I wanted to take a moment to write about what it is I do here and why it is I do it. I sometimes wonder if it’s lost on others why it is photographers photograph. And sometimes I think it may be therapeutic for me just to write it out anyway.
Recently I worked for a client photographing in a medium I don’t typically photograph. I was a little out of my comfort zone but because I had known this person for some time and I’m always up for trying new things, I thought I would give it a try. The one thing that made me the most worried about the gig was that I was going to be doing a lot of work inside and at night and I’m a photographer that works primarily with natural light. So in an effort not to ruin the photographs of the client, I studied up on lighting and I purchased a pretty sweet (translation – not cheap) flash for my camera.
Soon it came time for the gig. In an effort to make sure that I was able to capture all the moments the client wanted to capture, I even went to the client’s venue the night before the big event so that I would be as comfortable as possible with my new flash and so that I would have an idea as to what I would be working with. It took only an extra hour of my time (minus travel, etc.) and it was well worth the trip …
I’m always nervous just before I arrive to meet a client to take photographs. When I’m photographing strangers, it’s always cause for a few butterflies. In the end the event went off without a hitch and when I had a chance to get home and look over the photos I took at the event and the reception (overall, 5 hours worth of photographing) I was pleased with most of the pictures I was able to capture. It seemed I was able to get the most important moments, and that made me happy.
Because I knew my client from long ago, I wasn’t a real stickler on payment and in the back of my mind I thought – will this come back to bite me in the ass? But I didn’t really think it would. The client seemed pleased with my work and I thought it was understood that payment should be forthcoming.
I’m not writing this to bad mouth my client – I promise. What I am doing is writing this to explain why it is I do what I do … I photograph not to earn a living (unfortunately). I photograph for the love of it. I photograph because I love capturing the happiness and expressions of people – usually when they least expect it. I photograph because life moves so quickly and sometimes it’s moving so quickly that we can forget those little moments that happen – unless we see a picture that may have captured that moment perfectly. So when you’re considering hiring a photographer – whether it be for a wedding, a family portrait, a first day of school, a birthday party, a special occasion, or for whatever moment you’re hoping to capture, please keep in mind that the photographer you’re hiring – and I’d love for it to be ME!! – isn’t there to overcharge you and put you in debt … but instead they’re charging you just for their time. Because the chances are they’re taking the time away from their loved ones, from a first soccer practice, from a dinner table discussion, from any little thing that they normally wouldn’t be missing – to spend it with you and your loved ones. And they may even be working toward paying back that flash they bought for the occasion.
I photograph because I love capturing the moments in life that matter. Sometimes when I’m not compensated for the hard work that goes into that work, it makes me not want to work toward that passion anymore … and is there anything sadder than walking away from something about which you’re passionate??