With the prevalence of social media and the pressure to live that #wanderlust life photographers have a tendency to only show that cool, hip side of the job and I tend to be guilty of that. Of coarse some photographers do actually work travelling around the globe, shooting celebrities or unbelievable landscapes but you still never see an Instagram post of them figuring out their taxes or pitching to potential clients.
Basically, no matter what your online presence shows there's always the 'behind the scenes' work that needs to be done in order to achieve those jealousy stirring posts. Actually, many of the photographers that I know with thousands of followers and a feed that makes anyone want to quit their job have day jobs or secondary means of income. Many of them are shooting the slightly less glamorous, more lucrative aspects of photography or have set themselves up by other means to support their photography.
Since I began shooting I've always been hard on myself by comparing my career to some of the photographers I look up to most. Photographers like Joey Lawrence who has been shooting huge, super cool commercial jobs since I first started following him on DeviantArt or a good friend of mine, Maria Govea aka The Supermaniak who spends her days shooting some of the worlds largest internationally known DJ's - but, what I failed to realize early, was that everyone has a different path, professionally or personally.
The following was taken while assisting Joey Lawrence in 2014
Photography is not easy career. The dedication it takes to succeed can only be fuelled by a passion so strong you're okay with the idea of possibly living off KD or rarely getting a full-nights sleep. For years I was balancing assisting, shooting, and in some cases working other full time or part time jobs within the industry. Although I have always hustled to advance I still may not have pushed as hard as I could have; for me, although photography is an extremely high priority, my career doesn't outweigh my desire to live a fulfilling and mentally-healthy life. Perhaps if I travelled or socialized less I would be further ahead but, at this point, even tho I haven't hit the commercial success of others or shot a Patagonia campaign (yet) I'm still completely content with where I am and the life I've built for myself.
Although, to be honest, I never thought I would see myself in the position I'm in, I'm so happy to have a job shooting, supporting the lifestyle I want to live, and providing me with enough support to explore my personal interests (travel/river surfing!). So, what do I ACTUALLY do? What happens behind the scenes of my Instagram full of adventurous photos? I guess you could say I'm an ecomm/advertising/fashion photographer.
About a year and a half ago I got hired by an advertising agency to take on a majority of Marks (formally Work Warehouse) in-studio, on-figure photography. Whats that mean? I take a lot of photos of models, wearing Marks clothes, for Signs, Flyer, Web, or advertising.
Some days are less glamorous where I shoot 100+ styled looks in an intense day of button pressing and some days are more exciting where I conceptualize, produce, and shoot 'look books' for new lines. Either way, I take a lot of photos.
Although, like most people, I would prefer to be travelling the world and taking photos of places and cultures that interest me, my experience with the agency has been unmeasurable. I've gathered an insight to the advertising world from the agency perspective, rather than a freelancer, and I've developed a mean process for getting high quality images at a fast, demanding pace.