Is My Lack of Focus, Actually My Thing?
For the last four years I have been working very hard to develop my passion for photography and turn it into a business. In the process I have sought out advice and guidance from some of the most talented and successful photographers if our time. I have surrounded myself with people half my age in order to keep styles, technology and ideas fresh. I have learned so much from lighting techniques, workflow and productivity, to writing and promoting oneself, and the details of running business bookkeeping. Every artist runs his or her businesses differently. They had different experiences to get them to where they are now. But the one thing, the one advice that was the common denominator in all of their words, was to find on thing one idea or concept and focus, develop and nurture that thing. Whether it’s art, fashion, travel, editorial or portrait photography, choose something and focus on it.
Well the problem with focusing on one thing was not paying my business expenses. My work has been in a few shows and I have sold some of my work but since I’m relatively unknown (that is changing), I cannot price my work high enough in order to make a living out of it. Recently, I’ve been photographing fashion bloggers but that on hourly rate and it’s only a few hours a week. Editorial is a bit tricky, I’ve tried pitching photography stories to magazines but I found in this town many magazines have their favorite photographers (one has to build their name first and I’m doing that). I find portrait photography to be mostly seasonal and I can go for months without a single client. In the months of October and November, I’m crazy busy! Event photography has been steady work but sometimes the times will conflict with my family time and family comes first. Unfortunately, I can’t afford to travel a lot, so my travel photography is limited. I take my camera and computer on any little or big excursion I go on. Combine all of those photography jobs and that’s how I pay my bills.
Still, many artists have told me yes you need to do all of that but still try and find your focus. However the real problem I face is that I LOVE IT ALL! I enjoy event photography. Getting out meeting people, seeing all the good deeds nonprofit organizations are doing. It is so inspiring. Shooting for someone fashion blog, what is there not to love. Photograph good-looking people with great style – awesome! I’ve been shooting for a neighborhood magazine called “Estate Life” where I get to shoot families, young adults, pets and food. I’m gaining editorial and art direction experience. I love being busy and I love paying my bills. I like doing it all!!!
So the one thing I have tried to do before, during or after every photo shoot to take a photograph that speaks to me. It might not be what my client ask for or would like but its what I see as unique or special that makes taking that assignment worth it. It is the reason I made my passion into a profession that I could be I’m proud of.