You know, things happen in one’s life that seem to want to knock people off their tracks. Over the last month new and exciting directions have popped up as if by magic to make Maggie and me re-examine a lot of things that we are doing in our lives. Things that we thought we had nailed down are starting to lose their hold and change is in the wind.
As many of you know, we just completed a whirlwind journey through the western United States. On that journey we learned things about ourselves that we had suspected were true, but became evident to us as true. We found that we are a pretty good team in terms of photography and that
travel suits us. We discovered that we both have a completely different photographic style and way of shooting that both work. We re-discovered the wanderlust that has been in both of us for most of our adult lives. We were awakened to a lifestyle that we both enjoy and could easily adopt if we want to enough. Maggie and I used to travel to Hawaii every year back in the 80’s but have abandoned that habit and neither of us realized how much we missed it until our recent trip to California. Simply put, we love sun and sand and being footloose and fancy free. The problem is that we like security, nebulous as it may be, too. Our home life provides that in spades.
So that’s the question. Are we willing to give up the lifestyle we have to become photo journalists and travel bloggers? Is that the thing we want to do? Or do we stay on the course that we’ve set in place through stock photography and the creative arts punctuated by a stay at home lifestyle until we croak? That’s a big question and one that I have issue with because of our apparent inability to take action.
I believe that nature directs us in the ways that are most beneficial. Stock photography has been great for many people, but for some reason, we haven’t embraced it yet after more than two years of thinking about it. What does that mean? Is there something holding us back perhaps? Is this the Secret sending us a message or are we ultimately missing the boat here? I’m not sure.
I have a successful photographic business but when I analyse the results of it, am I fooling myself by just dabbling in it rather than fully immersing myself in the nuts and bolts of it? I have a successful safety business for which I’m imminently qualified and there is a great need, but is this what I really want to do in the sunset years of my life?
Lately my photographic business has taxed me because I have problems saying “no” to needy causes and even though I’ve reduced the amount of free stuff I “give away”, I’m troubled over being an unpaid event photographer for many of the events I do. As an event photographer, it is customary to provide some loss leaders to a charity for consideration in the hope of further business from the people that you have photographed. Because I have a business, I need to sell my photographs, not give them away. Over the last year I have given away thousands of them and it has not led to anymore business. Is that a wise thing to do? I don’t think so. I need to ask the question “Will this lead to further paying business for me by doing this for a worthy cause?” Ultimately, if it doesn’t I need to respectfully decline. I did exactly that with one organization that was aggressively asking me for work to be done on a continuous basis and finally I just said
no. It may have hurt a relationship but the point of the matter is that my point was well made and they backed off. The real question is why do these organizations feel it’s necessary to not pay a hard working photographer for his or her work when there is never any question about paying anyone else. I haven’t seen anyone rushing to help me build a new deck for nothing and I don’t think anyone would expect a contractor to do so for nothing. It’s a dilemma that simply needs to be solved.
I joined a group that identifies that exact problem last year. They have succinctly identified a way to teach people that it’s bad form to ask photographers to give them images for nothing. Here’s the website if you care to read it… http://photoprofessionals.wordpress.com/
So this morning Maggie and I resolved to find a way to get her out of the continuing mind numbing job that she is doing at Wal-Mart and get into something that is going to provide her with some new directions and excitement in her life. She wants to pursue the stock photography business in earnest. And I couldn’t be more supportive of her efforts. The problem is that it requires a pretty steep learning curve to get going and of course the ability to provide the very best stock photography images we can conjure up and put on-line.
So that’s the challenge. In a nutshell it’s to get her going so that she can support herself through stock photography and wade through the challenges that it seems are inevitable. However the real challenge is to not lose the head of steam she has now.
So wish us luck and here’s to a career change for Maggie focused on the photography business and a new experience for me in that I’ll actually be able to sleep with my wife during the week instead of only on weekends. LOL
See you later…