I am a little sad to see that Summer is winding down, but also excited for the cooler weather that comes with Fall. I shot last week at the river with Alexa and Payam. After a long weekend shooting in the streets of downtown with some of the interns, It was a welcome change of pace to work with natural light exclusively. The air was also crisper, and not as sweltering as the City had been. We met early in the morning to begin shooting and the day progressed with beautiful sun-kissed light.
The biggest challenge of shooting in the same location is to constantly work to create something new. The challenge is even steeper when you take into account the countless amazing photographs that Mark has shot with various seasons of interns, in the exact same location. It was my goal to shoot and create pictures that were different, and unique to the day.
We are a big photographic family, and like siblings, we compete with each other on various levels, so that we can make each other better. Mark is light years ahead of me, but it pushes me to be better. It makes me want to be more creative, to take smarter risks. He is a good natured maverick, and a mentor to everybody in the LeahandMark.com family.
It’s been a long summer for me, one filled with change. A few months ago I was working as a chef, and pregnant with my son. Now, I am a mom and a career photographer. These are both full time jobs, and are very demanding. I find I work harder now than I ever did in the food service industry. It’s a different type of work. It’s not clear cut, back breaking, hours on your feet type of work. There is that aspect to the being a mom, and definitely to being a photographer. We haul all sorts of lights, and stands, and lenses, and flashes, and various gadgets to shoots. It’s a work out indeed.
Around here we shoot all the time. We shoot every opportunity we get. Each shoot is an opportunity for me to learn, grow, trouble shoot, and expand horizons. Successes and failures follow me from shoot to shoot. I am pretty sure Mark said the exact same thing in his blog last week, and it is so true. I also shoot with the interns whenever possible. For as much as I may be able to teach them, there is just as much, if not more that they can teach more. They are all talented individuals, and bring so much to every shoot.
Every shoot makes me a stronger photographer.
Alot of the work, the work that people don’t see, that occurs behind the scenes. Hours and hours of my work week are spent researching. I look at new artists, I try to get an idea of where the pop art scene is moving, and I return wistfully to classic painters, to stay grounded in ideas of composition, light and colour. I read blogs, many, many blogs. My blog reading ranges from master photographers and their current work, to wedding blogs, to scouring Flickr for the undiscovered genius hiding in the sea of photos. I absorb art in a nutritive way. I read books. Books about business, how to manage finances and deal with taxes. I read books about underdogs who changed the rules of the game. I read about market trends and the future of photography.
As much as I think about photography, I look into different markets for inspiration. Looking at how SaaS companies expand into new markets and maximize themselves in a global market leads to ideas on how to be a stronger part of a photographic empire, and how to further solidify that brand. Photographers abound, and it is up to me to rise above the pack. Talent is only a part of it, hard work is the real magic formula to success.
Being a photographer is my hobby. It’s my career. It’s not all glamorous photo shoots with beautiful models, it’s a lot of hard thinking and sacrificing. It’s about thinking on your feet, dealing with constantly changing factors. Just working the camera takes a lot of thought, and decisive decision making. You have to decide how to set the camera, work with light, and then work with your subject. Alot of times, these are people who want beautiful pictures, who are trusting you to make them look good.
A lot of my time is also spent shamelessly seeking out new friends.
Add to the mix editing time, and the time it takes to learn new techniques, to master software, and deliver images to clients. You could wonder how it all gets done. It’s alot like being a parent.
It is done with love and passion, and there is no stopping now.