I recently attended a photography workshop in London, which was interesting and useful, but didn’t quite meet my expectations. This isn’t a review of that workshop, just a summary of thoughts and ideas that have come and gone since those few days.
It starts with this…Photography is supposed to be FUN.
Before the website and branding, the cameras and photoshop presets. Before the in’s and out’s of effective marketing and picking your perfect clients. Before even the artistic and aesthetic aspects of picture taking, you need something more vital, genuine and important to run a successful and sustainable photography business.
It has to be a feeling in your bones. In your heart. It has to be something you can’t lose, something you just can’t replace or buy back with couple of days in a workshop.
You have to totally through and through take absolute unrequited joy in what you do. If you are a photographer, you have to actually enjoy and have fun taking pictures.
It’s butterflies in your stomach. The feeling that makes you twiddle your fingers in anticipation. It makes you want to high five the next person you see once you’ve finished doing it. It makes 5 mins feel like 5 seconds. It makes you ask questions of your subjects, the world around you and of yourself.
It’s this feeling of excitement, fun and anticipation that makes a quiet, kinda awkward and introverted person like me feel like superman with camera. That’s called passion. It’s about loving what you do.
Without passion, all the promises you make to yourself will be weak, your work will lack honesty and emotion, and you’ll find yourself complaining about the market, the industry, the clients, the hours, all the stuff that you don’t like. It becomes the opposite of fun. It’s a super easy trap to fall into, and I’ve met photographers who are very much stuck in it.
I so desperately want to tell these guys, please quit worrying, stop overthinking it. You don’t need to be making coping mechanisms for something you shouldn’t have to “cope” with. Your job is taking pictures, of stories, people, emotions. If it’s difficult to maintain, if you aren’t excited and most of all actually enjoying it; why are you even here?
Photography is a journey, and your utter enjoyment and passion is the fuel. That fuel is going to drive you further and faster than the other guy who hasn’t got it.
Running your business without that foundation of giddy-excitement-so-bad-you-need-a-wee-every-time-you-have-a-camera-in-your-hand is a detriment to yourself and to your wonderfully awesome clients.
So which one are you? The cool, distant and slightly jaded guy with all the answers, or the guy with camera in hand, jumping in, following your heart and enjoying every single second of it?