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Pink Slip


Just wait until you read number 10...

We help people take great photos and build profitable businesses that change lives. We’re high school sweethearts, former elementary school teachers and professional photographers. We're experts at making the complex feel simple and believe education is serious business, but learning should be fun.

hey, we're amy & jordan!


Comparison: The Thief of Joy

We remember the first time we held cameras in our hands and had clients on the other end. Do you? The exhilaration of it. The sheer terror of it. The I-have-no-idea-what-I’m-doing of it. The I’m-scared-out-of-my-mind-but-putting-on-a-brave-face of it. It’s not easy what we do. Us, photographers. Us, smaller business owners. Going against the grain and striking out on our own. To change our stars. To change our life. To do something we’ve never done before, so we don’t have to do the thing we’ve always done. Taking a risk. With our time. With our money. And, most scarily, with our hearts. It’s the beaten path for sure.

And if there’s one thing we’ve said from the start and will keep saying until we’re blue in the face (because we needed to hear it, and so do you) it’s that no one — no one — is born a photographer. No one leaves the womb knowing how to use a professional camera, or start a successful business. Yet, when we waded into these waters years ago, we (falsely) assumed everyone else did. That they had some innate talent that we didn’t. “An eye for it” so to speak. Some superpower or secret skill that made the camera feel second nature to them, as natural as breathing. When, for us, it felt more foreign than any language we’d ever heard in our life.

Comparison: The Thief of Joy

We’d see other photographers at all different stages of business and think, That’ll never be us! because their success seemed like a birthright instead of what is was: a labor of love. And, of course, like we all do from time to time, we let comparison steal our joy. If that’s you, congratulations. You’re normal. We’ve all been part of this club.

We’d hear others talk about how many weddings they’d shot the previous season, or portrait sessions they were booking during the fall. How “easy” it was. How they were “turning people away” and “just couldn’t keep up” with all the inquiries they were getting. All the while, we were desperate for our inbox to ding and it not be a Kohl’s coupon. When we did book a few, we really had to fight for them. With everything we had. Then, when we should’ve been celebrating, because we’d just finished a session for a paying client (not just a friend) and done our best work ever, we’d get home, open up social media, or look at someone else’s blog from the same location… and see how far we still had to go.

We let comparison steal our joy

We let comparison steal our joy. We allowed someone else’s tenth year in business make our first year feel small. And, if we’re all being honest with each other, we all struggle with this. We spend too much time comparing our beginning to someone else’s middle, our middle to someone else’s end, or our middle to someone else’s beginning — and we shouldn’t — because apples aren’t oranges and oranges aren’t apples, and the minute we start comparing ourselves to others is the moment we stop celebrating both of us — and serving the clients right in front of us, who really need us.

Isn’t that so true?

Let’s use the people ahead of us as lighthouses so we don’t hit the same rocks they did, and as horizons so we know the direction of our course, while always remembering that neither are the finish line. Because there is no such thing as a finish line. Growth never stops. It never ends. It’s never finished. You’ve never “made it” because there’s not a final destination. “Made it” is just a mirage. We’re all in a constant season of refining.

It’s a process. You gotta learn to love it.

Comparison: The Thief of Joy

In the classroom, when we taught elementary school, we never measured one student against another. How could we? Each child walked into our classroom as a unique individual with a distinct set of life experiences and circumstances (some within their control, but most outside of their control) that made them who they were in that moment. The best thing we could do, for them — and for us — was to measure their success based on their growth from the beginning of the school year to the end, taking into consideration their capabilities or disabilities, their obstacles or opportunities, their life advantages or disadvantages.

As adults, looking at children, that makes sense. We know that. It’s easy to understand. So why don’t we believe that the same idea applies to adults? To photographers? To us? The single mom is not in the same position as the husband and wife team without kids, right? We can all agree on that. At the same time, we’d never disrespect that single mom by placing lower expectations on her potential. Because one of our favorite students was a single mom who was commuting 100 miles to work every day to a job she hated as a landlord, missing out on time she couldn’t get back with her young son. So, rolled up her sleeves and got to work. The nights were long. The weekends were longer. Working two full-time jobs at once while raising a little one, was, in a word, hard. We’ll never know what it’s like to go through what she went through. But you know what? She did it. She took everything we teach in our courses and she changed her stars. She changed her life. Today, she’s a full-time photographer who gets paid to do what she loves… and she never misses a school function.

There are thousands of other factors that affect where you are and what you’ve done up until this moment in your life, and although those shouldn’t be used as excuses or crutches to avoid the hustle it takes to make it in this business (because it takes hustle… a lot of it), give yourself permission stop every now and then to celebrate what you have achieved, and get excited about what you still can… and will. Because if there’s one thing we’ve learned in this business. In any business. Heck! In life. It’s that there’s not a finite amount of compliments or encouragement in this world. There’s an unlimited amount, and we all need it, but it starts with giving it.

So, we’ve got a challenge for you today, friend, whether you’re a photographer or not, and here it is: choose two people, one who’s where you were and one who’s where you want to be, and send them an encouraging message. Tell the first that you admire them and what they’ve accomplished, and you hope to be there one day, too. Tell the second that, even though they may not know you, that you recognize them. That you see them. That they’re doing a great job, and they should keep it up. You never know how much it could mean.

