I have my own reasons why photography is so important to me, but I thought I would put together a list that could apply to anyone as to why you should become a photographer. This is not scientifically weighted and therefore has not been properly ordered. It’s all stream of conscientiousness. Thus, #10 is not necessarily of lesser importance than #1. Lay off, okay !
10) You don’t really know people till you’ve retouched them at 1000% – I always walk away from a retouching session caring more about people. I’m like their mother fussing over them. I lick my fingers and smooth down their cowlick. That was kind of a disgusting analogy. I seriously feel a sense of protection over them to make them feel good about themselves and have a leg up in the world when they show off their new portrait.
9) Photography opens doors – In my day job, I’m afforded many opportunities to meet famous people and travel, but it’s the fact that I’m a photographer that has truly gotten me into the inner circles. The Lord knows how many times have I been the only one with a DSLR and been able to step up and take photos of an important event or moment. Opportunity leads to opportunity if you are a dedicated, talented photographer. As an example, if you love music and you pursue photography, you can eventually start taking photos of your favourite bands. Start small and work your up. I heard a lecture by a famous music photographer and he gave this advice…”Start at small venues with crappy bands, do a professional job, build relationships, and you will get bigger gigs.”
8 ) Everyone needs an artistic outlet – I can’t even draw an adequate stick figure.I would love to paint, and I intend to pursue it, but I have a major uphill battle. My wife is a natural. She can draw with elegance and precision. I draw like a Neanderthal with a lead stick taped to his wrist. But, for some reason I get composition when I’m seeing it from behind the lens. This art appeals to my sense of order and technical mastery. I get a kick out of being around other artists when I’m wearing a business suit and I can see that they are projecting their bohemian lifestyle and judging “the stiff in the suit”. And they don’t have a clue what’s really going on in my head or what I’m creating in my mind’s eye. You can be an accountant, a lawyer, or a bus driver, and photography may be just the artistic outlet for you. If you are a person that studies the world and is fascinated by people, or details, or anything visual, then there’s a place for you in photography. We all need an outlet. There are days I can’t lay my head on the pillow without creating something.
7) We’re everywhere – I LOVE talking to other photographers about photography. There is an instant bond between photographers. When I’m at an event, I’ll run over to the photographer and shake hands and say hi. If he or she has a moment we will inevitably talk shop. When I’m the designated shooter, I always take a moment to talk to someone who comes over and asks me a question. It’s the code. We all need each other, to learn and be inspired by each other.
6) What a conversation starter – Not just will you find yourself talking to other photographers, you will strike up conversations with complete strangers. Anytime I’m taking photos at a monument or tourist spot, I’m the first one that people come up to and ask to take pictures (because I’m holding a mac-daddy camera). I’ve had some great conversations and met some great people as a result of this. In all kinds of situations, you find people that you have something in common.
5) If you like to teach… – …then this is your gig. As an extension of the previously mentioned reasons, I think this is a crucial element to improving and growing as a photographer. The people that seem to get better, faster at photography are those who ask a lot of questions and who hold no secrets. That’s why I admire people like Joe McNally, Scott Kelby, Chase Jarvis, David Hobby, etc. They are industry giants because they freely share their information, and because they enjoy teaching others and the process of learning. I love to teach people about photography. I take my little 2+2 = 4 knowledge and share that, then I learn the quadratic equation, so to speak, and teach that, then I move onto the truly advanced stuff. Since I’m lousy at math that was a bad example. I don’t know what comes after the quadratic equation, so I generically said, “then I move onto the truly advanced stuff.”
4) If you like beautiful things – I am fascinated by the world around me. Being a very visual person, this is my way to interact with nature, architecture, and the most beautiful thing in the world…people. There’s nothing like capturing a moment in time and holding that forever on your hard drive (until it crashes). The better I get, the greater my anticipation is for the moment that is about to happen. One of my favorite shots was of an old Chinese Man (it’s first in my People portfolio folder). As I was walking up, I surveyed the background behind him, along with his stooped over posture and the overall composition. So in the 5 seconds it took to get around to the front of him and snap a picture, I had already set my camera and planned the frame. Kneel down, snap, snap, and bam! I’m out of there before he even knew what hit him. Every year that goes by, my anticipation gets better. But what I love about this is that even when I’m out and about without a camera, I see moments and think, “wow, that was a great moment.” Literally, my brain snaps a photo and I can see it for a while: facial expressions, flashes of light, etc. It’s a wonderful way to see the world.
3) If you love challenges – Nothing gets your adrenaline rushing like a client waiting on you while you try to figure out why your flashes won’t fire. It’s wonderful to plan a shot and pull it off. Though, there are times when you have to be like MacGyver and use duct tape and a flashlight to light a subject; whatever gets the job done. For some people this is a big reason to get into photography. The reward is very pragmatic and tangible. You put in x number of hours and you get a return on it. I love it!
2) “Can you please send that over to me?” – One day for fun I counted up how many of my photos my Facebook friends were using for their profile pics and it was 24. It’s more now, I’m sure. That makes me happy. Something I did can be a real & tangible blessing to my friends and family. I love taking pictures of my family. I love that my wife will have photos of our children at every stage of their lives. I love that I have documented the wonderful life that God has given me.
1) £££ – This is not #1 because it’s the most important, it’s just that I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about how cool it is to get paid to do something you love. I am the world’s biggest advocate of mommy-togs (Stay-at-home-mom photographers) and teens using this as a part-time business. It’s hard and you have to have realistic goals, but you can bust out £200-300 for about 8 hours of time (with pre-planning, shooting, and editing). That works out to about £30-40 an hour. Be prepared that much of your profit can be eaten up by buying more gear, if you’re a gear hog like me. But knowing what I know now, I could start a business for £1,500 which would include gear (camera, 2 lenses, some flashes, modifiers, etc), software (photoshop/lightroom), and website. Can you get the pro level lenses and the latest photoshop? No, but it would be hard for the untrained eye to see the difference. I wish I had learned photography when I was a teenager. I honestly hadn’t even held an SLR till I was in my mid-20’s. That’s just sad. If you’re a teen and you want to make some nice money and not have to wait tables and if you don’t mind chilling to iTunes while you edit at midnight, then this is the gig for you.
This is a repost and was posted originally here all but the top two photos are my own