I’m often asked whats it like working as a full photographer.. And must admit… Its pretty tough to wrap up in a nutshell. I guess Ryan over at Backcountry Custom Kydex has kicked me into writing this…. Firstly I’d like to say that I feel privileged and proud to get to use my skill, talent, artistry and my dogged strive for perfection to create images for clients that have chose to use me and contract me for work in promoting their businesses, products and brands over the years. Anyone who says that photography is easy needs their head boiled…
Photography today globally is quite possibly, I’m my mindset, the most overly saturated business there is. I’m the archetypal bastard child of photography…. I entered into it when the digital revolution was just taking shape. Yes, back in 2003 digital cameras were far from adequate and film was still very much rooster of the house… But it was seeing how digital could be used, how as a business model the files could be developed in a much faster workflow and delivered to client in minutes as opposed to hours/days with traditional film.
In 2017 when I type this out the front of my local coffee house, I could probably bet that every single person around me has a camera in their pocket. Most probably in the guise of a smartphone, but maybe a small pocket point and shoot for those here on tourist trips, and those that are serious prosumers, a decent DSLR with a couple of their lenses of their choice.
Point being, almost everyone can now photograph and capture images at their social events, business functions and sporting events. Its no longer a technology thats exclusive to those who can not only afford the hardware, but with the advent of better and better automatic settings, you can rely on the camera to choose the best settings and you just point and click… No need to know about ISO’s Apertures, Shutter Speeds.
I learned though books…. When photography took a serious bite into my soul I was working often remotely in the middle of oceans with no access from the boats I were on to go to a night school or photography club to learn more. I had other photographers around me to help point and critique but all in all, all I had was myself, my Canon D300 Rebel and a steady stream of books to further my knowledge and combine that with my obsessive desire to “always do better”
Sorry… i’m going off on a tangent…. Back on track, I’ll come back to my learning and training background at a later date.
What is it like to work as a photographer in todays industry? Well for me… I’d answer that back with some key words…
Working as a photographer you get to witness some truly outstanding and amazing events. Work around people and things that the general public would never normally get to see that angle of, or see at all. You meet hundreds if not thousands of people, work with them directly or indirectly and together you work together to make some truly fantastic bits of work, and there is the pressure of delivering. Being the professional to use all your years of experience and technical expertise to deliver what is demanded by the client. And when that involves a parade of hundreds of troops on parade and capturing a fly by of a low flying C-130 with a window of 1.5 seconds, having to pre guess the angle and elevation of the aircraft, and only have one opportunity to capture it…. The pressure is on. But thats why you are there and not the chap sat next to me on the opposite table using his smartphone to take a photo of his lunch. You are the professional, you are dependable and you get results……. You are the Man!!!!
But it has a flip side, and one that I think a lot of photographers will not be honest about….. You live your life at these amazing events and situations with looking though the viewfinder, you’re not taking part in the event, your not socialising or enjoying the atmosphere, your brain and eyes are constantly scanning the even, and looking for the next vantage point, looking at what the light is doing, seeng where you can get to to capture the next image… You’re not listening to the words of the keynote speaker or the jokes that are being told, you’re senses are tuned to the job in hand like Harry Potter hunting for the golden snitch in a Quiddich game…. Everything else is secondary… Its about your priorities and your job…
So you complete the job, and you grab a glass of water, then head straight home, you then spend even more time culling, editing and wrapping up the photos to be delivered to the client. You have in essence worked on your own thought the whole event, then when you deliver your work, you may not even get to see the faces of smiles and laughs when they see the finished work… You’re isolated, and, alone.
Yeah yeah, get the worlds smallest violin out for me and play a song….. I still wouldn’t change what I do for a second. (Except for being a Typhoon Pilot…. If anyone can hook me up on that front, you know where to find me) But what I do is my mindset, my blood and my soul. So what is it like working as a photographer? Tough….. You’re under appreciated and over worked, loved one moment and hated the next….
And I love it to bits…..