Currently loving David Du Chemin’s VisionMongers: Making a Life and a Living in Photography
In speaking to photographers considering the field as a profession he states:
“The first question most often asked before making a transition into vocational photography is usually the wrong one entirely.
“What does the market want?” is not the question that will lead you to opportunities shooting what you are good at or passionate about…
its important to pursue the most important question: What do you want?
What do you want to shoot? Why do you want to photograph it? What stories are you burning to tell? At the beginning you might not have a clue; you might be a generalist for a while. Even after you’ve found a market for what you love, I hope you’ll continue to explore your creative gamut, never allowing your marketing niche to become your creative rut. And while what I’m suggesting seems counterintuitive to some degree, you’ve got to remember that you won’t one day awake to find yourself shooting fashion models in paris if the path you choose now is to be a stringer with a local paper until you “make it”. As they say, you can’t get there from here.” p. 31
I’ll be the first to admit that often times what we want changes as much as our lives do. I know I experienced some serious changes in what I wanted after getting married or having a family. But despite those changes, I still believe its healthy and good to continually ask ourselves if we are pursuing what is best for us, what truly makes us happy, or what we are passionate about.
Sometimes passion can be confusing.
I may love photography, but does that passion mean I must have a business? If I must have a business does that mean that I must shoot weddings? Or kids? Or whatever it may be?
One of my happiest photography business memories was the day I decided to quit shooting weddings. I’m still smiling over it. It wasn’t what I enjoyed, but it was easy to think that I should be wanting it by looking around the industry.
For some of us it takes time to figure out what we want.
My wants are as ever evolving as my seasons of life are, but if I pause to listen deep down inside my heart, and clear away the clutter of peer pressure and expectation–I know whether or not I’m happy in my pursuit.
Sometimes we don’t know until we try.
I spent a good two years after getting my first camera shooting everything from newborns, maternity, family, weddings, seniors, family reunions, and on and on. I’m glad for the experiences, even if they taught me that some things are definitely not my passion. That information is just as valuable.
Sometimes pursuing what we do want can be scary.
At the time I chose to stop shooting weddings, I was making the decision to cut off my biggest source of profit. What would happen by making such a change?
Perhaps our fears are derived in limiting beliefs about ourselves, or even the fear of success itself.
If its right for you, do it anyway.
Doing what we want brings greater happiness
I believe we’re given our passions and interests for a reason. Personally, I believe that reason is to bless the lives of those around us through our service. Its a delicate balance to keep things in check so the pursuit of our dreams is not at the expense of other things we want (i.e. a happy family life.) But I wholeheartedly believe there is a balance between the two and they can support each other with some proper framework.
I’ve spent my fair share of time pursuing things that I didn’t really want to do, but not usually for very long. Thankfully I’m learning to constantly re-evaluate and switch tracks if necessary. And just because we switch tracks, doesn’t mean that we aren’t still headed to a great destination. The key is to just keep moving in the right direction.
What helps you know if you’re on the right track? Or off track?
Brooke Snow is a Lifestyle photographer in Cache Valley, Utah. She is a voracious reader with a teeny tiny problem… it seems that she is usually so excited about all her books that she reads about 5 or 6 all at the same time. Is this a case of ADD or just a bit of overzealous passion? It typically prolongs the finish of truly remarkable books by quite a bit of time…how can she learn to just settle down from cover to cover? Oh the big concerns of her life!
Brooke teaches private photography lessons , online photography classes, as well as monthly photography classes in Logan, Utah.
Brooke! It’s like you’re inside my head right now! Your class is really forcing me to re-evaluate my business and focus on my desired niche. This post just helps to fuel that desire! Happy Monday!
I love this post. Every bit of it is so true!
Brooke! This is just what I needed to read! =) I’m with Kelly. I think you have some crazy ability to be in all of our minds when it’s needed most! haha 😉
I know I’m on the right track when I kiss my kids goodnight thinking what a great day we had. I am off track if I miss them the minute they fall asleep- that means that although we may have been in the same room all day I didn’t really pay attention to them. My kids are my best compass.
That was really profound. And I think anyone can completely relate. I agree. Thank you for sharing.