Step into the Spotlight : Squash the Self-Limiting Beliefs and Embrace Your Inner Confidence with Maria Arellano

It’s time to stop letting imposter syndrome and self-limiting beliefs get in the way of our amazing businesses! Constantly comparing ourselves and our work to others instead of doing what we love with enthusiasm leaves us stuck in our heads and putting a version of ourselves out into the world that isn’t authentic.

In today’s episode, I’m chatting with award-winning artist and photographer Maria Arellano about how self-limiting beliefs hold you back and why you should present yourself with authenticity and confidence. It’s not about “faking it until you make it,” you need to work on your own self-confidence first!

Putting yourself out there, stepping out of your comfort zone, and taking risks … This is what will attract the right people to your business. When you put limiting beliefs in the past, you can let the world see the rockstar you really are.

What’s in this episode:

  • Maria’s passion for how photography can lift up women and girls [02:51]
  • Maria’s advice for someone struggling to show up authentically in their life and business [05:53]
  • How humility can hold you back from showing up and presenting your best self [13:19]
  • Maria’s tips for growing a social media following on TikTok [18:19]
  • How comparing your work to others doesn’t serve you and actually keeps you from growing [22:00]
  • How to combat the pressure we put on ourselves [29:03]
  • How to move out of your comfort zone [32:48]

If you want to ditch the self-limiting beliefs, step into your self-confidence, and embrace your inner rockstar, tune in to this episode.

SUBSCRIBE: iTunes | Spotify | Stitcher

Resources Mentioned

Maria’s previous episode

Meet Maria

Maria Arellano is an award-winning artist that creates unique photography art specializing in Goddess photography. She owns and operates a full-service studio in Cypress, Texas where she provides styling assistance, hair and make-up, and high-quality fine art products. Maria was one of 10 photographers selected for the Pro Prints National Billboard project where her work was featured on billboards in her city. She also mentors photographers and aspires to always lead by example.

Connect with Maria

Maria’s website

Follow Maria on Facebook

Follow Maria on Instagram

Follow Maria on TikTok

Did you love hearing Maria’s tips for ditching humility and embracing your self-confidence? Check out another episode from Teri Hofford


[00:00:00] Maria Arellano And I knew that if I were to change lives of future girls, I had to start with the moms because I was working with a lot of kids. But behind the scenes in the corner, I would just hear all these terrible things that women were saying about themselves. You know, you look at your child, you see all this potential and this magic, and you’re just like, Oh, she’s going to grow up to be the best, and I want her to be the best, and I’m going to live through her like we see it all the time. But you don’t see that potential in yourself, and you stop believing in your own magic, you know? And through having my daughters I just felt like we have to model that behavior because you can’t speak it into existence for them. You have to show them that it’s possible. You’re their first role model. 

[00:00:47] Lisa DiGeso Welcome to the Art and Soul Show, where we dove into heart opening chats on photography, business, life and that messy in between. I’m your host, Lisa DiGeso, a mom, a photographer and entrepreneur. And I’ll be sharing honest conversations and advice for photographers with insight on mindset, entrepreneurship and creativity. The goal of this podcast is for you to be able to gain insights and strategies that will get you real results. Because, let’s face it, having a photography business can be lonely, but it doesn’t have to be. This is the place you can go when you need a boost of encouragement, a kick in the pants and inspiration to pick up your camera. This is the art and soul show. Hello, my beautiful friends. Welcome back to this show. Today, I’m hanging out with my dear friend Maria. She is a dear friend of mine. And we were actually chatting this summer and it was such a good conversation. We were like, you know, we really should be recording this. So we decided that it would be awesome to bring her back to the show. She was on a previous episode, if you haven’t listened to that, I would encourage you to go back and listen to that episode too. So Maria Arellan is an award winning artist that creates unique photography specializing in goddess photography. She owns and operates a full service studio in Cyprus, Texas, where she provides styling assistance, hair and makeup and high quality fine art products. She is incredibly talented and I am so, so excited just to bring her back and pick her brain and just have some girl chat in fun today. So, without further ado. Welcome, Maria. 

[00:02:28] Maria Arellano I love your show so much, Lisa. And I am so grateful that you invited me back because it’s just so fun to speak with you and pick your brain. And I always feel like I leave with inspiration and new tools as well, so I really love it. Thank you for having me. 

[00:02:44] Lisa DiGeso You are the sweetest. So tell us really who you are and what you are passionate about. 

[00:02:51] Maria Arellano So I am Maria Arellano. Of course. I’m from Houston, Texas. I’m a mom of two girls who challenge me every single day. And I am passionate about building women up and girls up. Having two daughters really put a lot of my life into perspective, and I just felt like there was so much pressure to not break them like we were broken, you know? 

[00:03:18] Lisa DiGeso Yes. Yes. 

[00:03:19] Maria Arellano And after that, you know, discovering photography and utilizing photography to build them up, having photos on the wall that they got to walk by every single day and see how that has built their self-esteem up. Really inspiring, made me passionate about bringing that photography, a new vision of yourself to other people. And I knew that if I wanted to change lives of future girls, I had to start with the moms because I was working with a lot of girls. But behind the scenes in the corner, I would just hear all these terrible things that women were saying about themselves. You know, you look at your child, you see all this potential and this magic, and you’re just like, oh, she’s going to grow up and be the best, and I want her to be the best, and I’m going to live through her like we see it all the time. But you don’t see that potential in yourself and you stop believing in your own magic, you know? And. 

[00:04:12] Lisa DiGeso Yes. 

[00:04:12] Maria Arellano Through having my daughters I just felt like we have to model that behavior because you can’t speak it into existence for them. You have to show them that it’s possible. You know, yeah, you’re their first role model. That’s what I’m passionate about. 

