Hi guys, i'm not so much a writer nor am i a high end photographer. But i'd like to just share a little something i wrote based on my reflections on how things had been for me since i came into the industry. So pardon my bad english and i hope you enjoy my little piece.
From Being a Photographer to being Human Again
What drove me to write about this post today “From being a photographer to being human again” is the recent events in my life which triggered the mental thoughts on how in these days, there are so many people coming into the wedding photography industry, and at the same time alot of seasoned wedding photographers are starting to “lose heart” in their passion. And it doesnt qite help because even close friends of mine are feeling this same feeling i have as well. For one i have been depressed from time to time, worrying about the business aspect of the photography business and thinking of how to be a better photographer and marketeer to propell the business forward. It took up so my of my mental and emotional space that it had triggered the feeling of self pity and unwillingness to even move at some point of time. And i knew that if this continued, it would be less then 5 years before i am done for being a wedding photographer.
Sounds serious? Yes! because it is. To turn a 1st, hobby into a passion then 2nd into a means of livelihood is a huge deal for me. Espcially since i had chosen to jump into this straight out of school and army. The risk involved is tremendous, bearing in mind that i had no prior business experience (well i graduated as a film maker). So how much more lucky can i get to have the mind to know the area i need to fix first is my business management. It has been about a year since coffeestainsphotography started out. And it has taken me the last 4 years to pick up wedding photography and to learn the ropes of how wedding photography “should be”, with the help of many many good masters and very respectable photographers. I owe what i am today to these people and i cannot be anymore lucky to be one of the few to have had the chance to work under and alongside with many of these photographers.
But being lucky is one thing. The business aspect has been draining me so much over the past months that it had made me contemplate a career change to something more stable, something that brings in a monthly wage, something that can put food on the table in months when business is bad. It has been draining to the point when i would lose heart to want to shoot.
It was only so that a recent conversation (with a fellow photographer whom i hold in high regards) that struck me on what was the real issue at hand.
This friend, was sharing with me about his problems coping with losing heart, and at the same time being the good man he is, tried to help with ours as well. A few things he mentioned were “to be sucessful, you first need to be aggressive”, “You need to channel your negative energy to become positive energy to make good for your work”, “I am glad to see that you guys still have the heart and passion in what you do”. The last statement was what really jolted me out of my daze. Because here is a man with so much more experience then me, taught me so much, and now telling me that i still have heart to shoot even though i am going through so much down time and slowly losing heart. Strangely and ironically, it made me realise that the reason why i had became solely a photographer and not a human anymore. (for those who dun understand, do read this article )
I forgot what it felt like to love a shot the moment the shutter clicked. And all these was because i was just so caught up on making the business work out that i forgot the initial reason to why i even chose the path to be a photographer. And this stress and pressure i exerted on myself made me feel tired and less passionate about every shot i made. So after realising that it suddenly changed my whole perspective on things again and it made me realise how much i had neglected the real human aspect of my craft. And in my own little opinion that summed up the meaning of the words “the moment it clicks”. It means the moment when your eyes see something that triggers a reaction in your mind and more importantly in your heart, you push the button to capture it on film.
So i like to urge those who are thinking about doing photography full time to think through it long and hard. Because as much as we are producing photos that our clients.couples.friends love, there is also the business aspect of it that will wear you down, work you out and take your passion. And when you get there. Then what?
For now, all i know is, i love my work, i love my new found friends (who are mostly my couples these days) and i love everything about the moment the shutter clicks. So in my own little simple words, “to be agressive you first need passion, to have passion you need to have heart and to have heart you need to learn to refocus yourself”, only then you might learn to be not just a great photographer, but also a great human being. =)