I wrote a little blurb for Samy’s Camera a while back, and was reminded of it today. So I went back to read it. You know how your views can shift and change over time? I fully expected to read the article and say “what was I thinking?!” But for the most part I think I would write the same blurb today….
Here it is:
If creating photographs is 10% of my time, I’m lucky. And I think we all go through the ups and downs of loving and hating different aspects of our field. But I learned early on that if I wanted to make it, I had to suck it up and become good at all of the other things that allow me to make images and be profitable, and at the same time hone my photographic skills.
It’s interesting how everyone seems to have a different formula to success. Even the definition of success changes depending on who you talk to and your own perspective on things. Is it the $ ? Is it the image? For our industry I think I heard most of the formulas; “It’s the Lighting”, “It’s the Composition”, “It’s the Concept”, “It’s Marketing Yourself”, “It’s Staying Current with Technology”, “It’s Being at Peace with Your Inner Child”. Okay, maybe not that one. But you know what I love about this profession? Being successful at it takes all of these things and so much more! Passion, business sense, the ability to collaborate, humility, self-assurance, creativity. The list goes on! Just knowing how to take a picture doesn’t cut it! I need to wear so many different hats, and I have to be good at wearing all of them! What does that mean? It means not just anyone can do it, despite the mentality that all you need is a camera and a business card to be a pro. It means that to be successful at it you need to be committed (either meaning is applicable).
My definition of success is three-fold. First and foremost is a happy client. Second and not far behind is a check that clears the bank. The third is the icing on the cake. creative expression, which I consider to be another term for problem solving. I found I got a lot better at this when I started to allow myself to “know what I’m doing” and impart upon my clients that they really need to let me do it, after all that’s why they hired me. I think? But because my first priority is taking care of my client and making sure that they get what they need, my clients tend to keep coming back.
These days I’m finding that clients want more and more productivity out of any given day of shooting. Short of giving my work away, I am more than happy to oblige. I am a fast shooter so cranking though multiple setups is not a problem. And when they see how much can be accomplished in a day, they have less of a problem paying a higher fee.
I love what I do. Trust me, there have been many times that I’ve wished I could walk away from this and go do a “real job”! But despite the chaos, and the “selling” and the financial roller coaster and the never-ending upgrading, there is something about this profession that won’t let go of me. So I just go back to the great people I get to work with and the good lunches we have while doing so and remind myself… “this ain’t half bad!”