Turning 30 Sucked - Gratitude Journal

posted on: August 25, 2017

Maybe for you it's by the age of 40 or 50... for me it was by the age of 30.
A lovely and very accomplished younger cousin of mine was confessing how much turning 30 sucked for her, and I totally agreed.  It sucked for me too.  I had so many expectations about how my life was supposed to turn out by that time, and so many regrets about why it hadn't turned out that way...

I was supposed to finish at least one of the two Bachelor Degrees I'd started...
- Because 9 years of college education means nothing if you don't have a degree to show
(but I learned I could still earn more than my colleagues who had advanced degrees)
- Because other people considered photography a nice hobby, not a bill-paying profession
(but I made a full time living off of photography in spite of other people who didn't)
- Because you're not a smart person if you don't finish college
(Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Oprah Winfrey, Brad Pitt- so many dumb multimillionaires)

I was supposed to own a house that would be a sensible investment... 
- Because houses only and always go up in value no matter where you live
(but thank goodness we could even sell our house and move before the market tanked)
- Because once you get married you settle down and stay in the same place
(unless the market shifts and suddenly jobs aren't available in your town anymore)
- Because I'd have it paid off by the time I retired
(unless you retire early because market investments can earn better than houses)

Lowell Night Scenes-02.jpg

I was supposed to have kids by the age of 29...
- Because doctors scared me by saying I may never be able to have a child after that
(but my grandmother had kids after 40 years old and that was two generations ago)
- Because college for kids is expensive and I'd need to pay for it while I was working
(but kids can get scholarships, or they can work for universities and get their tuition for free)
- Because I wanted kids to be living on their own before I would turn 65yrs old
(but I could always go live on a cruise ship and let them fend for themselves the hard way)

I was supposed to have retirement savings and financial predictability... 
- Because compound interest would save me in the long run
(unless the market pulls all of your investments out from under you)
- Because I'd save all of my worldly travels for my later years
(you mean the ones where climbing a mountain becomes a health risk?)
- Because a steady job is more predictable than self-employment
(unless someone decides to fire you or eliminate your department)

Urban Merrimack Valley-02.jpg

The period between our late 20s & early 30s is considered the "Saturn Returns" period.  It's the time when a misaligned life feels like sloughing through the mud.  It's a time when we see where our ego has taken us so far.  It's a time when we take stock in everything we've been working toward that makes us feel successful or accomplished and decide if that version of success is really the one we want.  It's a time when we reconsider what it is that really makes us happy, and if we actually have any of that in our lives.  However, we can experience these same feelings during every major milestone birthday or life event.

All those things I thought I was supposed to do by the time I was 30... they were all illusions and imaginary finish lines placed in my mind by social suggestions which led to my assumptions about what it meant to be a successful healthy adult.  Having all of those "sensible" expectations in my head made me feel bad about what I hadn't accomplished, rather than pretty freaking awesome about what I had accomplished.

I may not have had retirement savings, but it's because I already started traveling the world while I was young and healthy enough to really enjoy those adventures like cave tubing, cliff jumping, and rock climbing.  I may not have had kids, but that also meant I could enjoy life as an adult for a while without lacking serious sleep or worrying about the wellbeing of tiny humans.  I may not have had a house investment, but I also didn't have property taxes on a house I couldn't sell or maintenance on a home that lost its value.  I may not have had either one of the two degrees I started, but I had started my own business instead and gave myself more freedom than either of the two degrees would have given me.

Once I got over all of the things I "didn't" accomplish by the time I was 30, and looked at all the freedoms and accomplishments I'd chosen instead, I started to feel just a little bit better.  I still had some changes I wanted to make and goals I needed to shift in order to have more of what was making me really happy in life, but at least I had gained the wisdom that everything doesn't need to work out in a certain way by a certain time in order to live a good life- and sometimes, what we get instead, is actually way more awesome than what we thought we should have had.

I'm grateful that I got to have these realizations in my 30s because it made the years afterward way more awesome and freeing than life felt in my 20s.  Some people don't come to these realizations until the age of 55 or 67 and have a lot more remorse or resolve to work through around all of it.  It really doesn't matter where we are in life.  What matters is recognizing all of the choices we've made that have brought us joy and happiness along the way, and finding ways to do more of that in the future.

