Archive for June 2012

When people ask where I studied photography

In my opinion, it's one thing to study photography; the technical aspects, lighting & composition, direction. But it's another completely separate skill set to have studied what you'll be photographing. If you're going to photograph models, study 'modeling', not 'photographing models', or if you'll be photographing weddings, study 'getting married', versus 'photographing weddings.'

The difference between photos taken by someone who knows how to 'photograph a model' versus one who knows 'how to model' will be substantially noticeable. If you know how to photograph a model, you know the technical aspect, how to make them look proportionate, stunning, meaningful. But if you know how to model, you know how to tell them to stand, how their face should look, how their body should move. When you're trying to speak through a photo, you've got to know not only what you want to say, but how to say it. It isn't something you can explain in words, or you would have. And it isn't something you can ask someone to explain for you, because it's your meaning. So having the tools to cross the bridge between art and subject are just as valuable as your technical knowledge.

I rant on this way because people give me a sort of sad sigh when I answer "Where did you go to school for photography" with "I didn't". At times I feel like I should be ashamed of this - how can I call myself a professional without a piece of paper validating my claim?

I let my photos validate themselves.

If there is anyone who would not work with me because I did not attend school, that is entirely their business. But those same people who give me a sad, seemingly knowing sigh when I 'admit' to having no formal training, are the same people who can't believe I don't charge more for the photos I give them, and that's all the validation I need.

Prioritizing Passions

When you work in the field of your passion, most days don't feel like work. So sometimes it can be hard to know when to leave "work" and just "relax". Personally, those lines blur together in my world.

Before I started a business as a photographer, taking clients instead of friends out for photo shoots, photography was how I relaxed from day to day life, from school, and from stress. Now, with deadlines, payments, checklists, and reminders, every time the phone rings, I am torn between excitement over a new project, and the stress of yet another added event. It can get to the point where I just want to put my camera down for an hour, a day, a week, a month, and I don't want to feel that way.

Today, in a business meeting, talking with fellow small business collaborators, I realize that I need to prioritize.

Since I started this business, and as I look back, I realize there are many things I have stopped doing that I love: yoga, soap-making, print photography excursions, going to the dog park with my dog, watching movies, going on dates(!), having a regular sleep schedule(!). At first, I was having so much fun, I didn't even notice. People were paying me exactly how much I wanted to do something I already LOVED to do! But I ended up compromising my daily life to attain that.

I feel myself getting burnt out more easily, getting tired and sick more often, and having much less patience than I used to. Not only had my physical body been suffering all the stress and rushing and lack of sleep, but my soul was suffering for all the things it was missing; all the things that make me happy. I don't want to lose jobs and forfeit having a business, but I don't want to lose my mind and forfeit the things I love. What I need, is balance.

I'm going to sit down and write down the things I love , when I love to do them, and how much I love to do them. I'm going to look at myself, how I feel, and think about how all the things I miss doing fit into making myself better so I have the energy to perform at my job as well as the strength to tell myself, "No, not one more photo, go to sleep!". I can't expect it will be easy, because even at 19, I don't know everything (despite popular opinion), but I feel like I really learned something about myself today, something that will be valuable when I blossom into more than who I am now.