The Highs & Lows of being a Professional Photographer
Welcome today to our guest blogger Andi Ramsay of Developing Perceptions Photography, touching on the Highs and Lows of working as a Freelance Photographer. I hope anyone considering a leap into this career, or anyone already working in the industry finds this beneficial.
I started out as a photographer at the tender age of 12. My grandfather passed away and I inherited an SLR camera from him, I was gripped by a desire to understand the many hieroglyphic-like markings I found on this fascinating device. Little did I know that I was starting out on a journey of exploration that has already lasted two decades, will hopefully continue for the rest of my life, and has led me to experience some of the greatest highs and a few sinking lows.
One of the strains of running my own business is the necessity for me to do every job, I don’t just get to take some photos, shoot some videos and then swim the backstroke in my piles of money. I have to do the marketing, accounting, admin, answer the phone, maintain my social media presence & website, then I’ve got to do the dishes and hoover the house too; I have to plan, execute and postprocess every single job from start to finish. It can be a very long week, fortunately for me there are solutions out there, like FW Accounting and FreeAgent, to help lighten the load.
I’m a creative kind of guy, I’m really not a numbers person.
Throw in the complexities of HMRC and I am somewhat dazed & confused. When I started out in business I used to leave my entire annual accounts until mid January when I would spend three or four days sorting through everything and getting my tax return done. Why did nobody tell me that there was someone out there who would take the job off my hands and let me get on with being creative?
The quiet times.
I’m at my happiest when my business is booming, when I’ve got ten clients all at different stages of production and there is a lot of variety in my day.
Sometimes, however, things quieten down. There is a natural cycle to the year and even once you are used to it, the quiet period can be a bit disheartening. I try to use the downtime to recharge, plan my marketing and sort out my piles of receipts & invoices that I’ve avoided during the busy times!
Creating something beautiful.
The very best aspect of what I do is the joy I get from creating something beautiful.
In my personal projects I shoot waterscapes and seascapes, for my private clients I shoot weddings and personal portraits; they are all beautiful in their own way and I love seeking out that beauty then portraying it in a photo or a video for others to appreciate.
Reward of satisfied clients.
For me, the true reward of what I create is not the work itself but the reaction it invokes in other people.
Watching clients when they look at photos of their wedding, their newborn baby, or a family member who is no longer with them is the fuel that keeps me going; It makes me feel that what I do is worthwhile. Photos and videos are a great gift to be able to give people, letting them see themselves or their business in a new light.
Quite frankly, I love being free of stuffy offices, fluorescent lighting, middle management & meetings.
When I’m feeling a little run down, or just can’t get my head around something I know that I can break away, take some time and then come back to work. Instead of padding out my tasks to fill 40 contracted hours each week, I work to a more flexible schedule, working hard when there are jobs to do and ensuring I take time to recharge my batteries when I can. Some weeks do require a lot more than 40 hours, but I am more productive when I do work as I can choose to do the task that suits the moment. It needs a little bit of discipline sometimes, but everything gets done and then I can relax.
Despite the lows, and because of the highs I continue to love my job. Every week brings new challenges and sometimes I am struck by how awesome my business is, the things I get to see, the new people I meet and the crazy things I get to do. I’m just glad that I don’t always have to do everything by myself.
You can check out Andi’s most recent work here: http://developingperceptions.500px.com/