With the islands getting busier and busier, this question jumped out at me. My goal last year was to get more wedding and portrait assignments. I soon became overwhelmed with editing and found myself spending more time at the computer editing than out there shooting.
I’m getting ahead of myself…
Like many of us, my parents took us kids out camping and exploring the outdoors. My father was an avid amateur photographer with the bin of slides to prove it. Hiking on the trails throughout Yosemite and Mammoth, many times it was just me and my camera. The camera was a tool that helped to slow me down, to appreciate the little things around me and the quality of light. As I got older, driving along the coast of Highway 1 in California, it helped me stop, make a u-turn and make a photograph of something I would have kicked myself for not making. Many times we’re busy, on our way someplace with a Formula Racecar driver mentality, but a camera reminds us that there are more important things than beating the clock.
There are many reasons why I became a photographer:
- Appreciation of everything; nature, beauty, people, friends my life, and my time
- It gets me outside, with the fresh air and smells of outdoors
- It gets me in front of people, socializing
- It challenges me
- It keeps me interested in life and everything it has to offer
- It has a definite “cool factor”. I’m proud to tell people I’m a photographer
- It helps me to express myself like only art and music only can
- It’s something I can share with my friends and family
- It’s unique. This is the way I see the world, based on my own life experiences, this is how I see it.
- It helps me capture a moment that I may forget.
- It helps me to connect with my family by getting us outside and cherishing our memories together.
So, those are some of the reasons why I became a photographer. It’s been a fun, challenging, and extremely rewarding ride…but something is changed through the course of my career, a paradigm shift. Digital photography happened, thank you. Now we have many more photographers out there, pushing us, challenging us. We’re creating better images and more of them…yikes.
We all want to be successful, we all want to be busy with shoots, but it’s a cycle, a merry-go-round that’s very difficult to slow down or stop altogether. As soon as I get busier with more assignments, I spend less and less time doing all of the things on my list. Ever been backlogged on over thirteen weddings to edit, with thousands of images to go through? I’m the kind of freak that has to go through every single image to adjust horizons, clean blemishes, and adjust the colors. This is where I was last summer.
In November, I attended a workshop for Maui photographers. It had a spiritual retreat feel to it. We talked about our goals, and dreams, and some cried. They asked me what my goal was and I said, “I don’t want to edit anymore”. The workshop leader and his assistant both turned to me with astonishment and replied, “Any more??”. I replied, “At all”. The workshop leader had also mentioned outsourcing editing and passing off anything that isn’t uniquely yours or anything you don’t get paid to do.
This blog is becoming fairly long…but it’s an important blog to me and possibly to you.
I had been running a photography group on Kaua’i where we took in fellow photographers, most just getting up-to-speed with weddings and portraits (and some that focused on more commercial forms of photography like shooting dancers at Kauai luaus). We trained and mentored them, offered to send them to workshops, and helped them get more business; even offering “shadowing” opportunities where they can come out with a pro. In reality, this is difficult to do for many reasons. In summary, I was getting away from those top 11 reasons why I became a photographer. I want my time back and I needed to help all of us make more money, not much more, just more money for our family’s needs.
We needed to create a business where we can get more business and more time. How do we do that? It all came back to the Maui workshop. Outsource. There are now professional companies out there that can do everything for you, except click the shutter. All I had to do was let go of the things I didn’t really have to do. I can be controlling when it comes to my photography business, especially my editing. The workshop got me to think about the things that truly make money for me and the things I can pass on to someone who’s probably more capable, with fewer distractions, up-to-date software, and can get it done much quicker than I can.
So that was the plan.
Now we needed to select the outsourcing companies to represent us and you. We can change them at any time if they don’t perform up to our standards.
“Bottom line, if you are a small business owner you must not make the mistake so many do: being a jack of all trades and a master of none. Define what you are the best at and most passionate about (besides photography) and then start handing off the rest. This is the key to making your business successful and thriving. Me Ra Koh (Pro Photographer)”.
Let’s keep this going. Tell us why you became a photographer!
This post was written by a member of our old site, and I wish we still had access to the author bio. Such a great share! Cheers!