For the second time this year, I’m reading Fast Track Photographer, by Dane Sanders. I love this book for several reasons and I recommend it to anyone who is interested in learning the business of photography, as opposed to the technical aspects of photography.
One reason I love this book is because the author is a self-proclaimed “late bloomer” in the photography business. Like me, Sanders found himself coming back to photography after years of making other plans and chasing what he thought should be his dreams. He writes honestly about how daunting it is to face starting over in a business where everyone who’s anyone seems to have known their destiny long before they could even start working. They’ve put in a decade or two of chasing this dream before you even realized where the starting line was. How can you possibly take yourself seriously? If you were serious about this dream, you would have done something about it years ago, before you had responsibilities and an appreciation of PTO and medical benefits. No, those are the serious photographers. They came straight out of high school knowing exactly where they were going, and they’ve got years of experience on you. You’ll never make it. It’s too late.
So it seems I know how he feels. If this is really something I want to do, wouldn’t I have majored in photojournalism rather than education or government? Wouldn’t I have spent my time practicing my craft rather than worrying about a boyfriend? Wouldn’t I have taken any job I could get taking pictures rather than looking for something with a steady paycheck and cozy office?
Another reason I love this book is because Sanders knows he started late, but instead of feeling defeated and forgetting about his dream, he got real with who he was as a photographer and used it to his advantage.
“I needed to embrace who I really was, not who I wished I could be or thought I should be. My success began the day I became clear on who I was as a photographer and started sharing it with the world” (p. 18-19).
This was the inspiration for my blog, my way of sharing what I have to offer and what I still need to learn in hopes that I will create opportunities and also speak to those who feel like it may be too late to jump in. I hope that I’ve been clear on who I am as a photographer–I am most certainly an amateur and a beginner, but I have big goals in mind and I want to learn from the very best.
What’s more, I believe that photographer is part skill, part talent and a whole lot of luck. Sometimes you just happen to be in the right place, at the right time, with a camera in your face and it works out. Sometimes you don’t really know what you’re doing, but you click the shutter button and it creates exactly what you never knew you were going for. Below is my perfect example. If you asked me how I got this shot, I won’t be able to tell you. I don’t know anything about the shutter speed, aperture setting…I don’t even know the specs on the lens I used because I was playing with a friend’s. But my husband was feeling goofy, made a fist and well, it turned out to be one of my favorite pictures I’ve ever taken, purely by accident.
And I’m perfectly okay with that…In fact, I think it’s half the fun.