I’ve had a lot of time to think lately. Scary, I know. I wanted to share my thoughts though as I believe some of it, pieces of what I’ve been thinking about and what I’ve done this past month could also help others.
Cell Phone Project
First of all, I’ve been away from home for a month now with at least two more weeks to go. Hospitals are not very inspiring, to be honest, but we do what we have to do in order to be there for those who need us. In order to keep my sanity, keep myself occupied and to continue some sort of photography, shooting related activity, I’ve been shooting almost exclusively with my cell phone (except the header image). You can read about that on Photofocus: Using Photography to Get Through Tough Times. You can also follow along on my Instagram. All images in this post are from my cell phone. Making projects out of it or finding themes is a good way to push ourselves to look for new things and see in new ways.
My Own Work and Business
I’ve spent quite a bit of time browsing online because quite frankly I haven’t been able to focus or put my heart into anything much else. During all this browsing I’ve been looking at what other photographers are doing. Good? Bad? As long as I keep myself from the comparison game it’s not a bad thing. What I’m seeing though has me really stepping back to figure out where I’m going and what I want to do with my own work.
It seems like everyone and their brother is doing workshops and/or tours now. Nothing wrong with that but why throw your hat into a ring filled with hats? (I do love hats though.) I have a very strong conviction to be different, or differentiate myself in life, not just photography. I’ve always been that way. So what can I offer that would be different than what’s already out there being offered? I don’t really think I want to teach in a classroom setting either. So what do I do?
Not only do I see many photographers going the workshop route but I have also noticed (this is nothing new for me) that more and more I feel like there isn’t much originality out there in the actual images I see. Many of us use the same editing software/apps, presets, and techniques which, in my opinion, is creating a lot of work that looks like everyone else’s. There are plenty of amazing places on this earth that result in plenty of beautiful images, but what’s different about them? They are beautiful images of beautiful places. This is what really pushes me to create work that is original. Again, what do I do with this?
Success as a Photographer
They say perception is reality and I know there are plenty of people out there who see me as a successful photographer. This brings up the question, what does success mean to you? As much as I’d love to quit my day job and only do photography I keep feeling like in order to do that I have to sell out and not be true to myself. This is another of my personality quirks that keep me from doing workshops, keeps me from shooting weddings/portraits, keeps me from moving forward in the normal channels, and keeps me from becoming an affiliate to any company who would have me and becoming a walking/posting advertisement for photography related companies. (I see plenty of this in my online travels as well, and I’ve gotten to the point where I almost want to unfollow those photogs.) I get it, I get that in order to make money in photography these days, you need multiple income streams if you’re not shooting weddings/portraits/events. It’s just not me. So, again, what do I do?
Ideas Going Forward
What do I do? I will talk to someone about how they do some of what they do that is more in line with how I see myself moving forward. I will look into the agent option, worth a look I think. I will focus on some other avenues I’ve never really pushed into very hard. I need to spend more time on my own work, posting where I have seen results in the past, posting to and from my amazing new online home which has been sorely neglected. I may (no promises here) even work on my planning and scheduling because there is no planning for me right now and while I really dislike plans and schedules, I know deep down that they will help me with that word in the next paragraph.
FOCUS (hahaha). I laugh because if you know me you also know FOCUS is one of my biggest struggles. So I say it out loud as much as possible. I even bought a bracelet that says FOCUS on it. Anything that might help me there. I also got I Am Enough because I struggle with that as well. I’m learning to live into these two concepts.
Advice & Inspiration
I do hope that my rambling has helped you, even just one of you. That right there is what I love. I leave you with this from a friend who has been following along with my posts this last month:
“I’ve been seeing your posts and wanted to just reach out and say thank you for finding those little bits of beauty in your day. They have made each day better as the last month has flown by.”
This person was also going through some things at the time and this is why I share my images and thoughts.
Remember: Beauty & Light are everywhere if you look.