by Richard P Walton Published 01/11/2011
Photography is amazing, it blows my mind; what blows my mind even more is the fact that we can make money from it, lots of money from it. It's a dream job and has an abundance of opportunities.
Let's take some time here to reflect on what it is we like about photography; for me the ultimate thing I have gained from photography is the fact that my eyes are now open. I get excited about day-to-day things and objects that the general person is blind to. I now look at the world like it's a different place, my friends and family think I'm crazy - 'why are you getting excited about a brick wall?' What is photography? What does it take to be a photographer? These are questions that I have often asked myself during my journey as a photographer and I really think I have finally cemented some solid answers in my head and since have really started to fulfil my dreams and move my business forward.
One of the most important things I have come to realise is that photography comes from within; all the latest technology will not make you a good photographer and better still will not get you more business or grow your business. Once I realised this I felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders, I felt free to concentrate on portraying what I believe to be the most important thing and that's creating our own vision.
It's very hard not to get sucked in to all the latest gimmicks and camera upgrades that we are constantly surrounded by but if you can look the other way for a bit, it really does pay off.
A great example that really boosted my confidence and helped confirm my ideas about kit and technology was being fortunate enough to win last year's portrait category in the 20x16" competition. The image was shot on my Canon 5D mk1 with a Tamron lens I bought secondhand for £200 accompanied by an old Canon EZ flash that cost £25 on eBay. I was also privileged to receive merits for the other five images that I entered which had also been taken with the same or similar kit and shot in the same way.
So what does this mean in terms of my life and business other than the fact that I'm that tight you need a spanner to get a 50 pence piece out of my hand? It means I can concentrate more on creating my own vision and keep developing my own style as an artist. If I keep trying new kit, clicking new actions I think I am only going to wander off with someone else's ideas.
The biggest thing I believe we can do to achieve our goals and grow our businesses is to make sure we are individual. Imagine how much more interesting the world would be if we all let ourselves go and just did what we wanted to do and not what people expected us to do. I guess this all comes back to being an artist, whilst I'm cringing at the thought and never thought I would call myself an artist I really think it's important to strive to become one rather than just being another photographer. If somebody is calling you for a job on the basis that they want what you can provide them with as opposed to needing a photographer, then you've hit the nail on the head.
Not only as photographers but as humans I believe we are all entitled to do what we want with our lives and it's our birthright to live the dreams we are blessed with. Not in a selfish way by any means and obviously there are times we all have to do things we don't want to but I think our personal goals should be put high on the list and are all achievable no matter how big they may be. There are obviously risks with doing things your own way and you certainly won't please everybody but there is a market for everything and the people who get you will love what you're doing. This will attract people who are on the same level as you and make photography the dream job it should be. Is it better to shoot 40 average weddings a year or 20 great weddings a year that you are going to love to shoot?
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