[00:04:27] Lisa DiGeso It’s so true and it’s funny. And like when you think about it, like society really does and just everything that we’re fed through media, through even social media and everything, it is like contra indicative too, or just like opposite of actually building us up because it’s like if we unless we fit into like a certain body type or skin color or this or that, like you don’t fit and it’s just such bullshit. And like I said, right, like I don’t have a daughter, but like I have personally, I have struggled with self-esteem issues and I know that we have chatted a little bit about that in overcoming, especially because we’re both kind of dialing into Tik-Tok, which is like definitely more honest and real and authentic version that you’re putting of yourself on the Internet. And it’s so like, oh Like that’s gonna be feeling holy Like, I, like, I thought I was vulnerable until I realized I wasn’t right. Yeah, right. So it’s been like such a process. So I want to dove in a little bit on this chat about over the summer because we talked a little bit about imposter syndrome and how we both thought that would be a really great topic because it’s something that we both really struggle with. So what advice would you have, Maria, about someone who is really struggling to show up authentically as themselves in their own life, not just in their work, but in their life, too? 

[00:05:53] Maria Arellano It’s a deconstruction. It’s that journey where we have to deconstruct ourselves and go back through our life story, back all the way from when we were in childhood. Right. And see what are the things that were often instilled in us, what were we told? And I know that when you and I had this conversation, it was for me culturally, it was about being humble and having humility. And to me, in a way that was also kind of braggy because now you’re bragging about being so humble. I know so many women. I’m Mexican. I was born in Mexico. My family is. And I do understand culturally this happens throughout. But I know for me particularly I would see it and it would be like, I’m just so humble. I’m so humble. It doesn’t quite translate like that in Spanish, but it was like any time someone would speak about their children and just say something like, My son’s going to med school. All the tias and stuff would be like, Did you see her bragging on her son, he’s going to be a doctor like that. It was so bad for me that when I had my first born daughter, I had a newborn and I was so excited and I would refuse to talk to people about my newborn baby because I was so I had so much guilt and shame and thought that, oh, if I talk to them about my newborn baby, then they’re going to think I’m bragging. And that was, like really difficult to deconstruct. And then coming into owning your own business, having to market for yourself and knowing that, you know, it doesn’t matter how hard you work or how talented you are, like no one’s going to be. No one’s even going to notice you or be inspired by you. If they don’t know your story, they don’t know who you are. You have to become your biggest cheerleader. That’s really hard for us to do because they’re like. Everyone’s going to think, I’m so conceited. If I go out there and I talk about the awards I won or the people that I’ve met or the things that I’ve done, you know. Or then there’s the other thing, like, do I really deserve this? Like everyone’s going to find out that I’m faking it, the whole fake it till you make it thing, you know, that we hear about there’s so many anecdotes that I can think about in this conversation. To answer this question. A huge game changer for me was reading a book called Atomic Habits. It was by James Clear. So you have to check it out or you might have already read it because I know it’s kind of made the rounds already. But he talks about acting like who you want to become until you become that person. And so if you feel at your core that you are an imposter, that you don’t deserve these things, like, you know, that you’ll never become that person in reality until you start to believe it in your own mind. You are going to inform people, communicate to people, educate people on who you are, not based on your appearance, but based on how you believe who you are. You know, you have to first believe it in your mind in order for it to become a reality. And someone, when I was trying out for WB, I wanted to be a wrestler. There was a young woman, I don’t even know her name, but this woman changed my life with these words. She’s like 25 years old, so super young. I was in my twenties too, and I had lost a lot of weight to try to get this audition. I was right there and all the women on there were so beautiful, like they were Playmate models at that time. That’s what they were hiring a lot of like Playboy models. And she was the model that they hired based on her looks she’s very pretty. And we were sitting at that section when everybody’s eating lunch and stuff and I’m just, oh, you’re so pretty. You’re this or that. And immediately I start with the self-deprecating comments. You know, I’m not small enough. I’m not pretty enough. You know, they’re all blond bombshells and I’m this short Mexican girl. You know. Comparing myself to them and just thinking like, I don’t deserve to be here. I don’t belong here. And I was speaking this into existence in front of someone that was where I wanted to be. She literally looked at me in my face and was like, When I walked into this room and I saw you, all I saw was a beautiful girl. That’s what I saw. You have sat here and you’ve pointed out all of these things that are wrong with you. The whole world is always going to be against you. Do not point out to them those negative things about yourself. Wow. Point out to them that like positive things, you know, because if they never saw it, they’re going to see it because you put that into them. 

[00:10:08] Lisa DiGeso It’s so true. 

[00:10:09] Maria Arellano Yeah, I was like, life changing. Yeah. So, like, I was like, wow, I remember her name I wish I could find there because she’s so wise. But now that I’m 41, I know I did 25 and such wise words. 

[00:10:21] Lisa DiGeso Seriously, I know if we could go back to like I it’s so funny because there was this little trend on TikTok that was like the teenage dirtbag thing where you pulled out a picture from, like when you were young in your teenage years. And I was like. Girl. I was so mean to myself. I was so mean. And I was like, I didn’t know I was pretty. I had no idea. And, like. It just it just it just blows your mind that your biggest critic is often yourself, and that is what you need to overcome. 

[00:10:52] Maria Arellano Yeah, absolutely. Those are the limiting beliefs that, you know, we’ve talked about. And again, it just goes back to the core of it of feeling like it’s guilt and shame. And for a long time, like I didn’t make it to TV, to WWE and I for a long time, I didn’t understand how that was possible when there were so many people that some of them considered legends in that industry that would tell me that I deserve to be there, that I was talented at the time. People weren’t as athletic as they are now. So I was one of the first females that was doing the things that guys were doing in the ring. 

[00:11:24] Lisa DiGeso Yeah. 

[00:11:25] Maria Arellano And just not believing that I deserved it or thinking that, oh, hard work is going to get me there. Someone’s going to notice that I am talented and that I’m working so hard and they’re going to give me the opportunity when the reality is that I should have taken it, I should have demanded it, and I should. It’s that I deserve this. And I never felt that way. And that’s my biggest regret. It’s not that other people didn’t give me an opportunity. It’s not that I didn’t have those opportunities presented to me because I literally did. They opportunities are right there for me to take them. And it was my own lack of self esteem and guilt and shame that kept me from stepping into it. 