We can all run farther when people are cheering for us.

p.s. While you’re at it, go back to your first ever shoot, spend a few minutes looking at your first images, be proud of how far you’ve come and get excited about where you want to go next. We’ll be here to help you get there.


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  1. Amanda

    July 23rd, 2014 at 11:24 am

    Amy and Jordan, I cannot thank you enough for all of your posts. I check your blog every day and it really has been an inspiration to me personally and professionally. Because of you, I bought Dave Ramsey’s book two days ago and I am pretty sure it will change our lives forever! Your smiles, love and good cheer brighten my day, so thank you thank you thank you!
    PS. I hope you can visit the Cinque Terra in Italy…truly beautiful! Happy travels friends 🙂

  2. Amy & Jordan

    July 26th, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    Aw! Amanda! This is an AMAZING comment! Thank you so much for telling us. We’re so honored to have you checking in with us every day. Go get ’em, friend!

  3. Amy & Jordan

    August 12th, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    Amanda!! So awesome!! Thank you so much for saying all that. Really. It means the world to us! YES! Dave Ramsey is the best and his principles are life-changers (mostly because they’re God’s principles just re-packaged). We just got home and had an amazing adventure together! Thanks for being patient for this response 🙂

  4. LukeandAshley Beasley

    July 24th, 2014 at 7:30 am

    Thank-You Amy & Jordan! This post resonates with us. It is so easy to look elsewhere and compare. Thank-You for the reminder and have fun traveling the world!

  5. Amy & Jordan

    July 26th, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    You bet, friend! And thanks for the love! We’re having a blast in Europe!

  6. Amy & Jordan

    August 12th, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    Hi, Luke and Ashley! Thanks so much for the encouragement! We just got home from Europe so that’s why we’re so delayed in responding! All the best!

  7. Lauren Hooker

    July 24th, 2014 at 11:19 am

    I love this. I’m not a photographer, but I am a creative small business owner. And in the design world, it’s so easy to fall into the comparison trap. Your words of wisdom are spot on and your challenge is such a great idea! I admire your business and all of the heart behind it. Thanks so much Amy and Jordan! I love following along with you two!

  8. Amy & Jordan

    July 26th, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    What?! Lauren! This is SO sweet! We’re so glad to have along for the ride! And, yes, we totally agree. It’s SO easy to fall into the comparison trap as creatives. The best thing we can do is pray for others to have all the good things WE wants for ourselves. It’s the most freeing prayer ever 🙂

  9. Amy & Jordan

    August 12th, 2014 at 5:40 pm

    Aw! Thanks so much, Lauren! You’re so right, too. Creative professionals are one of the rare professions where we’re all always seeing each other’s work all the time, and it’s so easy to get caught up in comparison because it’s, well, so easy to compare. Sorry for the delayed response! We just got back from vacation 🙂

  10. Kristy & Vic

    July 24th, 2014 at 6:59 pm

    This post is fantastic! Exactly what I needed to see in this season and it’s so true! Thank you for sharing this and opening up to others! You guys are fantastic!

  11. Amy & Jordan

    July 26th, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    So awesome, Kristy! Glad it came at the right time! Thanks for your kind words 🙂

  12. Amy & Jordan

    August 12th, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    Hey, guys! You bet! So glad it was helpful!

  13. Patricia

    July 28th, 2014 at 11:33 pm

    Thank you Amy & Jordan for your genuine words of wisdom. I’m a passionate photographer hobbyist on my days off and a school teacher by day like you were. I’m at a crossroads myself in terms of what I want to do in my next chapter of life. I’m trying to take my personal hobby and share it with others in term of trying to capture those special moments for them. Your blog really hit the spot of comparing my beginnings with others’ middle and ends and I know I shouldn’t do that, but continue to do so. However, I am promising myself to stop that bad habit and focus on the positives as well as how far I’ve come. So THANK YOU so much for sharing your story.

  14. Amy & Jordan

    July 29th, 2014 at 12:51 am

    Aw! Love this, Patricia! Keep at it, friend, and know that you’ve got two people here who TOTALLY get what you’re going though every step of the way. We’re cheering you on 🙂

  15. Marcia Florian

    June 13th, 2017 at 6:19 am

    Amy & Jordan, I loved this Blog, it was so eloquently written. It pretty much describes all phases of life and our struggle to improve and succeed, no matter what our chosen profession is or was. You two are wise beyond your years.

  16. Amy & Jordan

    June 13th, 2017 at 2:52 pm

    Hi, Marcia! Thank you so much for your kind words! You’re so sweet! We’re so happy to hear you enjoyed this blog post! <3

  17. Christina

    April 9th, 2018 at 6:03 am

    Oh my gosh guys! You head the nail on the head about not comparing students and not comparing businesses. I am an elementary school teacher and mom and every once in a while I let comparison steal my joy in my first year of business. I love all of your insights and words of encouragement!

  18. Amy & Jordan

    May 9th, 2018 at 10:19 am

    Yes!! Love that takeaway, Christina!!

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The Amy & Jordan Store

Courses & Tools for Photographers   

We help people take better photos and build successful photography businesses. We’re high school sweethearts, former elementary school teachers and professional photographers. We're experts at making the complex feel simple and believe education is serious business, but learning should be fun.

hey, we're amy & jordan!


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