Entering into 2015 this was the question I was asking myself. Should I hire an assistant? I mean don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t in over my head with work or anything, somehow I just knew that this was the next step to my growth in business.
During this season of pondering this question, I met a woman at my sons school because our kids were in the same class. We started to both get involved with helping out in the classroom and became acquainted in this way. During Christmas time, I brought my camera to capture a little Christmas party and a lightbulb literally went off! Tora enthusiastically approaches me and asks me if I’m a photographer. We did some short talk about it and she basically told me if I ever needed anyone or was willing to allow her to assist me in any way that she would be completely willing to help and learn.
Funny how things worked out right in the same time frame that I was contemplating getting help. I learned somethings about Tora by her work ethic she showed in assisting in the classroom. She had a way of even holding the teacher to a higher standard. She expected things to happen and put her hands to the work. I was always impressed by the way she was simply on top of everything. If there was one thing I was looking for in an assistant, it was to compliment the areas of my weakness. I shortly realized Tora would be a perfect fit.
So the question continued to brew…should I hire an assistant? I decided that before I’d hire her, I’d get opinions from others I respected in my field. I got nothing but negative feedback towards it. After all, Tora was someone who aspired to be a photographer someday, this could jeopardize my business. There were several truths to their feedback about why I SHOULDN’T hire her. I walked away with so many fears and I had to just sit with them and review them in my mind and in my heart.
For the next couple days I would sit and think about Tora as a person vs the truths that my fellow colleagues brought to my attention. Of course I was shaken and confused and uncertain. Yet, something inside of me trusted her and something even deeper said I should give this a chance. After a discussion with my husband I decided that I would operate in love and not fear. I started to think of all the scenarios and even the worst of them, and I was content knowing that even if it went sour in the end, I would know that I was giving someone a chance to grow and learn and dream. In the end I chose love and not fear.
The next couple of months were simply fantastic. There was something about Tora that knew my every step even before I made it. I never had to ask her to do things, she simply just knew what to do. It was mind blowing, honestly too good to be true. I was continually blessed by her support and her comfort along the way. Something about her presence elevated my enthusiasm for my work every single time. There was nothing I could not do. She was the one standing next to me saying “YES YOU CAN” and that was enough! I started to see another shift happen in my work, and in myself.
As we continued, things were not as easy. We started to form a more genuine connection. We were now both invested in each other and working hard not to let the other down. I’m a creative and I’m constantly challenging myself to change and evolve. Tora loves structure and the change was shocking and uncomfortable. We had to constantly re-evaluate as I made her uncertain of her tomorrows as I was constantly changing the direction of our sail. This is where we started to really grow together. I realized that she was now an asset that I did not want to let go of and I was willing to fight to keep our business relationship. She started to understand my ways so much better and it became easier for her to adapt to change.
Now, Tora and I are pretty much inseparable. Honestly, I know this is not it for her. I know that we both have a lot of growing to do in our own dreams and desires. I would never hold her back from what she wants to achieve because I care for her and her family. I have been so blessed to be a fuel that guides her passion into the right direction. And I’ve been blessed to have her by my side assisting me in the littlest and largest of things.
I understand why every photographer would have fears to trust another person to know the ins and outs of the way we run our business. I understand that our business is our baby and we do our best to protect it. I want to give you a different perspective as I close. To answer the question “Should you hire an assistant?”….YES! I feel like everyone needs a Tora in their life! The value that an assistant could bring into your business is huge. Tora saves me a lot of time in my brainstorming process during a shoot. She goes a step ahead of me to ensure that certain locations are prepped and ready. Since she already knows what I love, she can go ahead and scout locations for me that help me to focus on my current moment with my clients. She is a natural nurturer so she protects the well being of my clients, she’ll go ahead of me to ensure that my clients are safe in the locations we choose and will put her own life on the line first. She walks my clients through these areas and makes them feel really secure. She’s the one who is noticing the fine details as I’m shooting-like the way my clients clothes are looking or if they have anything out of place. During a wedding she is setting things up and prepping my next step-this saves so much time and energy. She is getting me water constantly and holding my bags to alleviate pressure. She allows for me to focus on the artistic side of things and it frees me up to be more creative during the process. On road trips we are discussing the plan making it easier for me to map out scenarios and brainstorm. We dream together and get each other really excited about every single shoot. There are so many more benefits, but I felt I had to list a few direct ones before I closed. Every person is different. You may still feel like an assistant is not necessary and I fully understand. As for me….I’m grateful for Tora and I’d tell anyone to hire an assistant they trust!
I’d say this video above is the perfect example of the little (huge) things Tora does that help me take my photography to the next level. She goes ALL IN.