[00:11:58] Lisa DiGeso Yeah. So that would be like, you know, it’s funny because you say regret, but also that probably is one of the biggest lessons of your life. I’ve got to to like to step up to the plate and like, swing for the. 

[00:12:11] Maria Arellano To Swing yeah. 

[00:12:12] Lisa DiGeso For the bleachers. I don’t play baseball, so maybe that was a bad analogy. I don’t know. I’m like the least sporty girl on the planet. I like competitive shopping. 

[00:12:22] Maria Arellano I wish that was a sport because I would be so there there. Oh, my gosh.I didn’t like shopping, like for myself or shopping for other other people or for the studio girl, like don’t get me, any amount of money, because they will be gone in the blink of an eye. Okay, not when it’s for me but for anybody else like. Yes, it’s gone. Yeah. Don’t budget what? 

[00:12:45] Lisa DiGeso So I want to circle back a little bit to talk about humility and how that holds us back from showing up and sharing our wins and playing small. Because honestly, I have had some incredible experiences in my 13 years as an entrepreneur and I and we talked about this before. I always hold back on sharing them because it makes me seem like I might not be relatable. And I know you see even sharing, right? And I feel like I’m going to be like name dropping and sharing success stories seems braggy and that’s really not how I want to be perceived. So what advice do you have for me on this? 

[00:13:19] Maria Arellano So I have two things about that. One, and I hate to make this episode about women, but I feel like you don’t see it as much in men, right? Even in male photographers, we don’t see it as much. We see guys that are CEOs that are considered super confident, etc.. But women I know she’s a can I say the B-word, she’s a b. You know, she’s a bitch because she’s like this or she’s assertive or whatever. But we don’t see that with guys. So we’re constantly being conditioned to not take up space and to play small and be small and be the caregiver and this sweet person, all this stuff. And a lot of times we’re like just holding ourselves back because of the things that you just said. I don’t want to be braggadocious. I’m going to be this.  usBut we hear a guy and a CEO, he’s going to come into an interview and he’s going to tell you what his whole resume was. All of his wins, where he went to school, what accolades he got, if he was an award winning or a championship basketball player in college, whatever, he’s going to drop all of that. And in the meantime us, why do you think you deserve to be here?Because I really care. Like that’s what we’re expected to say. You know. And what I’ve come to realize, especially with communities, is the more passionate you are about truly about what you believe in, what your purpose is, the right people for you are going to find you to not think and worry about how others are going to perceive you. Because here’s the bottom line. And it was great was my come to Jesus moment. Someone’s going to think you’re stupid. Someone’s going to think you look like an idiot. And you’re a moron. You should not be wasting your time on Tik Tok. You do not know how many of my friends that I thought were my friends made fun of me for starting Tik Tok. Are you going to go dance on that app? You know, and where I am now. And where my business is and the passionate clients that I have now. I would not change that. I just committed to looking dumb. I was like just go out and look dumb and put that energy into the world and the right people are going to find you and they’re going to fall in love with you because they’re going to identify with you and you’re going to inspire them. I would never have believed this. Like I just had a recent client that went took time out of her day to go and create these, like, cups, these tumblers for me, like, burn them and everything so she could give me a special gift because of how wonderful she felt in her experience. So not only did this woman pay me a lot of money, she then went out of her way to thank me for letting her spend money on. You know, she gave me another gift, you know, and you would think, well if I hadn’t put myself out there and been raw and talked about my failures and my successes, she never would have found me. I never would have found my people. Yeah. And at the end of the day, as long as you bottle yourself up and try to put yourself in a bow and be something that you’re not, you’re never going to find your actual community, your actual cheerleaders and your soul mates. You know, your soulmate clients, your soul mate people, your soul mate friends. 

[00:16:08] Lisa DiGeso Yeah. It’s often I think it all comes back with like that fear of being vulnerable and of being exposed. And it’s just it’s this innate fear of, like, getting kicked out, of back in days like the cool group or the tribe were like, yes. And it’s like, actually, your brain is like, this is life or death. Like you have to stay and conform, otherwise you’re going to get kicked out. And that’s actually not where we are. Like, no. It’s not like that. For survival any longer. It’s more of like so-so society survival. But I love that. I love that so much because I think that’s so true, is that we really have to just dial into who we are, let ourselves be vulnerable, let ourselves be exposed, and the right people really will find us. And truth be told, if someone doesn’t like you, why do you care what they think? 

[00:16:54] Maria Arellano Exactly? Exactly. Yes. Yes. Someone’s going to think that you’re awful. Anyway, that’s what I had told myself was like, someone’s going to hate me and they’re going to dislike me, and that’s fine. If it means that I’m going to find that people that are going to love me and they’re going to be my people. And, you know. Speaking of tick tock, tick tock is so powerful. The algorithm is so niche that like, I have found people that I’m like, how does this person have 4 million followers? And then you go and you read the comments. You’re like, Oh, that’s why. Like they’re the exact same people, they see themselves in this person and it could be like the type of person that you’re like. In shock because you’re like. Oh my God, that’s not cool. But it’s like, it’s like, yeah, these little magic cults.Building within the app because it’s so niche down, that algorithm is so powerful. So like utilizing that for a positive thing and to create your community is, I mean, that is a tool that we should take advantage of before it changes and becomes Instagram. 

[00:17:48] Lisa DiGeso Absolutely. Absolutely. So let’s dove into that a little bit more, because you both really been playing on social media and having fun on TikTok and you have grown. I think you’re over 100,000. Is that true? 

[00:17:57] Maria Arellano Yeah, I’m at 114. I’ve been there kind of for a while now. Yeah, because I haven’t been super consistent with it. I moved studios, etc. So but I’m like, okay, I got to go back in and really build it up again. 

