It's not click bait, don't you feel like that sometimes?
You've had a rough photoshoot, someone didn't like your photo you worked so hard on, the market is saturated with people better than you. These thoughts have probably crossed your mind a billion times.
It's a feeling that I've dealt with constantly since I started doing this in 2015. I can only describe it as a creeping, painfully slow headache that makes its way to the front of your face, and digs its nails in your forehead. Just enough to make you sweat, but not enough that you have to whip out the trusty handkerchief. Is there really a point in trying to be photographer/ videographer?
First, a little context
I grew up in a musical/ artistic family. My dad is a bassist and DJ, mom can draw, grandpa could draw, uncles can draw, other grandpa can play guitar, cousin can play guitar... you get it, I'm not athletic.
I taught myself how to play guitar, and drawing has always been a part of my life. You could always find me with my sketchbook, or watching the interviews of my favorite bands. I would listen to albums several times over, I would sit for hours sketching my favorite super hero.
Even though I wasn't the most popular kid in school, I had friends, but only a handful that I still speak to today. But to be honest, I like it that way. I'm an introvert by many definitions, and I'm ok with that. Those hours I was listening to music and playing along to a full album, or repainting my bedroom white so I could spend days drawing on it with a sharpie marker, it was those moments where I felt extremely happy, safe and strong. Like nothing could touch me.
I was in a band, which will remain unnamed (unless you know me), and we disbanded late 2013. We weren't anything huge, but to me, that was my baby. Your friends and family yelling your name while you played, the power you felt on stage knowing that for those 45 min YOU were the boss, was totally a rush. From being in a band and wanting to pursue art I discovered that people love watching videos about that stuff, I guess thats why I would spend hours watching behind the scenes and 'the making of' videos. I would edit videos of the band and post them online, spending several hours on the transitions and story to show off our day at the studio. I would learn how to make time lapse videos of me drawing so i could take people through the process of my artistic journey.
I guess this is a very longwinded way of saying: I've always really liked making videos.
PHOTO AND VIDEO
These are two things that have always fascinated me. I would wonder how movies were shot, how the special effects were done, the smooth camera movements, the surreal looking landscapes in pictures I would see, how pictures came out so clear and crisp.
BASICALLY: How did people get a moving image from real life, into a camera, onto a computer, into the tv, in front of MY FACE and give me "THE FEELS".
I needed to learn how to do it.
One camera and lots of youtube tutorials later, we are here. I took a lot of bad photos. I still take a lot of bad photos. I've gone to video shoots not knowing what I was doing, not knowing if I could fulfill what the client wanted. I've tried different styles of shooting, played with different editing styles, posted to Instagram, made youtube videos, and inserted myself into a community of already talented, established photographers. I've "put myself out there" by every definition, honestly, not knowing if people will like it or not. Writing this blog, trust me, isn't easy, it was almost titled: "Why write a blog?", but I do think that THIS is needed.
I think more photographers and videographers need to drop the act, drop the competition attitude. Because yes, the market IS saturated. There are A LOT of video creators and videographers better than you. We are pressed to become slaves to algorithms and marketing strategies, just so we can show OUR work to someone who will potentially pay us a pretty penny. At the end of it all, was that why you picked up the camera? If that is your mentality, how long can you keep that up?
When I think back to why I started doing this, yes, it makes me money today. My wife and I, two dogs and fish need to eat. We have rent and bills just like everyone else.
But I started doing this for the very same reason I did music and art:
I did it because I enjoyed doing it
Sitting for hours with my guitar jamming to my favorite band, drawing on my walls, editing videos of the most random parts of my life, just so I could look back on it and smile, because I took the time to edit it in such a way that my future self would sit back and watch with satisfaction...THAT is the reason why I do this.
We get so intent on trying to one-up each other. We say "so-and-so missed focused with that shot", or "their video could have been better", or "that would have looked better if it was shot with this lens". Listen... We've all done it, and if you haven't yet, you'll probably catch yourself one day, and then you'll remember this blog. But this is a reminder, that if you ever feel like giving up, if you get overwhelmed that your work isn't getting noticed, if you think you'll never make a living with this, if you think you'll never have 10K followers, if you think that you'll never be better than the next person on Instagram, remember why you started.
Thats my goal, my guideline. No, I don't have the best photos. I'm not the alpha and omega when it comes to editing videos, I don't get every video job and photo job in my area. But I love doing it regardless. I love teaching it to someone who is picking up that camera for the first time and doing it because they enjoy it.
If you feel like your work isn't good enough, you're right. It is AMAZING. Put yourself out there, post everyday, post when you want, shoot good video, take bad photos, take good photos, show your family, show your friends, start a blog, start a youtube channel, go out of your comfort zone.
This isn't a cop out to say its okay to sit around and be lazy, watching other people do their thing. If this is how you are determined to continue making a living, or if it's your dream to make a living playing music or to sell your art or to make videos for people, work is needed, be the best YOU can be.
The world needs different.
The world needs vulnerability.
The world needs you.