I started photography a few years back and as you know it in the beginning you keep your camera with you all the time. You take every single moment to shoot and capture the beautiful things around you. You take that thing with you on the most weird moments.
Than there is that moment that people from your social life ask you to take a few photos of their kids. Wow proud moment! Right?! And after a few free photoshoots and very happy parents you decide to create a website and some social media pages, because every photographer has that kind of stuff and you want that too. A lot of work but when you get the first likes on your Facebookpage you make a happy dance in your livingroom! Oh boy what was that a awesome feeling.
After a while you hit the 500 likes on your Facebookpage and you are flabbergasted and starting to think about asking money for your shoots. So you ask around, and look on other websites what the rate is for a photoshoot. Wow they ask a lot of money for a shoot... I can't ask that, I'm not that good. So you start with a very low price. And people start to book and before you know it you have a lot of photoshoots because everyone is happy and sends their friends and their friends and so on. Again a happy dance in the livingroom.
But than... you noticed that every photoshoot takes a lot of time, it's not just the shoot it's also drivig to the location 1 time for the shoot to check the area, 1 or 2 phonecalls with the people, driving to the location to have the photoshoot, driving back home, edit a few hours a lot of photos and deliver them to the clients. After that posting them online, website and social media. And we just asked a few euro's for all the hours work. So we put the prices higher, but not right away very high (in our minds) but slowly in a few months higher. People are still booking YEAH!
In the meantime your social media explodes and you hit the 2000 likes. Woohooo again a happy dance in your livingroom.
But after all this time and me personal I speak about 2 or 3 years working my ass of to get so far it's still a big job to keep there were you are. It's not "oh I'm there now I don't have to work so hard anymore" No you need to keep it that way and still working every single day to get clients.
And there it is... the creative rut moment. It hit me at the end of 2016. It was very deep and I was so tired of working my ass of to keep the clients and getting new ones. After a few weeks doubting and talking about it I decided to take a break. A big risk and it could mean the end of my business. And after 6 months I took the hardest decision and unsubscribed my business and went back to hobby. The first few weeks I was sick about it. After all these 10 years back to were I started.
Again a lot of thinking and doubting how to proceed with my photography and I decided to shoot whatevery I like. People can aks me for a shoot, but I only do it when I like the idea and creativity. I went back to the things I like to do. Shoot whatever I like to capture, taking photos of the kids in the family and my animals and my garden. No pressure and no stress. And I really love it! I'm happy in my photography world again.
And now there is that person in my area that takes photos and does everything for free. Buys the most expensive gear and tells everyone about it how awesome the new gear is and how good he is. The only thing I did was laughing all the time. Till last weekend, my husband went to the grocery store and when I came back home he told me that he talked with a friend of us about my the photography. The person talked to my friend and told her she shouldn't take me as (head) photographer for some social sport events that I will do as volunteer photographer. She asked the person why. His answer was, Chantal doesn't invest in her gear, it's old and not up to date anymore. And she doesn't work hard enough to become a photographer. And her photos aren't good enough.
I was flabbergasted than really pissed off and after that sad. I started to doubt about my way of photography, my gear, my knowledge and my hard work. Did I really need new gear, do I need to work harder and start my business back as it was. A few days I was really sick about it, it was the first thing I thought about when I woke up and the last thing when I went to sleep. Some people really don't know what some words can do with others. And hey we are talking about adults here... and the person is someone we know, had coffee in my house and I even send clients to him in 2017 for shoots because I took a step back.... that's so wrong and so sad.
But after a few days thinking about it and wondering how to handle this I decided to write this blog. Maybe the person reads it, and start to thing about the actions.
I'm Chantal, photographer since 10 years, I shoot with Nikon and Lensbaby, I update my gear whenever it is damaged and I need a new one. Or Lensbaby must have a awesome new lens! I'm not a expensive gear horder and I'm very happy with my gear. I'm still there but I just shoot whatever I love and like and still win fun challenges on social media and other competitions. If I take my camera to capture a beautiful moment I'm proud and happy with my capture. And that makes me a successful hobby photographer!