[00:18:09] Lisa DiGeso Yeah. So what’s your your tips on like growing your social media on TikTok? 

[00:18:14] Maria Arellano So it kind of depends on exactly what your goals are. I’m in a place right now that I don’t really care so much about growing in numbers, but really nurturing that that base that’s in there. Yeah, building that community. A couple of things that I’ve noticed that have helped not just me, but when I look at other accounts and I see what the most successful ones are, one that I think is very powerful is, you know, having your community lingo, calling your followers something like I call my goddesses, right? I’ve seen other people call their followers the dolls or the army or something like that, where you have like your own language, where the people within that community and you help them feel like they’re part of, like what you said, a part of that tribe. It’s like our own little secret language where we hang out and we have our own thoughts and feelings about things. So there’s that. There’s one of those. Another one would be, you work on a series of stuff. People like to come back and follow a series. So if you start a series, let’s say that’s about, you know, newborn photography, you know, and it’s newborn tips. Then you follow up with a series, one series, too, but something that’s consistent that people can tune in to your channel and they know what they’re going to get. Like, the worst thing that can happen is that if you go viral for something random that you don’t want to go viral for. You know, I saw this woman on there who is she was doing hair before, but that’s not really where she’s trying to make her TikTok about. She used to be like a hair stylist. But she randomly did one video about hair and all of a sudden she had so many followers that wanted to see hair. So she comes back. And she’s like, I’m sorry, that was my mistake. I know that. Now you’re here because of the hair that you are right now. There’s not going to be any more hair stuff. Okay, this is what I want to do. I was a hair stylist for 20 years. Look, this is what I actually want to do. So hang out with you. Well, in this. Otherwise, it was nice seeing you. Yeah. Like creating a series. I think that the things that you’re passionate about for me right now, one of them has been I’m plus size posing a plus size style, because I feel like a lot of women are nervous about being photographed because of their weight. And so I utilize myself a lot. I told my husband finally, the one time being fat pays off, I. Guess because I can use my body. As an example because there are people that are never going to believe it and unless they can visualize. So my series is all about, you know, plus size, style and plus size, posing how to take photographs that you feel good. And then the other thing that I’m thinking about starting here pretty soon is on just self care. And and like I said, you know, stop being the imposter. Start acting like you’re already the person you want to be. So if you feel like you’re an imposter, it’s because you’re not acting like the person you feel like you need to act like. So if you’re a successful photographer, act like the successful photographer that you are. What what are the things that a successful photographer does? Does she sleep all day till 1:00 in the afternoon? Probably not. She probably gets up and checks her emails and response to those emails. So then that’s what you need to be doing. That’s how you’re going to stop feeling like an imposter when you start every single day doing those habits that you believe are part of like the person you want to be. 

[00:21:20] Lisa DiGeso I love that. It’s so, so true. It’s that there is a guy that I followed for years named Jim Fortin, and I don’t know if you’ve heard it heard of him. He’s like the B do have and it’s like you have to be and embody. That person has to do the things, two things that accompany that life. So it’s like you actually have to just become that person. 

[00:21:41] Maria Arellano Right? Yeah, it’s exactly what I was saying. 

[00:21:44] Lisa DiGeso I love it I love it. 

[00:21:46] Maria Arellano Now I have to go check him out. 

[00:21:47] Lisa DiGeso You’ll love him. Honestly, you will love him. Let’s talk a little bit about getting stuck for inspiration and maybe the danger of comparing your raw files to someone’s finished work. So what advice do you have on that? 

[00:22:00] Maria Arellano Oh, one thing I would say is go shoot with your friends, or if you can either go to a workshop or a shoot out or have like a little group thing, because the best thing to do is actually see other people’s raw files. It’s insane. There’s a lot of times that I’ve had like workshops and shoot outs and some of the attendees come in and their files are so much better than mine, and I love it because then they can be like, Oh, oh, I, I do have it, you know, it’s like a clicks for them. And yeah, we’re always constantly thinking, Oh, it’s that next action or that next editing tip that we need in order to have those images. Let me tell you, as an artist, as a creative person, you’re never going to love, love like be in love with your work completely. There’s so many times that I feel like. I could not believe I was teaching people at this point. You know what I mean? Yeah, there’s so many times. But, you know, the bottom line is you just have to be ahead, like one step ahead of everybody ese. Yeah. 

[00:22:52] Lisa DiGeso I love that. You know, it’s so funny. I’m in the middle of, like, redoing my website, so I’ve just sent over, like, 300 images from the past five years, and I was like, I don’t really want to go further back because that’s not really so indicative of like the work I’m doing. But I was like, it’s so funny because I’m like, Oh. Man, I suck. And then I’m like, Oh my God, I’m amazing. Yeah. Like, Oh, my God. I suck. It’s a roller coaster. 

[00:23:27] Maria Arellano One of the healthiest things that I did for myself when my self-esteem kind of tanked in the creative department. Because it’s the whole like, I don’t want to be inspired by other people. Even if you’re looking at their stuff, you eventually start emulating them. It just kind of seeps into it like we see it, right? Yeah. You know, you’re a photographer, you also do maternity, so I know that. And I do fine art. So I know when I see a fine art photographer and I can tell who they’re replicating and they’re all exactly the same. And I’m like, okay, I have to stop following all these photographers because even if you don’t want to copy them, you suddenly just kind of seeps into your work. And so one of the healthiest things that I did was that for six months I unfollowed a lot of the photographers that were inspiring me too much where I felt like, Oh, my work is kind of starting to look like those or something. It was the best thing I could do because then I, it brought me to focus more on my clients and my subjects as individuals and creating things for them. And then eventually the trend started where it was like, Oh, well, where else can I get inspiration from? Other than photography and looking at things like music videos and movies and TV and reading books and going to the museum or driving or. And taking pictures of locations just I thought they look pretty like I’ve even shot where there was like a dumpster. The wall next to the dumpster was so pretty and they had like revolving doors. Like, I went and did a whole photo shoot over there by the dumpster because it was so pretty. I never would have done that if I hadn’t just turned off the noise because sometimes, yeah, as much as it inspires us, it could also, you know, like you said, you start looking at your work and say mine is not as good as theirs or it doesn’t look like theirs, that they actually like pigeonholes you and keeps you from growing. 

