If I can be real, raw, and honest for a moment with you, I cannot say I would be here running a photography business, if it was only me fueling it. I would not have the confidence, the tools, the resources, the knowledge, the motivation, and the commitment to continue it. Every successful person has a team cheering them on and supporting them from behind. The team is unseen most of the time, but quite possibly the most crucial and appreciated part.
My team is my close family and my mentor, Terri Lee. I met Terri through a photography class she was teaching. I had been looking for a photographer for years that would be willing to teach me how to use the camera and edit photos. But God used Terri for a far greater purpose then I could have imagined.
After taking Terri’s first photography class, I had become obsessed with learning about all things photography and I continued on with her for one on one mentoring. Terri introduced me to all kinds of styles of photography and things to photograph. I found I really do not enjoy shooting moody photos and absolutely dreaded shooting sports. She had laid out every option for me to experiment with and find what I like.
I found I was passionate about photographing people! Terri then walked me through step by step planning, prepping, and leading a session. I remember being terrified to go on sessions, so worried we would not have any good photos and I would not know how to pose the client. It was stressful, but Terri would whisper to me “Have them stand that way so they’re not facing the sun.” I would confidently turn to my client and say “Okay, I am thinking if I have you turn that way, the light is better and will not be directly in your face.” Having little to no idea what I was doing; Terri quietly led the sessions by whispering to me.
She taught me that little details make a huge difference. I learned to look at my work with a critical eye and always to find room for improvement. She helped to fine tune my work. Terri was an open book and held back no information. She introduced me to amazing resources, other photographers, and wonderful opportunities to continue to grow. Terri gently, held me accountable and helped to make photography a priority, even when it would have been easier to focus on other things, and for that I am so grateful.
Over time I gained confidence in my shooting and was bold enough to branch off and photograph sessions even when she was not available. Eventually, I learned lighting and was able to lead my clients on my own, but the whisper of her in the back of my mind will never fully leave.
When I told Terri how much I loved photography and hoped to make it a career one day, she encouraged me and just like everything else she helped me to step boldly into it.
I could not be more grateful for her and for the amazing ways God has used her in my life. Yes, she taught me photography, but she taught me far more than that too. She taught me to be generous with the knowledge and information I have.
Terri taught me what it looks like to go the extra mile, to commit to something fully even when it was inconvenient. The thought, work, and amount of time, and energy she has poured into me is overwhelming, and I am so grateful for it.
Most importantly she taught me what it looks like to serve and love God with everything you do. And shooting with and for her will always be such an honor.
Thank you so, so much! Words cannot describe how grateful I am to have you in my supportive team cheering me on, guiding me, and being a gentle voice of wisdom in my life. God has used you in ways that I could never have imagined. You have created a rippling effect of love and generosity, that I hope will continue on through me. Thank you!
Bethie..Terri is truly a blessing in your life but Iam sure you are a very special and unforgettable student in her life as well… I’m so glad for both of you that you have this relationship … you wrote a beautiful tribute….
Your kind words and heart for the Lord and passion for photography continue to bless me. You are a gem, beloved by the Lord and me. This season we were able to share has touched my life in so many ways. You are amazing, so talented, incredibly persevering and full of joy and compassionate toward others. You’ll go beyond what you can even imagine in life and photography!