Getting Real With Photography and Business

Ghost Horse I decided to start writing about chasing the dream. That dream of making a decent living with the craft of photography. Did I just get your attention? Probably because most of us who are not doing this just as a hobby are trying to make a living in a very saturated industry.

I heard this quote the other day." If your business is costing you money it is a hobby not a business, is this true? What about the cost of a start-up? What about the cost of education, equipment, marketing, etc for any new business? I think that you should expect it is going to cost you a lot of money to get to the point of making photography a business. It is also going to cost you a tremendous amount of time in practice and education.  Photography is not like a franchise, this is a craft that will  most likely  take years to perfect. I am going on my 6th year of full-time education and daily practice trying to master  my vision. I will not even say what this all has cost me, just incase my husband reads this someday.

Another suggestion I hear is that if there is no competition there is no market.  Really? So we need to do what everyone else is doing  if we want to make a living?  I had to sit with that for a bit. I suppose that is true if you want to be a commodity but if you're an artist, you want to run and run fast from becoming a commodity.

I feel fear when I think about  my vision for my business because I want to focus my photography on draft horses. Which for a business plan in the so-called "real world" would falter due to it is such a small niche part of the market. Then I watched a podcast  on TWIP about this guy  Don Kamarechka who has poured himself into snowflake photography and is now attempting to publish a fabulous book. This got me thinking.  How big could the snow flake market be? But he is now known as the expert in snowflakes. Who could imagine that for a market?

The world does not need more of what we have already have. We need new stories, visions, art, products, and perspectives.

It is so easy to walk down the path that is well-worn and mapped out. But to follow the path your heart is calling you to follow takes courage, dedication and the wiliness to not listen to the masses. I believe you are experiencing such a calling when you feel fear at the very thought of doing what you have been called to do. Fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of status and reputation. When you feel these fears it is a good sign that you are on to something and you need to take serious look at this because there is something here  that is designed with you in mind.  It is also a path that you can choose to follow or pass up it is completely up to you but if you pass up the inspiration it will move on to someone else and you will have missed the opportunity. I am sure you can recall such a situation.

Will I be able to pay my bills and live a comfortable life by following my heart? I have no idea, but you can follow along with me as I share with you this dream and vision and the challenges I am sure to face.

Let the journey begin. I will post something about my journey each Tuesday, even if it is just to say I can not post today because of  ???

Don't Abandoned Your Art

Comfort This post is mostly for photographers but can apply to anyone who does creative work of some sort.

You know what happens, after hours of work on editing, or re-writing, re-recording song or re-drawing you decide this project is just not working. Your disappointed, it is not turning out as you envisioned or planned. So out of frustration you delete it, throw it in the trash, abandoned it. It's over and I am done with this.

I am writing to encourage you not to give up just yet.

When I first started getting serious about my photography I found myself a mentor. His name is Nat Coalson and he is an amazing landscape and abstract photographer. He taught me many things that I still use today, but I remember him telling me not to delete any of my images except the ones that were obviously out of focus. I could not at the time understand why. With digital and being able to take hundreds of shots and loading up cards why would we keep the ones we do not feel meet our standards? Having all those images on your hard drive can be very daunting.

I am someone who absolutely dislikes clutter  so this was very difficult for me to deal with. This was the advise I decided not to take. It just did not make sense to me. I was only going to keep the images I felt were good and worthy of editing. But  I was wrong and here is what I have learned about walking away rather than deleting or giving up.

When you have spent so much time on your project you begin to lose what it was that made you want to create this in the first place. You have been looking at it to long and now it just looks ordinary, mundane, not interesting, or doesn't sound right. It just not what you have envisioned

Now is the time you need to walk away. You have to give it time to cook.  Leave your project alone, put it away, don't obsess over it you need some time for fresh eyes.

I recently took a workshop on Creative Live with Hailey Bartholomew on creating video and she was asked a question about what happens when she hits a wall with being creative in the middle of a project.  She said "take two days off" Do not think about your project just get away from it and do something else. You need time away so you can reconnect to your creative ideas.

I now upload my photographs or videos and leave them alone for at least a week. A week to forget  what it was I was trying to capture, what it felt like, what was I trying to say. Then when I return and go through the photographs or look at the video again it looks new and exciting to me and I am now aware of what my creative self was trying to accomplish. I am inspired all over again.

So I beg you to please do not delete or abandoned your art until you move away from it so you can come back and see what it was that inspired you the first time.  I guarantee you will find  gems that you may have otherwise overlooked.

Here are a few of the photographs I almost deleted:


Ghost Horse

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