[00:25:06] Lisa DiGeso I personally experience I find it almost paralyzing because I’ll do a session and I will absolutely love my raws. But then I get stuck and I pull them into Photoshop and I go, I don’t know what the heck I’m going to do with this. And it’s almost like there are like all these amazing artists that I love that I get stuck, like, trying to think of, like, what was their recipe? What was their recipe? What was their recipe? That I forget to think of my own. Mm hmm. And I just don’t even know what to do. And then I’m like, I closed this. I’m going to go watch Netflix, right? So, like, that’s my that’s like and I don’t know if it’s a perfectionism thing. Or. 

[00:25:42] Maria Arellano It is a perfectionism thing. 

[00:25:44] Lisa DiGeso It’s like it just I stop myself from even trying. 

[00:25:48] Maria Arellano It’s that you built yourself up so much in your head and then you’re like, I didn’t reach the potential that I thought like, you know, it happens to me 100% of the time. The only reason I have to edit the photos is because I have deadlines. But if I was just shooting for myself. I would never touch those photos. That’s the reality of it. At least for me. If I didn’t have clients. So many images would go unedited because in my head I’m thinking I’m we have this grandiose lighting and this incredible set up and I would do this image that and there’s so many times, honestly, that I think my stuff is so cheap and that it looks cheap because I see all these other photographers are investing thousands of dollars in props and dresses and headpieces, and I’m like, I’m going to go to Amazon. I’ll go to the thrift store. Like, I do not want to spend $700 on a maternity dress. Then I’m going to get bored after photographing twice, you know? 

[00:26:39] Lisa DiGeso So then me too. 

[00:26:40] Maria Arellano And like I’m like, yes. And then I get frustrated because I’m like, now my work looks so cheap, but my clients don’t think that. And so many people actually tell me like, your work is so pretty. And I’m like, Really? 

[00:26:54] Lisa DiGeso I would never describe your work as looking cheap. It looks like like it looks like expensive. It looks like it’s like the detail and everything you like. It looks like you’re spending like thousands and thousands of dollars on it. 

[00:27:07] Maria Arellano See that makes me feel better. Cause I’m not. You just need pep talks. Okay. So if you are enjoying this episode, say, here is your pep talk. It doesn’t matter. Just go. Just do it. I just think as creatives, we’re never going to be 100% satisfied. It’s just not possible. And that’s why it works for people with ADHD. Like, the only reason I’m still in this business is because I can’t get bored. Yeah, the challenge just never stops. I mean, any other job that I’ve ever had after a year after I learned it and I reach out and I got awards in this career or whatever it was, I was bored and had to quit. Because it was like nothing else for me, you know? But with photography, like, it’s impossible to know everything. It’s impossible. I mean, from here, maybe I decided to enter competitions. I mean, I want to win all the competitions, you know, there’s just always something for you to do. But I think shooting for yourself and you know who your clients are, your whatever your purpose is, that’s what’s going to be more fulfilling rather than trying to be better than everyone else. Because you know what? That saying there’s always someone younger and more talented than you like. That’s for real. Yeah. Sometimes they’re like, you just take yourself out of the competition. You’re not in a competition. Take yourself out of it. Compete with yourself. Exactly. Maybe add one piece that the breathed life into you that excites you. So maybe start editing and don’t think about the final image. Just see where it takes you. Put the music on and see where that image takes you. 

[00:28:33] Lisa DiGeso Yeah. 

[00:28:34] Maria Arellano You better call me next time you’re stuck. 

[00:28:35] Lisa DiGeso I am I am. You’re like, I don’t know what to do with this. What would you do it and I’m like that’s yours is better. I really like it. Why am I getting rid of it? I love it. 

[00:28:48] Maria Arellano Yeah. Yeah. 

[00:28:50] Lisa DiGeso So I think we all struggle a little bit talking about work and creating original work, and there’s kind of this little pressure we place on ourselves and that can feel a little bit overwhelming. So how do you combat that? 

[00:29:03] Maria Arellano I came to realize that there’s no such thing as original work, and I was trying to figure out what book it was that one of my friends suggested. I went and read it and I couldn’t really read it because ADHD. Right. But yeah, I ended up getting the Audible and I just get through pieces of it. I want to find out what it is. And you can link it here. But I did find one part, one excerpt from this Audible that I ended up listening to where she talks about like in the universe, we all have the same. Like it’s like the same stuff, the same inspiration we’re living in a certain time we’ve seen, like the same kings and queens, the same cultures. It’s like everything’s floating around and it’s all floating around in the universe. And the universe is just waiting for you to reach out and grab it and execute it and bring it to light. Now, if you decide not to do that, guess what? It’s just going to continue to try to find a place until somebody reaches out for it and creates it. And what that means is that two or three people could actually come up with the same idea because it’s out there floating, ready to go. And the worst thing that can happen is that you end up not doing it, and then you see somebody else that does it. Because that has happened to me where I was like, Oh, I do, and it’s going to happen. And then I’m like, Oh, did I tell somebody? How did this how did they find out? That was my idea. And they’re like, Wait, I’ve not known this person. This person has come out of nowhere. Now, if I do it, they’re going to think I got the idea from her. Tell me that hasn’t happened to you. 

[00:30:26] Lisa DiGeso Oh, yeah. And you know what that book is? That is from the book Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. So good. So good. And so true. It’s so true. Just like. Just do it. Just get off your chair and do it. 

[00:30:42] Lisa DiGeso Yeah, because then again, it’s almost impossible to be original, but it might be original to you. It’s original to you, something that you’ve never done. And I think that’s where the originality comes from. And trying to be original is just about creating. And I think once you start putting your essence into things, it does become original because no one can replicate you. Nobody can be you or see the world as you do. 

