Updated: Oct 12, 2020
I heard these questions so many times; Why don’t you do wedding photos? Why don’t you shoot more portraits? Why don’t you become a freelancer?
I guess it is in the human nature to expect things. People have expectations what should and shouldn’t be done based on their personal judgement. It is not any different when it comes to expectations towards photographers. One of the common ones I've kept coming across is that you should take absolutely any assignment of any genre as long as it’s making money (because this is something that photographers do so should I – I was told).
I’m always open to try new things. In my opinion it is very beneficial for photographers to explore and potentially develop in other genres, instead of being strictly focused on one. Your creativity will grow so will you as a person. However, there is only that much one person can do. I believe that a good photographer can take a decent photograph of any genre, yet will be an expert in only one to two areas. And they are the ones that he should focus on and make a living of. Once I heard someone saying; How much would you value a doctor who is a dentist, surgeon, gynaecologist and podiatrist in one person? The same applies to photographers – you cannot master all areas.
To the questions. There are many things I don’t enjoy and can’t imagine myself doing. I’m old enough to accept now that some things are just not meant to be for me. Why not weddings? I’m not a people person and don’t like big gatherings. It is as simple as that. Even if I did try, I could get some nice photos but in order to be an expert in that area, I would have to be passionate about it and totally love it. But I won’t. Life events convinced me I would be better off in an area where one doesn’t have to be very social.
Why not portraits? I do enjoy shooting portraits. Although, not on a level to become an expert in the field and start charging money for it.
And the final question – why not a freelancer? Well, now we know what I don’t want to do, but what is it that I would like to do? I cannot be a freelancer in an area I’m not passionate about. As I already said, I believe that for a master of his area the profession and passion go hand in hand.
What am I passionate about and what would I like to do? I’m passionate about taking my nude portraits, can I make a living out of it? I sell prints, calendars and I plan to make more zines. Perhaps if I advertise myself better (which I’m planning to!) I could sell more prints. However, it wouldn’t be enough to make a living. So here comes the main question – can I actually make enough money by being a photographer?
I’m actually not sure whether I’m a photographer anymore. I perhaps see myself more as an artist with a camera. Why? It is the way I feel about myself. The area I love is very specific and my subject is mainly myself. For me the camera is a tool that helps me express my visions. These reasons are perhaps the differences between a photographer and an artist. (But prove me wrong, I’m open to it!)
To the question ‘What I would like to do’. At the moment I’m focusing on making myself more valuable by gaining practical skills that could come handy in the future. I have always been fascinated by film cameras and the developing and printing process, however, I have never got around to even try or see it. I’m not entirely sure if this is an area in which I could stay and find a job. But it definitely is an area in which I would like to improve. I believe it will help me grow not just as a photographer but a person, too.
Speaking of which, I found a placement at a local business. The studio is called The Photo Parlour, and they specialise in developing films and making prints. My job there is to help running the studio smoothly by providing customer service or run small errands. In return, I will learn how to use the lab, do film processing, printing and a lot of other cool things. I will write a follow-up on my experience there.