Yes, I took a break. Not a permanent one obviously, but I stepped aside for a bit.
I had to.
See, less than a year ago or so, I began feeling a little smothered in this incredible world of photography. And not just with the ‘business’ side of it, but with photography in general.
There were so many things I was looking into, so many things that attracted me, that I wanted to try, to do, to accomplish. There were artists’ work that I loved, and images that inspired me. I bombarded my mind with endless ideas and plans.
But at the same time, there were also those things that were turning me off. The saturation of the art- everyone is doing it, a lot just for a quick buck; a lot silly editing; the lack of originality in so many areas; The sense of competition; the seemingly lack of comradery; and the ‘secrets’ no one wants to let you in on.
I began to feel a little overwhelmed.
Then there were the photo sessions; the editing; the meeting the deadlines; my valuing of my work, or lack thereof; the trying to ‘photograph my own children more’; the organizing; the time management…
Eventually, it all just started to feel like some redundant race. A race to get things done before a certain time, a race to come up with creative images, before someone else did it, a race to upgrade equipment, or learn something new. A race to hear someone praise my photo. My work.
Ultimately, it began to feel like ‘work’.
There was a point when taking pictures never felt like work for me. Not too long ago, it was a fun, genuine, and intriguing hobby. It was a way to express myself, and to develop creatively.
But that sensation shifted.
And I took my break, rarely picking up any of my cameras. I became solely dependent on the camera on my phone (which is pretty awesome, and convenient). I began to turn down sessions, stopped reading about photography, even stopped saving for future gadgets. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do, nor where I was going with this, but I just needed to step off a bit.
Still, through it all, my love for taking pictures of random smiles, messes, the mundane around my home, or the changing seasons outside, never died. I thank my phone for keeping me in check, and allowing me to photograph whatever caught my eye, my heart, at a particular moment.
Time has passed, and in recent months, I’ve realized that I don’t want to go off too far. I don’t want to stop looking at inspiring images, nor do I want to stop reading wonderful blogs or books. I don’t want to stop taking pictures of beautiful babies and children, for their parents to treasure. And I’ll be damned if I EVER get too lazy to take pictures of my babies.
This period of evaluation has helped me set up a guide for myself. I know what I want, I know what will keep me from getting off course, and eventually get me to where I want to go. I’ll get where I want to go at my own pace, and with my own ‘style’. I’m not out to compete, or to win anything. I’ve never even cared about all that. I just want to take pictures. Good, and emotive pictures.
With all this said, my children are my main priority my time with them invaluable, and that will always come first. Their photos will also always come first. And of course my ‘work’ is important. I know I want to do this for as long as I am permitted. And because I believe in good ‘work’, I need to make some adjustments.
From now on, I will turn down sessions if I need to, and yearly sessions will be limited. For an indefinite period, I will not be photographing events; I want to just do photo/lifestyle sessions right now. There will also be a slight pricing adjustment, reflecting the amount of time and effort that goes into each image.
I like to think that I have a ‘good eye’. I know my images are genuine. And its this that I want to retain- that QUALITY of what I think a ‘good’ image is. I like to believe that a lot goes into creating that, a lot more than some camera and photoshop. It takes a vision, interest, attention, dedication, and time. I want to offer my potential clients my best work the best memories, and if that means making some changes, that’s fine. Quality over quantity. Always.
Some people may look at this as a bit ridiculous- changing prices? Turning down work? I may lose potential clients, and even past ones. I may lose ‘followers’. But I think if someone likes my work, they’ll ride this out with me.
And I hope some of you will. It’ll be worth it. I can assure you that.
I leave you with this. A picture of my muses. My guides. My priority.