[00:31:04] Lisa DiGeso Yeah. You know. 

[00:31:05] Lisa DiGeso A lot of times people get made fun of for the stuff that they do. And next thing you know, it’s a trend and they’re watching it. 

[00:31:12] Lisa DiGeso Oh, my gosh. I remember like in 2013 when they people started first starting playing Pants on Newborns, I was like, Oh my goodness, baby Jesus, I am never putting pants on a newborn. And then. Literally six. Months later, I was like. I love pants. My team was like, Oh, gosh, Lisa, it’s so true. So funny. 

[00:31:35] Maria Arellano You know, it’s like the fabric throwing, right? Like that goes that guy goes through like trends to right the trend. So everything is a trend. 

[00:31:44] Maria Arellano People started doing that. Oh my God, that is so cool. Now we all have to do it. So not everyone is that original and throwing the fabric and and then you see in our Facebook, it just looks like she farted. 

[00:31:53] Maria Arellano I know you know, I know that we will start putting you down because you know what? If you listen to everyone, you’re. Never going to do anything. Just do it makes you feel good. If you want to throw. The fabric, don’t throw the fabric like it doesn’t matter. Sometimes art does. Does it have to have a rhyme or reason? Okay. 

[00:32:12] Lisa DiGeso It doesn’t to make sense. It doesn’t have to make sense. I think that’s like my thing is like I’m like, oh, okay, what’s the story and why does this make sense? And I’m like, okay, this it doesn’t have to make sense. It doesn’t have to make sense. Just do it because you want to get to the end. Yeah, right. 

[00:32:26] Maria Arellano I mean, do babies hang out on top of the Moon How many? And you know, I know, right? 

[00:32:32] Lisa DiGeso Or like holding tiny pumpkins and they Just and we just little things. I love to watch it. So let’s talk A little bit about finding other ways to stretch your bravery muscles. So what do you do to keep moving and stretching out of your comfort zone? 

[00:32:48] Maria Arellano Oh, my gosh. 

[00:32:50] Maria Arellano So when one of those things is just having a client questionnaire is big because when I came to realize here recently, actually it is like your vision and their vision can be completely different and being able to sit. And open and listen and about, Oh, that’s what you wanted. But it’s good because it does Stretch you like, how do I still make it myself where my skills are at that level that I could produce this work over and still be me? You know, I had this great idea for this client. Is she she brought up that Stephanie was her favorite goddess. And so I was like, Oh, yeah, the duality of the, you know, shell and light and, you know, fire, like everything is a duality, right? So six months out of the year, Stephanie would be like in spring in a garden and like, it’s the mother of nature. And then for six months out of the year, she was like the queen of hell. And so it was like, How do I do that? So I was really excited as she hated the outfit I put her in because it was like I had a choker and she hated it. And so we’re not putting her like in this basic black dress that I thought was basic and just like, Fine, I did it. But it was so funny because she was like so excited about the final images thing, like getting them where she wanted them. And I was just like, really? 

[00:34:02] Maria Arellano It was so not what I had envisioned either, but it did stretch me out. It challenged me because I was like, okay. And then it was like, Oh, I do like it better the way. You know, the way she said. Because it was authentically her. I was like really pushing her where she wanted to go. So that was Stretching out your muscles. Gosh, it’s always I think that you just have to get up and do it and push yourself out of your comfort zone. I think the more you do it, that’s how you get stronger at something. I consider that like the creativity, you know, it’s like it’s really hard when you first start and it’s going to be crappy. And exactly like I said before, fail fell fast so that you can learn faster because as long as we’re like tentative and not taking the steps towards what we want to do, it’s just going to take us longer to get there. I see like in everything, I see it in people not wanting to invest in their business because they don’t want to waste money. And then I’m like, Well, you’re either going to wait and waste time or you’re going to waste money. What is more valuable to you at the end of the day? And it’s the same thing with with that, like being fearful of not being good enough or being fearful of other people judging your work because it’s crappy or it’s not creative or whatever you’re thinking that’s constantly going to keep you in one space. The worst thing that can happen is that you get stuck and never move forward like it’s fine if you move back, it’s fine if you fail because that’s how you’re going to get better and stronger. Like that’s what happens when you exercise, right? We break down these muscles and then you start to your body repairs itself and builds use that you’re stronger, you have a stronger foundation. That’s how you become an athlete. But at the beginning, it’s going to hurt. You’re going to be. Really saw. And I think it’s the same thing with creativity. And anything else that we do is that the more we do it, the better we’re going to get at it. And that’s again, become the person you want to be. That’s not going to happen if you don’t just go out and do it and stretch it. And one thing, one quick exercise, because I’m all about teaching and stuff like that, is that just brainstorm a bunch of ideas, like not ideas, but like props, right? You can get your friends and family to do this with. You actually played with my kids. I started teaching them an improv game, which I don’t know if you’ve ever I was a theater kid, but improv is basically you have a scene and then somebody can be like, freeze, and then they jump in and start a whole new scene. Yeah, so and so we’ll start. We could do that or we could do improvs where you put little words and stuff into a jar and you dig it out and then you create something with it, like a scene. We could do that with your photography. You get your friends and family to write a bunch of concepts down or ideas or things. It could be something like Greece, Rome, you know. Yeah, princess, whatever. And pull it out of a hat and then say, Hey, this month, this is my challenge. Create something with this. I think that that is a good way to just have like a little seedling to start off of, you know? And it could even be something else. It could be colors, it could be music. You put a song on it. So here is this song. How does this song inspire me to create some imagery? What would that be? 

[00:37:01] Lisa DiGeso Let yourself play. Yeah, you let yourself start taking yourself too seriously and let yourself play is like the message. I’m really. Yeah. Hitting my heart. 

