Did I just make a photography pun with this blog title?
It’s hard to believe that we’re almost three months into the new year. It’s been a slow few months, and wedding season can’t come soon enough. I’ve been grateful enough to share life moments with a few clients so far, but there is something about being in the heart of a busy season to fuel a photographer’s fire. I have a lot to look forward to this year: sports photography with Holly, weddings (mostly as second shooter with Holly), the Santa Experience with Holly…. basically anything involving Holly.
While I manage through the rest of this slow part of the year, I figured I’d discuss the ugly truth about being a photographer. At least, being a photographer in an area of over-populated photographers. Although we may not all live here permanently, we can at least admit that we’ve all been here… some, more than others. So while we try to make things picture-perfect (wink, wink), the truth is, for most of us, business is anything but.
W e ‘ r e n a s t y .
Like, really nasty.
I’ve never met a photographer I didn’t like.
That last sentence was a lie.
The truth is, I dislike a lot of photographers. And I know of some who aren’t fond of myself as well. Photographers talk about each other. A lot. And really, it’s because we have our own best interest in mind. I’ve even been guilty of it, and if you’re sitting here reading this from a photographer’s perspective, chances are that you have too.
W e ‘ r e c r i t i c a l .
Super critical. Overcritical.
Not even of others’ work alone, but our own. We know how we take an image, and we know how we edit an image. We know our process, our steps, to getting our end result. But we also do this thing where we compare ourselves to LITERALLY EVERY OTHER PHOTOGRAPHER. It’s a disease. I’m not even sure why we do it, but it’s so toxic. We’re either upset because our work doesn’t look like this person’s, or we’re upset because this person is getting the business and we’re not, or because this person is charging this amount, or we feel that we are better than this person even though this person is more popular, and so on.
W e ‘ r e c o m p e t i t i v e .
Canon vs Nikon? That’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Social media is such a bittersweet tool for any business. Word of mouth is amazing. For a photographer, being able to post your work is amazing. We’re in a visual business, so the fact that we can visually post our art is amazing. Shares and likes and followers are amazing. Keeping up with the pressure of who’s watching, who’s noticing, who’s judging, who’s comparing, who’s critiquing? Not amazing.
W e ‘ r e i n s e c u r e .
So many of us doubt our business. Our talent. Our passion. Ourselves. I know so many photographers who have wanted to throw in the towel. Who have wanted to give up. Who have wanted to quit their businesses. And from people you’d never expect. People who, online, are advertising and posting as though life is great. Our personal lives are just like everyone else’s: messy, real, and definitely not perfect.
If it seems like I am all hate here, I promise that’s not my intention. I think too many of us are concerned with this image that we have to uphold, when in reality, we’re just trying to run a business like everyone else… new and experienced photographers alike. Although the above points are sadly true most of the time, they’re not our only attributes.
W e t a k e o u r t i m e .
More than you realize.
Time planning and discussing with clients. Time researching ideas and inspiration. Time buying props. Time with paperwork and payments.
Time setting up. Time photographing. Time editing.
We sacrifice SO much of our time. Time away from social settings. Time away from our families. But, we know it’s necessary. And we know it’s worth it.
W e h a v e t h e b e s t c l i e n t s .
But really, we do.
And not because of the occasional tip, gift card, or letter in the mail.
It’s because we share in a story. An important story. Your story.
And because you choose us to do that. And it’s a complete honor for us, every time.
W e l o v e w h a t w e d o .
We wouldn’t be here if we didn’t. And we wouldn’t CARE so much about all of the negative stuff if we didn’t. Even though there’s the pressure and the competition and the hard times, we wouldn’t trade it. In fact, we accept it, and take the good with the bad.
At the end of the day, we’re human. We have a job to do, and we work hard at what we love. However, the tog life isn’t always what it’s made out to be. The grass isn’t always greener, and the glass isn’t always cleaner.