Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Why I'm not a Photographer

When I was younger I used to want to be a photographer. I don't anymore. Some people find this odd, or strange, since I am such an artistic person, so I thought I would explain in depth.

5 Reasons Why I Am Not A Photographer

I'm sure many photographers out there will relate. 
from the first wedding I photographed :)
  • You charge how much? In college I shot a few weddings. Brides, couples, or whoever always seemed shocked at how much money I would quote them for their event. I know this can be a sore point for many photographers. Many people seemed to think since I was "just starting out" I should photograph their event for free. I only charged about 50-300$ depending on where I was. I thought this was reasonable, given I a) drove to their event b) spent time photographing and editing their photos and c) put up with, what I shall call "the Rose-Colored Glass phenomenon", which I will explain in a later point. 
  • I had a girl whose wedding I photographed stiff me 200$ that she said she would pay me. She sent me only 50$ and I was very upset. Apparently she didn't like the photos I took so she thought I didn't deserve to get paid. I was a new photographer and I didn't know how to handle the situation then, so I mostly cried about it. 
  • There is a lot of pressure in photography. I love doing self photography because I can pose myself without any awkwardness and take my own photos without worrying about my client being critical of my skill or of their outward beauty. There are no conversations in self-photography. I don't have to cater to anyone else's creative dream.
from the first photo shoot I ever did. I was 17
  • I don't like having restrictions placed on my photography. A client would tell me "I want this picture, exactly like this" That's a lot of pressure. I am not that photographer who took that picture. I have my own muse: don't expect the photos I take to look like someone else's work. If you want their photos, hire them. I love suggestions, but telling me exactly what you want removes not only all my creativity, but also sets you up for a large disappointment.  
  • I hate the "Rose-Colored Glass phenomenon" Let me explain. I take your pictures. I work really hard on them, pouring a lot of my spirit and time into the shoot. The client has this "idea" of how they look in the photos. I give them the pictures, and they hate them. I am crushed. I know people that have received photos from me that exclaim that I made them look ugly. The rose color glasses phenomenon is kind of like the above point, but instead of wanting my work to looks like another photographer's, they want my work to mirror the inner picture they have of themselves.
another shot from my first session. I think these
are the only surviving photos
I guess when it comes down to it, I love creating photography. I just don't like catering to other people's whims. I can't see what is in their head, and I don't want to be put in a box. I think real photographers really have to have tough skin!

I still do photo-shoots for friends, but I make sure to do it just for "fun" with no money involved. That way I feel completely stress free, and they are free to love or hate the photos at will. Because they received them for free they seem to have a more open-minded approach to the process--they don't feel like they are owed a service from me and they don't have the expectation a wallet adds to the session. And we have fun together, which is the most important part of photography, after all.  
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