We had the good fortune of connecting with Meghan L H Nelson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Meghan, how do you define success?
People are going to tell you that success is measured by how much money you make or how many pictures you’ve sold. They’re going to tell you success comes from becoming the best at something and that’s just not true. A college professor once told me that there will always be someone better than you but that doesn’t mean you’re not good. In trying to find success we often start comparing ourselves to others and their accomplishments. The thing we may miss by doing that is our own growth and development. Over the years I’ve learned the only person I should be comparing myself to is myself. When I’ve looked at where I started and where I am now, I see success. Starting a photography business is hard and can be discouraging but I’ve come so far from where I’ve been. Now, instead of seeking out work all the time, work finds me. I even accepted a part-time job as a college professor teaching students all the photography skills and other skills I’ve learned from starting my business. I get to wake up every morning and do something I love and I’m proud of. That is true success. When you find a place you belong and get to do what you love in a way that makes the world a better place, that is more success than I could ever ask for. I am not the greatest photographer that ever lived but I am great. I bring joy through what I do and that is all anyone could ever ask for.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
While I am an avid photographer, graphic designer, and web designer, I feel the centerpiece of all my work is my nature photography. I love traveling to new places and discovering things I’ve never seen before. While being a photographer and working to set up a great shot is important, I feel my real talent shines when I bring my images to life in Photoshop. I love enhancing my photos, merging images together, and bringing out textures and light that would have otherwise gone unnoticed in the original photo. My husband has looked at my edited photos and often said he didn’t realize it was possible for a place to be more beautiful in a picture than in person. Cameras can often capture what the naked eye cannot and I work to help others enjoy those hidden visions. As I’ve said before, I know I’m not the best in my field but that’s ok! I sell a lot of my work and take great pleasure in helping others see places they might not have otherwise had the chance to see themselves. I am also a part-time college professor and love teaching my photography students how to become the best photographers they can be. I’m inspired by them and they always push me to be better.
Getting started was hard. I’d always loved photography and started taking pictures when I was very little. It took a lot of practice and education to help me become the photographer I am today. Even at the level I’m at now, I’m still not satisfied with my work! I’m constantly working and learning more so I can improve my images. I have always had a wonderful support system of friends and family who have helped me overcome challenges and encouraged me to keep going. I’ve learned that photography is at its best when we share with each other and build each other up. That’s what I try to teach my students. When we work to help one another, it’s amazing how much our photos can improve.
Becoming a professional photographer was a dream of mine for so long. I never thought I’d get as far as I have. When you have a dream, you have to chase it, work for it, and love it to make it real. I have put so much into this business not because I thought it would make me a lot of money but because I knew it would bring a lot of joy to me and to those around me. Photography is my passion. It drives me and moves me in ways nothing else does. When you find something like that, you hang onto it. You just have to. That’s what this business is. A little piece of my heart that’s grown into something extraordinary. Everyone has something like that inside of them and I hope each person has the chance to grow and discover what that is. It might not change the world, but it might change someone’s world. Share your talents! You never know what good you can do until you try.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
This is a hard question! I grew up in a suburb of Denver so I was near all kinds of amazing places. When I had friends visit in the past, I would almost always take them to The Denver Zoo and The Denver Museum of Nature and Science. They are amazing and perfect for all ages! It takes all day just to see one of these places and of course, you have to do everything there. Feed the lorikeets at the Denver Zoo or watch the planetarium show or an IMAX film at the Denver Museum. There is so much to see and do around that area! I also love taking my friends out to the Rocky Mountains. The Devil’s Head hike or the drive up to Echo Lake have always been favorites of mine. Of course, you could always go further than Echo lake and drive up to the summit of Mt Evans. The air is thin and the view is spectacular! If we had more time, I would love to take my friends over to Rocky Mountain National Park. Estes Park is a gorgeous mountain town with a rich history. I love visiting the Stanely Hotel! The National Park itself however is breathtaking. There are large lakes, cliffs, and waterfalls with elk wandering all over the mountains. At night, it’s pretty easy to spot a black bear or two wandering around the forest. I’ve never seen anything like it!
As far as food goes, we have to get a buffalo burger from any of the local restaurants. They’re all so good! Most of our Mexican food is delicious too. I know this is a chain restaurant but the On The Border restaurant in Aurora is fantastic. I love their refried beans and rice!
I used to love to go to downtown Denver too when I was a kid. 16th street mall had pianos lined up and down the street and anyone was allowed to play. The Buell Theatre is also a must! There are always a variety of shows playing. Whichever one you choose to see, you know they’ll be amazing. I could go on and on! Colorado is such an amazing place. It has all the amenities of the city while allowing you trips to the sky-high rocky mountains. You’ll never be bored if you visit!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to thank my parents Ron and Deseree Hunt for not only helping me discover my love of photography but for supporting me emotionally and sometimes financially to help me achieve my dreams. I’d also like to thank my brother Ethan for his support, and my former professors Derek Miller and Caryn Esplin for teaching me and encouraging me to pursue this degree in college. I’d like to thank photographer Stephen Williams for teaching me what it means to be a photographer and for inspiring me to take on the challenge of becoming a professional photographer.
I’d especially like to thank my wonderful husband Isaac Nelson who has been my tripod, reflector, chauffeur, equipment pack mule, and essentially anything else I’ve ever needed on my photo excursions. He has been my biggest support emotionally, financially, physically, and mentally in my pursuit of this dream. I started this business a year into our marriage, and he has been right there along with me ever since. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for him and I am so grateful to have him with me on this journey.