Friday, September 3, 2010

Balancing personal photo projects and paying work

Professional photography involves so many different tasks in a day, that it's sometimes nearly impossible to balance with your life.  Because it's easy to work from home, it's also easy to over-work and become stressed out.  My first suggestion:  Move the computer out of your bedroom, and keep it anywhere else in the house.  This will de-clutter your mind and help you sleep at night!


One of the biggest struggles that I find, is trying to balance my payed shoots, with personal work that may or may not end up making any profit.  It will take time to find your own balance here, and you may never find it.  But here are a few tips that can help you along the way!

When your just starting out, chances are that 90% of your work is not paid.  You are building your portfolio, and it's very important to get the best quality images showing the direction you want to take your business.  This is a tough time as well, because you need to be marketing your work, and landing payed shoots to get rent in on time.  Use this time to perfect your art and craft portfolio boosting images.

The balance will start to reveal itself more once you get paying jobs.  Many photographers have enough paying jobs to keep them busy everyday, but never take the time to go work on their personal projects.  It's ok to fall into this category, but beware that it may cause you to lose touch with your artistic self.  Photographers are artists and need to constantly craft a more unique vision.  This is what separates them from the pack!


Personal projects are where the vision and art is created.  These are the essence of photography and where the most enjoyment lies.  Spend time on these as often as you can, while still making enough money to live.   Comfortably.  The personal project takes some convincing to do as you're becoming more successful.  It's easy to think that because it's not paying money (and may not) it is not worth your time.  This is where you are wrong!

Spend time working on your skills through personal projects, and you will be able to land more work that relates to those.  With the right marketing, those images could even be sold (just remember your shooting them for fun and hoping to get some portfolio boosters).  So here's what I propose:  Shoot paying jobs as they come, but set aside at least 1or 2 evenings/mornings a week to go shoot what you love, and spend time on it.  You'll be a happier photographer from it, and you'll land more jobs since your shooting and perfecting what you enjoy.

Don't let it get into your head that shooting is a waste of time if there is no pre-determined place for the images.  Photography is a lifestyle, not just a job.  Enjoy life and love what you do!

That's the BUZZ for Today!  Please check back soon for more.


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