Thursday, September 17, 2009

Where are you going with all of this?

Lately I've been pushing really hard to try and carve out a name for myself as a Photographer. I see the amazing work done by others in the field and aspire to be that good. I'm finding that it doesn't come easy.

I've racked
over 10,000 images in less than 9 months on my Nikon D90. I listen to podcasts, attend workshops, blog, and tweet. I have so far to go, and there are so many directions to turn. Its like Ive been driving in a hurry down a dark road and have no idea where I'm going. Some days, I think I know; Others, I have no idea....

A while ago I'd gotten in over my head. I had just finished a location shoot and an outdoor model shoot and spent way too many hours in Photoshop, neglecting my family. I was tired and excited all the same. My wife stopped me and asked a question that made me slam on the brakes hard:

"Where are you going with all of this?"

The question
took a few days to sink in. I felt the blackness of self doubt creeping up from below. Where am I going? Is this a phase? What do I want? Who do I want to be? Why?

I looked at the garage,
I have light stands, diffusers, reflectors, gaff tape on the floor. Hell, I even have a 9 foot long roll of white paper. Where am I going with all of this?

I look at the images
I've uploaded on iStock and Shutterstock. To date I've made $15.57. I had dreams of making enough to buy a new lens; to have a hobby that pays for itself. Wouldn't that be cool? New lens, new camera body, maybe even a Mac some day! But $15.57? Sheesh!??!!

I exchanged emails
with a Photographer who makes a living selling microstock images. She was very gracious in telling me that very few make what I make at my "day job". Photography is hard work, it would take years to reach that level because of the competition, and I'm kinda used to living in a nice neighborhood in the Bay Area. The voice inside of me whispers:

"Don't quit your day job"...

So this entry
is about readjustment. Its about a realization that its a hobby for me, not a vocation. Reflecting on what makes me happy leads me back home, to my lovely wife and great kids. I won't quit my day job. I like what I do!

I like taking pictures too. I like watching people when they see an image that touches them. I feel great inside. I'm slowly earning respect and admiration. I also like the way that the camera brings me closer to people; the way an image can make a friend.

For now,
I'm at peace with myself. I've realized that I'll never be the next McNally, DuChemin or even Arias. I'll never make a million selling my images, but....

I enjoy the learning! I know how to take a good picture now, how to compose, how an f/stop can say so much. I know how to approach a stranger for a photo, I know how to sell a microstock license, hell, I might even see one of my pictures in print someday.

I'll keep shooting. I'll keep pushing and driving. I still have no idea where I'm going, but...

I'll slow down and enjoy the journey and keep my family in focus too!


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