Photograph what you love. If you’re photographing a subject to get more likes or followers. Taking on projects because you think it will bring in clients and more revenue, then you’re doing it for the wrong reasons. You want to take photos of the things that interest you and that you’re passionate about, you want your images to come to you naturally. For me this was very important, I did want to be taking photos of things just for that future paycheque when it comes to personal projects. I’ve got a 9 to 5 job photographing in a studio which I’m grateful for, but I remind myself that nothing lasts forever. Because of this I need to always look for other forms of income, and I would love to get paid to capture what interests me.
Not too long ago I was following the money and not my heart, so I got pigeonholed into a subject matter that I didn’t care about. I was getting consistent photography jobs in this area of work. This became my bread and butter, It was great getting paid to take photos, I could finally live off my profession. The only thing that drained me was I started to loathe going to work. I found out that I was a replaceable worker bee, rather than a respected photographer. As a result I reluctantly decided to drop all my clients, because of this a lot of those relationships ended. In the long run this was the right decision, I wasn’t happy or valued in those relationships.
I lost a lot of income because of this, times got hard. I was living off my Visa and eating rice for lunch and dinner through this transitional period. I expected this and was prepare to face it. A lot of close friends and associates thought this was a bad move. But in the darkness I saw the light, I had more time to reflect on what I wanted to do. Everyone around me started to notice I was happier and later praised me for leaving that line of work. I started doing more personal projects and trying different types of photography, doing a lot of experimenting and self-exploration, and months and months of reflection. I now strongly believe artists should take a step back and reflect on their work, lifestyle and ask themselves if they are happy where they are. Taking a step back is needed if you want to see the whole picture, rather than focusing on the details, like income, bills, money and keeping busy. I believe if you desperately need money you’ll always find a way to get your hands on it. Money should be the least of your priorities when it comes to your happiness and wellbeing.
The chain reaction from leaving one of my main types of income resulted in some well-needed self-reflection. From this suffering I found clarity and happiness in my work again. I started to notice my style and had the time to develop my voice. I found my voice by going through my personal archives. I notice elements that were uniquely mine, different to the artists I followed and admired. It’s so easy to see an artist you admire and copy their work or style, which I encourage you to do when you are starting out. I strongly believe you should copy other people’s work until your style slowly shines through, this is how I found my voice. I stopped replicating other artists techniques a while back once I really wanted to develop my personal style. It’s only been very recently that I stopped looking at other photographers work, this has helped me remove unwanted influences. I feel that comparing is the seed to unhappiness. I’ve got to a point where I only look at my own work and pick out the parts I like and focus on developing those elements that I love, this is how I’ve built my style. And none of this would have happened to me without dropping some of my main clients. Taking a massive pay cut, and eating only rice for months on end. Through this hardship I found what I loved about photography, helping me rekindle what made me pick up the camera in the first place.
Photograph what naturally comes in front of your lens. Once you find what you enjoy, follow that direction of work, that’s what will make you happy. Not the next ‘like’ or paycheque, but the next push of the shutter button. Remember to photograph what you love and everything else will fall into place.
Model: Deanna from Red11