I’ve been asking myself this so many times, and keep coming back to it, time and time again. I love taking photos. I love seeing the end result and enjoy the aspect of creating images. I know I need to pay the bills and put food on the table. We all work and do those bread and butter jobs, I’ve done my fair share. I want to raise a question we should all ask ourselves “what makes you happy?”.
I personally love taking portraits, and producing editorial work. I also like shooting backstage at events, with all the tight deadlines and the quick turn arounds of catwalk shows. Capturing the commotional journey towards the end result with totally creative freedom. In contrast I don’t like taking party photos or about town images, even thou these are technically portraits. I love a stress free, relaxed work environment with the exception of documenting backstage events.
Now how do you find what you love and make a living off it? This is the million dollar question. Think about yourself as a business providing a service. Think about yourself as a fashion brand. There are so many fashion labels out there. Old expensive ones that have been around forever. Cheap ones that just do the job. Ones that are of high quality. Local ones just starting out that you want to support. Plus different trends and styles. find out what is your style, genre, market and do you enjoy it. You don’t want to be a jack of all trades master of none. You want to specialised in a key subject or genre you like doing, so when someone wants a wedding or product campaign, they think about you. Remember that your clients will pigeon-hole you. You have to accept this, its called specialising. Be careful where you end up, you want to be passionate about the subject you get known for.
Another thing to consider, are you a consumer or producer? Right now your reading this, so your a consumer, and right now I’m writing so I’m a producer. The question to ask, do you produce work and put stuff out there. Or do you read and buy more things related to photography making you a consumer? Which one makes you more happy, which one gives you more satisfaction. If its producing that’s great your on the right track towards specialising. If your a consumer that’s good to, just don’t quit your day job or you won’t be able to pay for your hobby.
Ask yourself what you like photographing. If you don’t know try a little bit of everything. Remember everyone starts out as an amateur. Once you find something you love, focus on it, get good at capturing that subject. Think about who your audience is, and what you can provide for them if you wish to make this passion you living. How are you different, is it specialising on one thing, or is it your photograph style? Do you want to provide a service or do you like doing it solely for yourself instead? Once you know these questions, you can come to the conclusion about what makes you happy in photography.