Soul Talk Interview: Elizabeth Ladean

The Natural Wanderer Soul Talk Elizabeth Ladea Photography Introverted creative women

Let's meet...

Name: Elizabeth Ladean

Creative Industry that you are in: Wedding photography!

Years in Business: I opened the doors of ELP officially at the end of 2013. Prior to that, I had worked in and out of photography, both as a "side job" that I never quite pushed toward more than that...and also worked with and for other photographers and companies from approx 2003-2010.

Favorite Food: Pizza or chicken

Favorite Color: Yellow

Favorite Drink: Coffee!

Best music (singer or group): That is insanely difficult to answer! I LOVE groups like The Lumineers, The Head & The Heart, and Lord Huron. I'm beyond obsessed with Andrew Belle. And I have a crazy love for just about all 80's music!

A pet peeve you have: Unfriendly people! A friendly smile goes a long way in my book!

Name something that brings you joy: Friendly people! haha. I'm a big fan of simple joys - sitting outside and being completely aware of the wind in your hair.

In 3 words, how would a friend describe you?  Funny, Sweet, Empathetic

to the heart talk...

If you had to choose an animal to represent you, which would you choose and why?

Easy answer!! A CAT! Cats get a bad rap, first of all. But I choose a cat for the reasons that not everyone understands about cats. They are independent and do their own thing. They are sweet and loving, but need their space and alone time. They nap, a lot. And they are very curious creatures! I feel like I possess a lot of those characteristics!

What is the passion behind your business? We know all businesses have heart behind them, but in what ways does your business give you purpose?

Things are about to get deep you guys! Aside from the obvious reasons that I love what I do, and I love to see, witness, and document love... It has to be known that it's more than just the love between a couple. It's also about the love given and received within their families. On a personal level, I'm not close with my family, and have a very broken relationship with my mother. Being around brides who have a deep and real connection with their Mom's in ways that are more than just "This is my Mother" are so inspiring to see and witness. I love to be a part of this! I always say that at your wedding you'll likely catch me wiping a tear or two, and you'll definitely catch me hugging your Mom. My relationships with my couples extend beyond just the two of them often times, and I love when that happens. I want everything I do to be so much more than a business transaction. There's connection to be made, friendships to be born, and memories to be created!

How do you measure your own success? When will you know when you have "made it"?

Isn't that the million dollar question! I think the obvious answer is that this looks different for everyone! I'm not sure I can even answer! There are naturally certain things such as "OH when I book X amount of weddings" or "OH when I book a destination wedding", or "OH when I have X amount of Instagram followers". There are days those things matter to me, and days when they simply do not. Ultimately success for me is just knowing that I get to do what I do for a living, day in, and day out. After spending sooo many years in cubicles, and under fluorescent lights 40+ hours a week - just DOING this now and knowing it is my one and only "job", is incredibly successful to me.

As an introvert in the creative industry, what has been the most difficult for you in growing your business? Have you made any adjustments to work through this difficulty?

In the early days when I realized I can't sit in a cubicle anymore, and I can't let photography be a "side thing" anymore.... I knew I had to put myself out there. I had to hit the pavement, meet people within the industry, make friends. I had to put myself out there way more openly with potential clients. I had to make small talk, A LOT... And as a introvert, small talk can be painful. I did all of those things though - and when I began, I'd generally be a nervous wreck prior to meetings. I'd spend meetings stumbling over my words and knowing my face was as red as a tomato. But, I kept doing it. And little by little, it got so much easier.

What do you excel in as an introvert owning a business? When did you realize that this is a strength in your business?

Personally, I think an element of introversion is, or at least can be, a person who is also sensitive. Sensitivity is another thing that gets a lot of criticism. Being "shy", or "bashful" was something I was made fun of for all my life. Because I enjoy being alone and reading books on my sofa VS going out and socializing is something that to this day gets poked fun at. The difference now, is that I no longer am bothered by it! I've realized that my sensitivity makes me different in a good way - When I say that on your wedding day, I'll laugh when you laugh, and cry when you cry.. I mean that. And those emotions of mine come out genuinely. It's easy for me to relate to whatever range of emotions people around me are feeling, it's honestly nearly uncontrollable. That used to be something I thought was a bad thing about myself... like, wow I need to be more professional! But now, I've come to realize that at the end of the day, human connection trumps everything else.

Can you talk about a time you felt out-of-place? What thoughts went through your mind and what was the outcome of the situation?

I think again this goes back to the early days after opening ELP. I felt out of place in situations where I really need to be extroverted. Whether that be a meeting, or industry social gathering. Thoughts in my mind were just that overactive near panic question what to say next, how to keep the conversation flowing etc. I think the outcome and lesson learned is that not every conversation you have with every single person is going to flow effortlessly...and that's totally okay.

What have you learned about yourself in this business process so far? What goals do you have for your personal growth in the next 5 years?

What I've learned: That I don't mind being tagged as "sensitive" or "introverted", and that these days I own those labels proudly. I've learned that despite the fact that those "labels" and characteristics my personality might make things a little harder for me, at the end of the day, I'm still going to get to where I want. I'm still going to accomplish goals, and run a business and be successful because those labels are just labels...they don't define my every fiber.

Goals for the next 5 years: Simply put, keep this boat of mine sailing, and continue learning and growing in the world of photography!

What tip would you give other introverted creatives who are looking to make meaningful connections with others? (Ya know, beyond the small talk) :)

That not every person you talk to will be someone you'll hit a deeper level of connection with! And that's okay!! When you meet "your people", you'll know - and pour your energy into them and into the connection you're building! For those that simply just don't "get you", or that you can't get beyond small talk with, take to heart that that is truly O.K. Different personalities are part of what make the world go 'round!

What is one pieces of advice that you would give creatives in how to find purpose and balance in their life and business? How has this advice played out in your own life and business?

Give it time is the answer that comes to my mind - this is something that is different for everyone, and what worked for me won't for everyone else. It takes time to find these things, but you'll know when you do find them!

connect with Elizabeth...

Facebook: Elizabeth Ladean Photography

Instagram: @elizabethladean