2017-2018 NYC Photography Business Internship

posted on: August 16, 2017

Deadline to Apply: Sunday September 3rd, 2017

When I was starting out, I really wanted to have a mentor to help me find all the short cuts I needed to be more successful.  As helpful as online forums were, I never felt comfortable sharing too much information or getting into the nitty gritty details online.  I just wanted that one person who had seen it all, and done it all, and could guide me through the challenges.  However, very few professional photographers actually offered any internship opportunities, so I never really found that person even though I applied to many opportunities and attended many workshops.  Luckily, I was strong enough to figure things out on my own, but of course it took twice as long and I could have saved a lot of time if I'd found a mentor to work with.

Photo by Brian Wright / Allred Studio

That's probably why I've had such a strong dedication to giving back through mentoring and writing articles on the PhotoLovecat.com blog- wanting to give someone else what I wish I'd had in the beginning.  Taking on an intern has often been one of the most challenging ways of mentoring- requiring a ton of dedication on the part of the intern to show up and make the most of our time together while I try to figure out what their level of dedication says about the amount of responsibility and experiences I can provide them.

The interns who treated our time together like it was even more valuable than a paid job were often rewarded with a very deep level of experience and insight into running a photography business.  The interns who weren't very reliable about showing up or doing basic photography business administration tasks often didn't get much experience simply because they weren't dedicated to learning about the actual business behind making a living as a full time photographer.  The more curiosity you have about running a photo business, the more you'll learn.

Mentoring with a professional photographer as an intern is much more about the hands-on experience of running a business than it is about photography.  You may gain some technical photographic tips or experiences along the way, but what you really learn is what the backend of being a professional photographer is about, and it's something you can only learn by working on the backend of a photography business.  For some people, this makes it much easier to run their own business later on.  For others, this experience lets them know they really don't want to run their own business.  Either way, it provides a fast track of experiences about what someone wants to do after their internship is over.

I am currently able to take on ONE photography business intern for SIX months.  

You Should Apply If:
You're an optimist who's excited about the idea of running a professional photography business and can commit at least 5 hours weekly to showing up at my office in NYC for at least 6 months with motivation and dedication to doing the work and trying new challenges.


You will be working from my office near Washington Square in New York City (zip code 10012); and occasionally meeting over Skype.

Weekly Office Hours:

- 12-5pm Wednesdays 
- September 13 - December 13, 2017  / January 17 - April 18, 2018
- Additional hours as agreed upon 

Software You Should Already Understand:

- Mac OSX
- Adobe Photoshop CS

Equipment You Should Already Have:

- Cell Phone
- Laptop w/ WiFi Access
- DSLR Camera

Tasks That You're Already Comfortable Doing:

- Basic Image Editing & Retouching in Photoshop
- Using a DSLR Camera in Manual Mode

What You'll Learn During Your Internship:
- Marketing with Imagery
- Professional Networking
- Business Management
- Client Workflow
- Image Management
- Vendor Relations
- Product Sales
- Photography Tips

How you will be compensated:
- Weekly One-on-One Business Mentoring during our 6 Months Together ($7200 value)
- Access to behind-the-scenes operations, workflows, and contracts in my business (priceless)
- Opportunities to receive paid assisting, retouching, and second shooting opportunities as available and depending on your creative and technical strengths. ($$$)
- Internship credit (if necessary for College/University study)

******Deadline To Apply********

SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 3, 2017 11:59pm

You must EMAIL A VIDEO INTERVIEW OF YOURSELF.  Written applications alone will not be accepted.  You can upload something simple like a smartphone/webcam video to YouTube, Vimeo, or just embed it in your email to me, but it should be at least one minute long and provide the video content requirement listed below.  Caution: don't wait until the last minute to send your video, or you may run into technical glitches and not get your application in on time.

Include the following details in your message to info@anneruthmann. com:
  1. Email Subject: Internship Application 2017
  2. Email Content: Your Name, Phone Number, and where you'll be traveling from each week
  3. Video Content: Share why you're interested in working as an intern, what skills and experiences you already have, and what you hope to learn during your internship.
An emailed response to your video application will be sent by Sunday September 10, 2017.

Last, but not least, because I don't think it's fair that you have to send a video without also seeing a video of me, so here's a link to a variety of video interviews and talks I've done about my own journey into and through the life of being a professional photographer over the last 13 years:

TEDx Talk 2015

Fresh Rag Interview 2014 

Dane Sanders Interview 2012

Anne Ruthmann on Fast Track Coaching with Dane Sanders from Dane Sanders on Vimeo.

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