[00:37:12] Maria Arellano Yeah. That’s what I’m saying. And also that it doesn’t have to be just with photography, it could be with other creative things. Yeah. Because it could be with you like collaging or painting or drawing or singing, you know, or like me playing with my kids and doing improv games because. You’re looking At them and watching how they imagine the world and imagine these scenes gives me ideas for things that I want to do now. 

[00:37:37] Maria Arellano Yeah, you know, like, hey, you know. 

[00:37:40] Lisa DiGeso I love it. I love that. So, friend, are you ready for the lightning round? 

[00:37:46] Maria Arellano I think so. I think so. 

[00:37:48] Lisa DiGeso Last series you binge watched. 

[00:37:50] Maria Arellano I watched The Devil in Ohio and we stayed up all night to watch it. And I hate it. Loved it both. It could have been so much better, but I still have to watch it. So the ad I like, I like anything that’s horror related. 

[00:38:05] Lisa DiGeso Really. That’s like, yeah, I’m like everything that is not horror. Like, as long as I need to read, like it’s had a happy ending that I will watch it. 

[00:38:14] Maria Arellano I love paranormal, creepy stuff. I’m obsessed with it. Halloween’s coming up, so just don’t feel like you’re. See that that’s my thing. Men do not follow me if You do not like who are creepy things Like just me for 30 Days because every day in October I do 30 days of Halloween and I post the new freaky, creepy photo. I like. Usually it involves Kids because I think creepy kids are the best. So. Yeah, so. 

[00:38:40] Lisa DiGeso Great. Oh, my gosh. I have it. I love it. I am like literally my favorite thing is Hallmark movies, so. 

[00:38:46] Maria Arellano I can’t. That’s my mom. Christmas, Hallmark, Easter Christmas. 

[00:38:54] Lisa DiGeso I will watch them all year long. 

[00:38:56] Maria Arellano I had to check out. Yeah I know she so she. 

[00:39:01] Lisa DiGeso So what is one thing you can’t live without. 

[00:39:04] Lisa DiGeso Oh one thing. I kept my phone. I hate that I hate it. I hate I know we had this. Conversation last time about putting. The phone to bed and that. Lasted like a Week and then it magically back in my head. 

[00:39:18] Lisa DiGeso I don’t like to the point where I actually almost bought a phone bed on Amazon where you like put your you like it’s like this little like almost like a Barbie bed where you put it to bed and say goodnight to your phone and like plug it in and it’s like you can’t get up like it’s on. It’s gone to bed. 

[00:39:33] Maria Arellano Okay. 

[00:39:34] Lisa DiGeso I almost bought myself that too. 

[00:39:37] Maria Arellano What’s kept you pulling the trigger? It’s a scary. 

[00:39:40] Lisa DiGeso The fact that my that my family be like you are ridiculous. Why do you need a Barbie bed? And my husband will be like, why didn’t you use a shoebox? 

[00:39:51] Maria Arellano Because it’s like, I’m dreaming. He’s like, right, yes. 

[00:39:55] Lisa DiGeso It’s like, no, it’s. 

[00:39:56] Maria Arellano Just all children. 

[00:39:57] Lisa DiGeso What is the one interesting thing about you? No one really knows. 

[00:40:01] Maria Arellano I do feel like a huge imposter all the time. Absolutely. I feel like I feel like I want to be amazing and I feel like I’m not. And it’s very frustrating. So I feel exactly how everyone follows into this feels, you know, it’s. That that Fear of like, I’m going to die one day, never reaching my true potential and knowing in my heart that I have that potential. You know, that sucks. 

[00:40:30] Lisa DiGeso Yeah. Same. 

[00:40:32] Maria Arellano Same. Oh. 

[00:40:34] Lisa DiGeso Favorite guilty pleasure. 

[00:40:36] Lisa DiGeso Margaritas frozen. And I just found watermelon. Margarita is at this restaurant, and they put the watermelon in the margarita, and it kind of freezes it a little bit. So it’s like. It’s like a extra delicious. Extra, extra. 

[00:40:52] Lisa DiGeso Delicious. Yeah. 

[00:40:54] Lisa DiGeso Top three things on your bucket list. 

[00:40:56] Maria Arellano Top three things. I’m really excited to see my girls grow up because I’m trying to nurture that confidence and not telling them these weird things. Right. There’s that big Thing. My five year old, I just love it. She just went to do karaoke and jumped in front of stage performed. She not only saying she was dancing and I’m not saying she’s the best singer because she’s not or the best dancer, but the fact that she did not give to us about who was watching her and it’s like I have never had that in my life. I’ve never had that confidence. Like she did not care. And then the teacher found out about it. The next day. She made her sing in front of the whole class by herself at five years old. And she did it like nothing. I just I’m so excited to see that, to see someone being raised where it’s like you’re nurturing that self-esteem. Like you tell her she’s pretty and she’s like, I know. And it’s so hard for me not to fight Myself because I was raised. You have to be humble. You have to say thank you. And it takes everything in my power not to be like say thank you, because I’m like, No. You should know. You should know you’re beautiful anyway. 

[00:42:03] Lisa DiGeso Like, yes. 

[00:42:04] Maria Arellano Yes, yes. So I’m excited to see the girls and see what happens with that next thing on my bucket list. I really want to start like a business school, something that’s not just for photographers, but have like commercial property where people, especially women, can come and learn to open their own businesses. Because I feel like we all have a purpose. We all have these gifts that we can share and monetize. And I think that’s fun. And I want to see other I just like I love watching people reach their goals that, like, really feels my cup. It makes me so happy. Yeah. So I want to be able to do that more. Third, third thing on my bucket list is I want a reality TV show for photographers like it. I know I’m not the only photographer to stop this, which is why we’re talking about the idea is right. We’ve all thought this, but I’m like, I know I’m entertaining. I know we can create. 

[00:42:56] Lisa DiGeso So. Entertaining. 

[00:42:57] Maria Arellano We can create some good drama. You know, you just have to have like a serious for now we have a goal. But what is it? Is it competing at an awards show? I think what is it? Because you have to you know, I wasn’t sure they were trying to compete for an audience like this. You have to have a competition. I love it. Yeah. So I do. I want to make that happen. I’m like in my bucket list, you just have to make the. 

