying the journey.


Although I direct my message to other photographers, this can apply to many people in whatever they are trying to become.  Don’t be so hard on yourself.  I can’t tell you how many times I thought “I should quit.” Just give up now because I would never be as good as *insert name.*  “What is the point, when I obviously can’t achieve what I want.” Sometimes I felt like I was falling behind because as a mom I didn’t have the time others had to work at it, and it bothered me.  Then I sat down and thought about what my dreams were.  The reality was, I wanted to be a mom who was present in the lives of her kids, making dinner, building Lego’s, snuggles at night, family trips, AND I wanted to be a photographer. This didn’t mean I wanted to do it full time. OR be an international, award winning photographer.  I never wanted to be the person who woke up one day and realized my family was suffering because of me.  I have seen that too, where people have to step away all together because it went too far.  So, I stopped worrying about keeping up with all the forums, and all the group pages, all the workshops, shoot outs and mentoring.  Things that can make you head spin.  I am unaware of  all the big names in the industry, the who’s who nationally and locally even.  Every so often I will hear about someone and check out there work, but I only keep up with them if they build me up and inspire me.  The minute I was able to stop comparing myself to others and start letting myself be my own competition, I found a confidence and a drive that continues to push me and mold me.  Do I still dream of what I can become, yes.  Do I still get frustrated when I am not getting there faster, YES!!!  But it doesn’t control or consume me.

“Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment. Full effort is full victory.” -Gandhi


I do go to a workshop every now and then.  Mostly I try to pick one big event a year, either a workshop, or conference, or mentoring.  There are so many out there, especially here in Utah, that I am very picky about what kind of event I am looking for, what do I need a boost in, posing?, composition?, lighting?, business?, inspiration?  I also work more exclusively, taking limited amounts of weddings and portraits a year so that I can focus on my clients and have the time to learn from each session and grow.  I even hope that in the not so distant future I can mentor other photographers, the ones just like me who are looking to gain confidence and purpose. Not because I think I know everything, far from it, but because I would love to help others find their inspiration. When we let ourselves become failures based on other peoples successes we are opening the door and letting misery in.

“If you take responsibility and blame yourself, you have the power to change things. But if you put responsibility on someone else, then you are giving them the power to decide your fate.” -Unknown

I don’t know where I am going or what will happen but I love what I do and the people I work with.  It is a hard lesson for me, learning to find joy in the journey.  I always want the end results now. I have little patience when it comes to learning over time.  I like to do things that I am good at because its easier. Who doesn’t love easy.  This business has shaped me and taught me so much already about photography, about life, about people, about family and I am sure I will continue to grow.  The proof is in the pudding…. or pictures.

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