Artist Spotlight: Rubi Zetino
This week, we are beginning our artist spotlight, a weekly blog highlighting inspiring creatives and entrepreneurs. First up is Rubi Zetino, a photographer, entrepreneur, wife, and mother. We are excited to share her story. If you would like to submit an artist to be highlighted in this space, please send us a message through our contact page.
Q: Who are you, and what do you do? Share something fun our readers might not know about you. A: I’m Rubi Zetino, and I am a photographer and entrepreneur. I started my business, Rubi Z Photo, after having my first child. After one look at that little face, I couldn't put my camera down. In the midst of beginning motherhood, I was also trying to find a way to stay home and be a present mother and contribute to our home financially. By the time I had my second child, Rubi Z Photo was an operating business, and I was working part-time hours. Now that I have three children, my workload has grown, and my heart has grown with it. Thankfully, my husband is a very supportive man and is my biggest fan. He has supported my journey of being an artist/entrepreneur and a stay-at-home mom. Before becoming a photographer, I explored other kinds of art. I went to school for fashion design, and I have a license in manicuring. I guess the artist in me has always been there. When I'm not working, I find ways to build my home and husband. I love to roll around and play with my kids. I love dating my spouse and am always looking for a new home project to tackle with my husband, the ultimate woodworker! Fun fact: I actually hated coffee before my second child, but when photography picked up, I became a coffee FREAK! I can't go a single day without it, and sometimes, two coffees are necessary to get by.
Q: Where do you find inspiration? A: My inspiration and creativity come from being alone. I am a social bug, but I’m most likely an ambivert. I need to be alone with my thoughts as much as I need company. I sometimes drive by myself. I stop at places and have coffee with myself. It is in those moments that I feel most connected to my creativity. I walk silently around my favorite towns and places and capture what I want. Being a mom, life is nonstop. As soon as I clock out of work, I'm working as a mom and wife. My life is a beautiful chaos, so I need moments alone. Q: When did you discover your talent for photography? A: I knew I enjoyed taking pictures the moment my son was born. However, I didn’t have an epiphany one day and discover I was this amazing, talented photographer! I just worked at it really, really hard. I was even terrible at one point, but I didn't give up. I got better and better and better. I worked really hard in the areas I needed improvement. It finally hit me that I wasn’t too bad at this when I got featured on Junebug weddings. I had spent so much time admiring the work of other gifted photographers, but I never imagined that I would be featured there. It was the first validating moment of my career. I would have kept going without validation, but it was nice to see my work appreciated like that.
Q: What has surprised you most about working in a creative field? A: I have been most surprised with how much the creative field is an outer expression of what’s within us. When I went into photography, I never expected it to teach me about life. I never expected it to be a tool that God would use to show me things, and show others things about themselves. I never expected to be able to love people through my work the way I've been able to. I guess I never expected it to have this much meaning and this much depth. It's really been shocking. Q: Working in a creative industry can be highly competitive and sometimes leaves us playing the comparison game. How have you dealt with competition and comparison while working in the photography industry? A: This one is so hard. I think we overuse "community over competition." I love that phrase, and I really love when people are living it out. However, sometimes people say it and don't mean it. Here are a few key things regarding competition and comparison:
1. Our work means something to all of us. If we remember this principle, we can validate each other. We all want this, and we all work hard for it, so it’s important that we respect each other and encourage other artists to do their best work. 2. Use social media wisely. Social Media is a huge factor of competition and insecurity. I like to put it this way: Social media is our storefront! It will highlight the best of us, but never our worst. It will never reveal the hard work, stress, and pain behind our awesome products. I choose to spend very little time looking at other peoples’ work (especially the work of those in my hometown), as I find it to distract me from where I am going. It takes too much time and energy away from me actually working. If I am in need of inspiration, Instagram is NOT where I go for it. Of course, there is a healthy level of interaction with others on social media, and I love that. But as soon as I feel the tad bit jealous or envious of what others are producing, I close out Instagram. As artists, we have to know ourselves and learn how to keep ourselves healthy. If you want deeper insight into someone's life and learn how they produce great content, contact them! I love when people reach out for deeper insight into my creations and life.
3. Work for it. We often compare our work with others’. We try to figure out why they can do it while we struggle to do the same. I grew up with a single mother of seven kids, and excuses were never in our family talk. She just had to make it work. She had no excuses, no time to complain—she just worked! She did what she had to do to succeed and position her children for a better life. I believe we spend too much time trying to figure out why someone can do something that we cannot. So, if it's important to you, work for it! If it matters, work for it! Stop making excuses, and work twice as hard as anyone else, and you will find yourself in a better situation. You won’t have time to complain about what others are doing. At the end of the day, we can only complain about what we did not choose to do to better for ourselves and our businesses. There are good days and bad days, but there is no need to quit. As a mom, I understand that our greatest efforts sometimes do not suffice. However, I don't make excuses—I trust that better days are ahead and keep working.
4. You win some; You lose some. I live in a "small town," so coming to terms with “who you are” as a photographer is important because there is so much competition. When you realize who you are, you come to terms with the fact that you are not for everyone, and that's okay! I had to grow into that. I realized I wanted to work with people who really wanted to work with me. When I don't book someone, and they end up booking with someone else (especially someone I know), I just think, “It’s okay! They weren't for me, and I can now rejoice with my friends who are also winning!” 5. Look inside and not around. When people look around for inspiration, it is easy to get caught up in the comparison game. We spend too much time being influenced by others instead of taking the time to look inside of ourselves and find the treasure within. Take some time alone. Get to know what you like and what you don't like. Accept who you are, and become that person. Everything about your work will change. You won’t feel competitive because you're in full form of your true self. There is no duplicate of YOU in this entire world! 6. Go back to your core, your why. Stay in your lane. When I'm in a funk and I'm not feeling like myself, that is my worst place as a creative. In those moments, I stop my mind from thinking about work completely. I'll take as many days as necessary to connect with my core, my why, again. I typically spend a lot of time with my husband and kids. I go outside and out of town with no intention of taking a single photo or “thinking business.” I spend a lot of time with God in these seasons, realigning myself to who I am and what I've been called to do. I remember WHY I'm doing this. When I feel the nudge to get back in and sense my creative wheels returning, I dive back in. I don't rush this process. I just let it unfold.
7. Some healthy competition is good. When another artist raises the bar, you become inspired to push yourself. As a creative, we should never become comfortable. Even though competition is frustrating at times, it can cause us to move out of our comfort zones and grow. Q: Is there anything else you think would be helpful for creatives or entrepreneurs to know while building their businesses? A: Never compromise your soul while seeking to further your business. Do your best to let people in, and allow others to help you grow. It is important to remain humble and teachable. Even when you think you've learned it all, learn some more. If you've tasted success, inspire others to succeed. Finally, while an entrepreneur’s to-do list is never-ending, our relationships and friendships matter. Make time for them and for yourself.