People always comment how happy I must be to have my dream job. And I think… I love being a photographer but it was never actually my dream job. But if I look back at my life, I was always headed in that direction. So I suppose me and photography were always meant to be.
The first camera I owned was a tiny camera that came from a cereal box. (Didn’t you just love finding the prizes in cereal boxes?!) That first camera was very basic. You’d snap the film on to the camera, and shoot away! I loved pictures. As a child I’d thumb through National Geographic’s and imagine traveling around the world taking pictures. But even then, my dream was to become a teacher. I continued to want to be a teacher, with brief dreams of becoming a lawyer or a fireman, until high school.
In high school I had no idea what I wanted to do. By then I owned an olympus point-and-shoot film camera that I brought with me wherever I was. I took pictures of EVERYTHING. I loved photography. I tried to get into the photography class, but was rejected. I was on the yearbook staff, but even then I got rejected. I became a copywriter and secretly longed to be one of the photographers. At that point, I had a good eye and knew a good picture when I saw it. I had a strong creative background and knew that somehow I had the potential to be good at photography. But even then I never committed to the idea of becoming a photographer. While I was interested in photography, I put photography on the back-burner; I imagined I’d do it on the side or when I was a stay-at-home-mom. (Imagine, I wanted to be one of those mom-tographers. haha.)
When I applied to colleges I still didn’t know what to do. I applied to colleges in graphic design, graphic communications, architecture and aviation. When it was time to pick a college I chose architecture over becoming a pilot. Notice how I didn’t even consider photography? haha. That senior year in high school I was taking endless amount of pictures (and still couldn’t get into the photography class). I continued to take pictures whenever I could. I wanted everything documented.
In college I absolutely loved architecture. I loved everything about it. It appealed to my technical and artistic interests. I learned a lot and loved it. As part of my architecture projects I needed to take pictures a lot. I had to photograph the sites of my projects, my research, my process and my final models. During that time I learned a lot about what appealed to my photographic eye. I look back on some of those pictures and they still appeal to me. As part of my architecture program, I even learned photo editing. We had an assignment where we were given a digital file of an old picture scanned on a dirty scanner and had to fix the color and clean up the image. It was great. I continued to take pictures well after graduating college, and still it had not occurred to me to make a career out of photography.
Now that I am a photographer, I think it’s pretty funny that photography as a career never occurred to me. To me it was always some lofty idea that I’d do somewhere done the road, I suppose. Cameras and photography were always a constant in my life so I don’t know what I was thinking! I love being a photographer. I love my life. I love photography found me.
So what’s your dream job? Has it found you yet?
When I started shooting weddings I also started editing for an experienced and talented photographer. I learned so much from him. Editing for him fed my love for travel and funded my growing business. Over the years through my ups and downs he’s supported me in so many ways. From guiding me in my own business to sharing his insurance guy with me to sending me to workshops and conferences. My editing and photography reached this point largely due to him. So when he handed me a mango last week I started to think…
I meet a lot of photographers who think they know something and actually they don’t know anything. (We’ve all been there.) But I truly feel like this guy actually does know something. Most everything I’ve learned from him I’ve learned to be true or the best way to do something. No matter how successful he becomes he continues to be generous with his time and knowledge (and evidently also his mango supply).
And if only everyone had a mentor-of-sorts like him I think the photography community would be a lot better.
p.s. When I pick up that mango to check its ripeness I think of that “Sex in the City” episode where Carrie has jury duty and sits next to a man who pulls a mango out of his briefcase. It makes me happy to think of. :)
April 4 facebook status..
Whenever a bride tells me she’s on a budget I’m happy to find pricing that can best fit her needs and budget, but there are those rare times when I secretly want to say… “My life is also on a budget, and I need enough money to eat.”
Surprisingly I received an overwhelming response to this status–mostly by other photographers. Now before I say anything else, like I said in my status, I wanted to preface this post with… I know people are on a budget and I completely understand that they want me to lower my prices. I am by no means offended when a client asks for a discount, and for the most part, I can usually accommodate them to a degree.
However, every bride and client needs to realize that every time they ask a photographer to lower his/her prices that they are essentially taking away money that particular photographer needs to maintain their business, pay their bills and survive. I’m also curious why people negotiate prices with photographers but not with their accountant or dentist or mechanic. It seems clients expect price negotiations with a photographer nowadays.
By writing this post I do not wish clients to feel guilty for asking a discount or to be offended, but rather, for them to see the value of their photographers. Especially me! :)
For the pricing I give clients, they get ME, a photographer who
- photographed over 20 weddings
- has been in business for about 4 years
- regularly takes business/photography classes
- constantly reads to improve my skills
- knows how to run/manage portrait sessions and weddings
- knows how to use my camera
- owns professional gear
- belongs to professional photography associations
- dedicates 60-80 hours a week to photography
- and on average dedicates 13 hours to each portrait client and 62 hours to each wedding client.
- is very funny. :)
Now who wants to pay me lots of money! :) I think it’s very important for people to understand the work invested when hiring a professional photographer. Not only are you choosing someone with experience but you’re also choosing someone with the resources to provide you an excellent service.
When choosing a photographer… ask questions! Ask them what you’re getting for your money. Get to know your photographer.
And, last but not least… hire me. :)
I didn’t meet Brittany until the day I flew into Portland when we had our photoshoot. But right away we fell into chatting and laughing and fun times. We actually had been talking for some time over facebook through a group we both belong to. It’s funny how even though I hadn’t met her in person yet, I already considered her a friend. She’s a genius photographer and full of energy. I had such a wonderful time with her hanging out, visiting ikea and having a photoshoot in a parking garage. :)
Here are her images of me. I really love how she captures such emotion in her pictures.
I regularly read the Designlovefest blog by Bri Emery. I love all her graphics and thoughts and creative design. So when I found out she and Angela Kohler of Angela and Ithyle were putting on a workshop, Blogshop, to integrate photography and design into a blog, I knew I wanted to attend. After some correspondences with Angela and Max Wanger’s wife, Margaux, I decided that the mega Blogshop with Feet First (Our Labor of Love and Max Wanger) was a good fit for me. Hurray!
So I’m here in Atlanta, thoroughly enriched after a day with Jesse & Whitney Chamberlin and Max and Margaux Wanger. I’ll share some more about the actual workshop another time…. but how lovely is this venue where the workshop’s put on. (It’s a goat farm! Tomorrow I’ll try to pet one.) Enjoy the motherload of pictures. :)