[00:43:22] Lisa DiGeso Netflix just contact. 

[00:43:23] Maria Arellano Like, hello. Yeah, let’s yes, I can be the bad guy. I don’t care. I was a bad guy when I was just like all the time. It was fine. I make a great one. What is it like? Am I the villain? Oh, I don’t know. I don’t think it’s drama. I do think I’m the drama. And I love that. 

[00:43:48] Lisa DiGeso Own the drama. I love it. So what is your anthem? What gets you up when things are going tough? 

[00:43:54] Maria Arellano I think, like I said before, it’s my kids. It’s that I have to model that behavior for them if I want them to have good self-esteem, if I want to if I want them to reach their potential, they have to see me believing in myself. They have to see that I love myself. I believe in myself when I’m successful. And there’s no greater compliment than when my daughter’s just like my mom. You know, my mom. Whatever. I like having her. She comes in, she models at my workshops and stuff like that. So she sees me in these leadership roles and you know, in front of them I try to use entrepreneur words and I talk about, you know, business things and like credit and all kinds of stuff. Just because I was never exposed to any of that, none of that language, you know? And I think that that drives me. That’s my anthem is like, I have to be the person that I want them to be, as opposed to me trying to raise them to become these amazing women. I have to be amazing. And that means leading by example. 

[00:44:54] Lisa DiGeso Yes, that. 

[00:44:56] Maria Arellano That’s that’s my anthem is that I have to lead by example and not just with my girls, but anybody that comes into my world. If I am mentoring them, for instance, I want to be like I never wanted to teach people business and stuff until I felt like I have something to share, you know, that I don’t want to be an Imposter constantly right there. 

[00:45:17] Maria Arellano And then realizing, you know what, I don’t have to be perfect and I don’t have to be the most successful and I don’t have to make the most money. But if I’m, you know, making a living, a good living, doing what I absolutely love, there’s other people that want to learn that. Then I have something to teach them, you know?  

[00:45:33] Lisa DiGeso Absolutely. So I. I love to end my interviews with this last question. And what are you currently curious about or artistically curious about? 

[00:45:45] Maria Arellano What am I artistically curious about? I’m interested to see what that stuff is going to evolve into. Now that they have, you know, you see that, right? I was doing it on Discord. I’ve played with a little bit of that. I have not. I have not. But I’m interested to see what people do with that because I’m like, I think that the eye grabs images for other artists, too. So like, how is that going to change copyright and all of that? I’m very curious about it. I haven’t had time, time to play with it because I feel like it’ll kind of look the same to me. 

[00:46:18] Lisa DiGeso Like, I don’t know, same. 

[00:46:19] Maria Arellano Yeah. So then I feel. Like is I really, I mean, I know it’s probs. You have to have some skills with that, but I’m like, really? What part of that is really just you? I mean, a lot of it to me is just kind of like when you go to a photographer and you tell him, I want you to execute this, at the end of the day, it could be my idea. But they’re still the artists. Yeah. Do you know what I mean? So that’s kind of where I’m like, but I am curious to see how it changes and stuff like that. But to me it’s the eye is the artist. You’re more like the director. Yeah. I don’t know. 

[00:46:48] Lisa DiGeso I love that. Well, Maria, thank you so much for joining me today. 

[00:46:53] Maria Arellano It’s always so fun. 

[00:46:55] Lisa DiGeso Well, my beautiful friends. Thank you so much for joining in today. I know that you enjoyed this conversation just as much as I did. And seriously, my beautiful friends, I am sending you so much of my light and love today and each and every single day. We’ll see you next time. 

share the love


Leave a Comment




All Things Baby: The Art of Newborn Photography with Megan Macdonald

Babies, Business Advice, and Being Yourself with Newborn Photographer Sissi Wang

Families, Fairy Tales, and Fine Art Photography: Capturing Timeless Images with Deborah Koch

Busting Through Artistic Resistance and Creating a Life You Love with Michelle Mckay

Magical Maternity Moments: Balancing Fine Art Photography and Family with Olguta Goddard

For the Love of Babies: The Joy of Newborn Photography with Amy Haehl

Be the CEO: Managing Your Photography Business on Your Terms with Dorie Howell

Glitz, Glam, and the Gift of Art: Creating Luxury Photography Experiences with Jai Mayhew

Picture This : Crafting a Photography Business that Aligns with Your Life with Kate Hedje

Personalizing Your Business to Pay Yourself and Protect Your Mental Health with Lisa Kirkeberg

Systems for Success – The Power of Streamlining your Photography Business with Annemie Tonken

Marketing Mashup: Past Guests Share Their Best Advice on Marketing and Making an Unforgettable Experience for Your Clients

Words of Wisdom: How Systems and Pricing Can Transform Your Business with Past Guests

A Website That Works: Website Strategy for Photographers with Kelsey Christine from Launch Your Daydream

Painting Your Path: Advice on Growth Mindset and Finding Passion in Your Business with Dr. Clarissa Castillo-Ramsey

Get Found with Fuse: Demystifying SEO Marketing with Feuza Reis

Consious Creation : Embracing a Mindfulness Mindset in your Photography Business with Johl Dunn

Scheduling With Intention: How to Avoid Overwhelm & Burnout with Sabrina Gebhardt

Write the Right Copy: How to Craft Website Copy That Connects with Rachel Greiman

Spotlight on Senior Portraits: Cultivating Confidence in Teen Sessions with Ariel Perry

Find Your Flow: Creating a Business That Works For Your Family with Shannon Smith

Service over Sales: Cultivating an Empathy Selling Mindset with Megan DiPiero

The Power of Personal Branding: Showing Up in Your Business Through Brand Photography with Angie McPherson

Niche Down, Scale Up: Diversifying Your Income Without Limiting Your Creativity with Hope Taylor