Failure. The one word I imagine everyone is scared of. I have experienced many failures in my life. So much so that I became a person who was afraid to be fearless. I became a person who stuck to the rules, and didn’t stray very far from them in fear of disappointing. I wanted to share a story with you all that helped me break free from the chain of fearfulness, and how it helped form where I am today.
         
          Many of you know me as a photographer, but I would be lying if I said it was my number one  passion. Music has been and always will be my first love and passion. Originally I wanted to study music education in college. I had been immersed in the music world since I was 4, and at the time it was all I knew. If we are being honest, it was all I felt I was good enough to do in college. To me singing or playing an instrument was a way to step out of all my life stressors and be in a world that was good. A world that was a break from everything I had been going through. A world where I could just be Miranda and no one else. I was so excited when I had the opportunity to audition for the school of music at TTU but, when it came to audition day I could barely speak. I was completely devastated. This was everything I wanted and I couldn’t use the skill I was showcasing, but I gave it my best anyway. A few weeks later I learned that I didn't get accepted, which in my mind I knew was coming. There were so many talented people at this audition, and you could tell that, that was where they were meant to be. At first I thought I would have been devastated but that wasn’t the feeling I got. Something in me knew after that experience that I belonged elsewhere. During sophomore year at TTU I was told I could purse a music ed degree, but It still just did not feel right. I had been through so much growing up, and I went through those hard times for a reason. The psychology department was where I belonged. I’m glad I stayed because I have learned so much and have met amazing academics. This experience would one day lead me up to potentially helping others be more than what their experiences defined them as.
         
          I could have let my experience with failure get the best of me. I didn’t allow it to, and that’s what surprised me the most. I finally felt free. I knew I could always sing. I had all the instruments I needed at home. I knew it was always going to be a part of my life. It was time work towards being the real Miranda, and not what everyone else wanted me to be or what I thought I was suppose to be.

        Well how does this apply to photography? Well, If i didn't experience fear or failure. I wouldn't be where I am today. I wouldn’t be sitting here typing this message to you. I believe everything happens for a reason, and part of that Is being fearless and letting your life take its course. I would say that’s how Greatly Loved was born. I admired photography, but knew nothing about actually taking a photograph. Exposure, ISO, aperture, and many other “scary” words were completely foreign to me. All I could do was pick up a camera and get to work. All my friends were pushing me to start a photography business. They saw something in me that I often don’t see. I thought back to my experience and said to myself “be fearless, Miranda.” I had a name, I learned the basics, now all I needed was clients. I reached out to the lovely young women of TTU by offering a few free senior sessions. I started with 3 senior sessions and ended the year with about 60+ clients! It just blows my mind. I have the best family, friends,and community that make Greatly Loved what it is today. 

       If I didn’t take that leap, I would probably be saying “I wish I could do that.” But, instead I am pursuing another thing that makes me happy. In photography you are always going to make mistakes and have some days where you are just not on your game. Don’t let that stop you from being adventurous and taking risks in your photography. Be fearless. Be confident. When you do this, you will be surprised with how much this changes your photography. You can always learn from your mistakes, and that learning will keep setting you above the bar.

Now go take some photos!
Gracefully, 
Miranda West 
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