A light-hearted insight into the not so glamorous life of a Professional Photographer
Picture this ….. you’re at a wedding, photographing a beautiful bride as she walks down the aisle, when suddenly your camera fails! All the excitement of the day comes crashing down around you, you feel like you’re in one of those nightmares, where you can’t move and everything’s happening in slow motion!
Back when I was photographing weddings, I found people would get very emotional when I told them my profession. They’d say things like ‘oh, what a lovely job it must be, all that romance, the lovely people, the beautiful locations’. No-one mentions the fact that, unlike most professions, your success rate needs to be 100% all the time, every time! There are simply no excuses for missing a shot at a wedding, so while redundancies are a must, there’s no escaping that feeling in the back of your mind that something could go awfully wrong at any moment.
- Carrying heavy bags and equipment helps to keep you fit. You know you’re doing really well when you can outsource this exercise to your assistant, who’s nearly always younger and fitter than you anyway.
- Photographing outside in all conditions allows you to experience the full force of nature, you make sure you’re getting enough Vitamin D, as you burn and swelter in summer, and in winter you test your skills at avoiding camera shake while you shivver.
- You get to spend quality time on clients’ floors photographing children or pets. If you’re lucky, you might get a lick on the lens by the family dog, ensuring your opinion of yourself remains a humble one.
- With every second person with an SLR camera calling themselves a “professional” you find you have lots of new colleagues to share your business with.
- With so much equipment, you find yourself developing OCD tendencies as you make sure you haven’t forgotten anything on the way to a shoot.
- Getting up way too early for a fashion shoot keeps you focused on the important things – will you have enough time to get your coffee?
- Hearing ‘you can just Photoshop that, can’t you?’ fills you with dread, as you realise, if you say yes, you could be spending hours editing just one photo!
- Thinking about what piece of equipment might fail helps keep your nervous system alert and encourages creative thinking.
- You find yourself getting to know every image intimately, as you spend much more time retouching than photographing. You’re comforted, knowing you could always apply for a second job as a retoucher.
- You spend your hard earned money on the latest camera only to discover your client already had that camera months ago!
So, next time you hear someone talking about how wonderful it would be to be a photographer, spare a thought for the rest of us, those of us in the real world, you know – the experienced retouchers who photograph people on the side.