20 years of photography

As I sit here to gather my thoughts to write about twenty years of being involved in photography, I truly don't have a clue where to begin. My journey wasn't smooth or with such pleasure but one thing is for sure that I was so stubborn to get my way into what I wanted to do in my life. I've come across so many different obstacle and believe it or not there was a few times that I almost gave up. I was really young and didn't want to work any harder than I already was. I felt like it was impossible to reach my goal of being a full time photographer. At the time I was twenty years old, a few years already exploring into photography. Worked at a nine to five that was paying me a bit above minimum wage. After completing my eight hours of that, I would start brainstorming or playing with a rental camera so that I can figure out my mistakes and improve myself to get better. I also did a lot of research online to find out the answers to my many questions. The internet wasn't so helpful. Back then social media didn't exist or else YouTube would of been my best friend. I used to just hangout at magazine stands, flipping through many different style of magazines to take in all the inspirations. Every once in a while I would purchase a magazine too.
Living at home with my parents, I didn't need to worry about paying rent but I still had difficulty with my finances. I started right when digital was introduced to the main market but film was still the way to go. Studying film photography was twice as hard, compared to digital. In order for me to have "practice" photography I needed to purchase film and not only that I needed to also develop it or pay a lab fee to have it developed for me. Overall everything was getting expensive for me specially when I wasn't making any money because I had no clients. 
After the third year of being involved in photography I was already in love. I knew that this was what I wanted to do for a long time to come. Booking small gigs and interacting with people gave me a chance to show them my passion but mostly who I also was as a human being. Through that, my clients saw what others passed on me which was a young energetic kid with a fun personality that they can hire to take photos. After a little while I wanted everyone to see my work quicker than all the time it took to upload on my website. I started my blog so that I can showcase my most recent work frequently and it worked like a charm!  
On average my blog was receiving about one thousand unique views a day. It reached to be so popular that even Kim Kardashian used the photos I took of her and blogged about it and gave me a proper link credit. I remember checking my daily traffic report and it read that I had twenty thousand views on my blog. I truly felt accomplished and rewarded because blogging isn't as easy as posting a photo on Instagram. It would take me three to six hours per post and I tried to refresh with something new twice a week. My friends and clients would email me encouraging me to do more and gave me so much inspiration by telling me that my blog was their everyday go to website. 
After a little while digital photography was completely taking over and of course social media came on with full blast. I became a full time photographer and it was then when I really felt like my dreams actually came true. I can live my life knowing that I am committed to doing what I love and look forward to every single day. Blessed beyond words that all my hard work and time put in really paid off. Not to say that I don't push to work long hours now but when I look back when my journey started I was so relentless!
Twenty years has come and gone. The first chapter of my photography life has been written. The second chapter might not be as long, but one thing is for sure that I still love packing my camera bag to head out for a shoot. It always gives me the same feeling of importance. Freedom to create and be myself without any regrets. I always say, authentic photograph is never about the photographer but the moment and the feeling that it leaves behind. That is really the essence of a beautiful imagery.  
My advice to all the youngsters out there. Take every day as your advantage to study, master and build trust within your own craft. Don't think safe or logical because being standard won't get you far. Make lots of friends but keep a small circle. Always have an open mind to everything. Not everyone is going to love what you are doing, its fine. If at any point of your process of reaching for your dreams, you start feeling comfortable stop and restart or rethink about what your views are. Remember forming an original idea is not even half of the progress. Its better to fail in a bad idea than to never pursue one!