Titus 2:7-8 .7 Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us. ESV
People ask me why I became a photographer. I always tell them the story. My mom was an 18 year old girl living in Thomasville, Georgia and working at Tidwell Studios. My dad was fresh out of the Marines. Daddy took a roll of film into the lab for developing. My mom said she almost wore the image off of the print looking at it before Daddy came back to pick his pictures up. They were married six weeks later. I guess photography is in my blood. Fast forward to the year 2000. This is the year I married Matt. I was always taking pictures of our children. One day he asked me if I had ever thought of becoming a photographer. Of course I had, but I sure never had the courage to follow through with it. He believed in me and encouraged me, and that's how it all began.
Through the years, I have photographed hundreds of events for people. Marriages, life stories, births, and even sessions of children with cancer who were at the end of their journey here on earth. I love my job. Also, I learned that social media is the gateway to networking and building clientele. I worked MySpace and then Facebook like magic. I went from having 15 LIKES on my page to 13 thousand. I posted anything I could think of that might draw an audience. I did draw an audience, but not the way that I wanted. I found myself making fun of people who I had sessions with or who I came in contact with. Granted, some people are difficult, but it's taken me years to learn that I am a photographer, not a comedian and not a judge.
When you step out into the public in any manner, you are setting yourself up to be judged. You are becoming a public figure. You are going to be held accountable. And I promise you this; People of today are mean. I was mean. Did having LIKES on a social media page really mean more to me than hurting people? Slowly, I began to change my tactics. I lost a lot of followers, but I gained something so much better. I gained self-respect. I also gained a big lesson in humbleness and humility. I learned that young people were watching me. What was I teaching them?
One day I posted something about loving Jesus. Immediately, a friend called me out about my words and my actions. You absolutely cannot serve God and people. That was hard to hear, but to this day, I am thankful for this friend who boldly spoke truth into my life. On my journey to become "balanced", I am finding out so much about who I was and who I want to be.
There will be days in my future, I'm sure, when I will deal with difficult people. It's part of my job. I have to remember that people will know who I am by my name and by how I make them feel. I have to remember that the words I speak will leave a lifetime of memories in their soul, memories that will last much longer than the photographs I take. There will be days when Satan will be hard at work. We live in an environment of evil and frustration. It will be then when I have to work harder to have and to give grace. I am Kim Stone of Kim Stone Photography. That’s my name. But I am also the brand for my business. I am a memory maker. Let me make sure I leave people with the memory representative of more than my name. Let me show dignity and integrity worthy of His grace.