1.1.11 +1

15 01 2011

So, I’m a  couple days/weeks late…

I havent posted in a while and I think in 2011 there should be a little more focus on the blog. It seems to be the first thing that gets neglected in “busy” times. I will try to make at least 2 posts a month this year with a couple bonus posts when the shoots call for it.

This past year was a very interesting one for me. 2010 started off like any other year, lots of corporate photography and little personal work. This would change drastically in February when I magically became “too expensive” for my employing studio. I was laid off after one of the biggest and most important projects of the year.

I feared I would have to figure out how to get a real job, and go back to the student life of “photo part-time” to try and stay in the industry. This would not be the case. I lucked out in a couple of my commercial clients needing work that month, a couple weddings booked and then a few previous clients coming to me asking for photography. It was meant to be. Getting “laid off” was the best thing that happened to me in a long time (although the scariest too).

I was able to shoot projects that I couldn’t have shot previously with time constraints based on my employer. I was able to shoot what I wanted to shoot, and most importantly I wasn’t being billed out at $150-$350 an hour and seeing less than a tenth of it in the end.

I feel that my photography has grown this year more than it has in the last 5, and that I have a desire that hasn’t existed in years. It’s a great feeling to have again.

I did, however, possibly take on a little too much, and end up very sick throughout the year. I don’t regret it tho, as you can always recover, and you can’t always guarantee that there will be work.

I was able to enjoy almost weekly beers with photog friends and stay in touch with everyone’s latest projects. I was able to pick brains of people I admire in the industry and grow with their help. Something that couldn’t be done at the other studio. It’s a great feeling to reach a point, not of satisfaction or content, but of “I’m almost there, I can see my goals.”

I’ve been a full time professional photographer for 6 years now, and a part timer for over a decade. I look back on life at that studio, and the term “professional” can only be used in a handful of projects. I spent 4 years just plugging away instead of learning more about my craft.

To anyone that is new-ish to the industry, I can only suggest this: Pay your dues, but do not settle. Do not settle into complacency and mediocrity. You will only be content, never happy, and possibly just working where you work so you can say your a full time professional photographer. This is a mistake. A mistake that many friends tried to help me correct, but I couldn’t leave, for fear of photog failure. Let me tell you – they were right. Don’t let fear stop you from shooting what you wanna shoot, or at least making the effort. If it takes you a little longer to become that full-time professional photographer, so be it… it’s worth the wait – trust me.

I was luck enough this year to be a part of a really cool project for a great cause. I donated shooting, editing and layout time to produce a run of calendars that would have all proceeds donated to the Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter. I scouted for a few days and got the locations and theme in mind for the cars. (We were shooting with the Alberta Mustang Auto Club and several of their members’ vehicles). Each member had to pay a fee for their car to be featured in the lineup and 100% of each fee went to the CWES.

After shooting throughout the summer and into the fall, we had 14 cars in the bag and could begin the layout of the calendar. Thanks to Margie at West Canadian Print for being so helpful and keeping the project under budget, so we could raise the most amount of money possible. We ended up printing 500 calendars and are currently selling them for $10 each.  Please email me if you’re interested in supporting the cause and purchasing a calendar, or even having us drop some off at your offices for sale to your co-workers.

Here are a couple pics from the Calendar Sessions:

I also tried to shoot at least one creative a month to keep pushing my self to learn a little more and step a little further out of my comfort zone.

Here are a few from through out the year.

If you’ve made it this far through the post… I applaud you. It was a pretty long winded post for me, but I thought if it helps one person that was/is in the same place as me, it’d be worth it.

Hope you enjoyed it.

I’ve also got some great stuff lined up over the next couple months, so check back and check out the latest projects…

Thanks,

Ryan

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