A few years ago, my husband introduced me to digital cameras. It was this tiny Nikon point and shoot. I couldn’t get a picture in focus. My photos always looked like a mess and were totally out of focus. I mean like total motion blur and could see the motion type of blur.
I use to get so frustrated that I would tell hubby, “here, you take it. I can’t work this thing and it’s making me angry.” Prior to this, I dabbled in film with a Nikon from the 1970’s/early 1980’s. I loved taking photos with that camera, but I hated loading the film. Again, I would get frustrated.
It wasn’t until I got to explore the depths of South Jersey that photography became a learning process for me. I’d see my friend Carla take some pretty amazing photographs of landscapes and my other pal, Barry would talk about framing and light. He has a way of taking right out of camera shots that are pristine.
At this time, I became a student, but I thought I was cool. I upgraded from the “blurry” digital camera to another point and shoot a Linux. Then things got a little more serious though. I dabbled in HDR (god how awful was that fad), learned framing and my photos got better (I still did landscapes etc.).
I then purchased another camera and my first dslr. This camera really pushed me to learn. My husband purchased it after our daughter was born to try and capture some moments for ourself.
The funny thing is… This was just a little over a year ago. In fact, the date that I got this camera was 10-11-2014. It’s been a complete whirlwind since this time. From photography classes, to learning photoshop and Lightroom, to workshops. It’s been an insane learning curve this past year.
I normally tire on things. I conquer and then move on to the next thing. I think photography has kept my interest because you can’t conquer it. It’s virtually impossible. There’s so many aspects, avenues and genres you could never get bored with it.
From crazy lighting, to boudoir, landscapes, weddings, studio work, styling, props… It’s an pretty incredible creative outlet, in which you could never truly get bored. There’s always something to learn or to try and master that you could live 10,000 lifetimes and still be a student in this game.
I think a lot of photographers give up due to frustration and it’s frustration on all levels. They see others’ work and say to themselves, “I can’t compete with that.” And it kind of takes ahold of themselves. Or they see this market as overly saturated and basically throw in the towel
Others are too cheap and don’t value what they bring to the table and their expertise. You will get burned out doing $50 sessions. I mean that’s a fact. Now, when you factor in transportation meaning wear and tear on your vehicle… Plus gas, insurance, props, your software, camera , a little over 30% goes to Uncle Sam and then countless hours editing… Well.. You basically paid the customer to take photos of them. You actually lost money. That’s a fact and reality.
I think others give up because they do value themselves, but find it hard to compete with others, nor do they have a proper marketing strategy. They struggle with getting the word out.
Now, when I started my business in February of this year, I focused on 2 things. One was.. Be different.
I can look at a loads of photographers in my general area and they basically all look the same. It’s like looking at big mushy jello sticking together… I have trouble differentiating from one to the other to be honest. My goal was to not be like them. To be me and do something different to stand out.
My work may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but one thing I do have going for me is that my style is pretty unique in South Jersey. You can look at my work and be like.. That’s Shooting Star’s, that’s Dee’s. And I’m busy. Always busy.
I also think that a lot of photographers forget to shoot for themselves because they are wanting to please their customers, but in doing this, they are playing it safe. I think photographers get burned out because they lose that creativity for what brought them to this profession in the first place.
And boy, trust me. I was there this past fall and Christmas. I am still trying to get caught up on work and I can see how folks get burned out in this business. It’s important to to have rest and have time for yourself. You need this to keep sane. It’s a very demanding profession, but most normal folks don’t see that. We spend countless of hours behind a computer screen daily and it can be daunting. There are times where I’ve been going 14 hours straight and still don’t see an end in site. I’m on the computer daily and there are times where I’d like to go complete Office Space on it. I truly do.
I’ve learned to limit myself and my time on the computer. I’m only permitted up to 4-6 hours editing/day and that’s it. This has helped to keep my sanity during this busy season and of course on days I don’t have sessions. On sessions days, I may be lucky to hit 4 hours, if that sometimes.
This year has been a tremendous whirlwind. I’ve had time to reevaluate things moving forward. I’ve decided to not take on too much work. This past fall, I was so busy that I even had to turn multiple potential clients away. I hated doing this as I don’t like having to say no to people. So some I did fill in when I know I shouldn’t have because it was too much.
I’ve learned my limitations and I’m not afraid to say, “No” and this is okay!
A few changes going forward. Limited session dates, stylized sessions. Girls in amazingly crafted ball gowns all handmade. Boys dressed to the “t” in vintage wear. New concepts and locations.
I am really excited moving ahead in my business. I hope you can come join me in the New Year! We are going to be servicing the Main Line/Philadelphia Markets as well as Delaware!!!
Big things, going forward!! Stay Tuned!!!
Happy Shooting, my friends!