With today being the first day of the rest of my life, and while finding myself at the mercy of one of life’s daily little curve balls, all I can do is simply sit beside my sick daughter and enjoy doing nothing. Actually, it’s very hard for me to do nothing. So I’ve decided to do something. Something I absolutely hate doing……. Writing. What am I going to write about? Well, I’m not sure yet. Let’s see where it goes.
Almost 41 years ago a baby was born…blah blah…. Nope! I’ve been lucky enough to call myself a professional photographer for over 10 years. It’s a pretty cool thing to be called in my opinion. I started small, really small. Eventually, I became comfortable enough to upgrade equipment, leveled up, again and again, created a business partnership, learned a lot about the anatomy of business, had great weeks and shit weeks, great years and not so great years. Met thousands of people, and made great friends. There have been lots of changes. Such as folding the partnership, children, changes in business directions, more children, new studio locations, added businesses and so much more. It’s all great life experience, some are amazing experiences, and some just plain suck. But I’ve tried my best to always work hard and hold my head high. At the end, I love this life and wouldn’t change much about it at all.
One of my biggest professional challenges of recent times is consuming me at this point in my life. And I’m convinced I will figure it out in time. The industry I had chosen to rock, has evolved. It’s evolved so quickly. I totally could have seen it coming, but I chose to feel confident doing things the way they have worked for the last 10 years, and I assumed I would be safe. I was wrong. I’ve dropped the ball and I’m here to share with you that I’ve started trying to lay a new path to my goals. The path I once walked is now a very busy path. A lot of people are racing for the same goal. Now, it seems a lot of the hurdles that once took a special talent or skill to navigate have now been removed from the path. It’s taken me a while to figure out that I have failed to adapt to important changes. But now I have seen the problem. It’s clear. I have become a small face in a very large crowd. And I guess it’s time to stand up a little taller.
How can I stand up a little taller? Well, I have no idea yet. But it’s time to learn. In the last 10 years, I have taught others to stand taller, and how to grow their photography businesses. Which is awesome, and I have no regrets at all. But now I’m finding myself in a time I was not prepared for. A time and a situation I don’t know how to manipulate. I time in which I need to mentor myself, rather than others. And also, a time when I need to listen to the very people I once mentored. It’s a fucking mental conundrum. But at least I have realized where I stand. It’s my time to let the others travel their chosen directions because they are flying and no longer need help. At least not yet. Their times may also come I guess. Probably in many different forms and many different entities. Many warning signs simply ignored. But that’s OK, This is my life. Knowing and realizing that I have sped past so many warning signs without a single glance may be my turning point in learning to stand a little taller. Only time will tell.
I’ll be completely honest, this is my opinion and could well be very far from fact. I feel my industry is becoming highly saturated with professionals. It’s a very easy profession to take on. Hi-tech equipment is becoming a closer reach financially to many people. Experience is becoming less and less important, and lower prices are becoming the bottom line for many people needing the services that I have expertly provided for over ten years. Also, most of the time, the client knows very little about the difference between high-end professional equipment and the more readily available and affordable family consumer grade equipment. Am I upset? Frustrated, yes, but “upset” may not be the correct term. In my mind it sucks. It can hurt to see someone who has been doing what I do for 2 years, getting more work than me, based firstly on price, secondly on creativity, thirdly on experience and lastly on quality. Do I have a right to be upset by this? Of course, I do. I have a right to almost anything I want personally. Is being upset going to help me get control of my business back? Like fuck it is. It’s just making me look like a spoiled toddler. And I’m glad to have realized this, be it a little too late, but regardless, I have realized. I need to take this “upset” and this “frustration” and turn them into positive energy to fuel my future.
It’s time to accept this business, all its evolutions, all its quirks and be a strong proud inhabitant of its world. I need to always continue to grow and always maintain my brand. There are billions of people out there. Some of them need what I can do. And some of those prefer the way I do it. It’s time to concentrate on those people. There are people who chose or can afford experience, and there are people who can’t commit to the value of experience, whether it be choice or necessity, it’s their right, and for those people, there are still options. There are always risks, no matter how much experience, and there will always be stories of people who took the risk and lost the gamble. I feel am great at what I do, and I feel that I have a totally unique way of doing it which should make me a valuable commodity to the clients that choose me. Those people, they are everything to me and I have no doubt that they will try to find me when then need me. I just have to be standing tall enough for them to pick me out of the crowd.
I am a self-made entrepreneur, a creative artist, a photographer specializing in portraits of people. Given the opportunity, I can connect with people on a deep level. I can photograph not only their physical being, but also their personality, their emotions, and their passion for each other. I myself have a passion for what I do. I have a whole lot of solid experience, I can put people’s concerns to rest instantly, I can provide rational thinking, I can diffuse stressful situations, I can lead when necessary, I can follow when needed. This is what I do. And my goal is to do it better and better.
I am Optimus Prime, and I send this message to any surviving Autobots taking refuge among the stars: We are here. We are waiting.