Wednesday, November 12, 2008

When the Work Becomes Professional

I love photography. If it sounds like I have said that before, it's because I have. Like, a million times.

Lucky me, because lately I have been doing a lot of photography work, and actually making money at it. WooHoo!

While the fine art stuff I do just because I have a wild hair is my favorite stuff to shoot, and is what I hang when I have a gallery show, the stuff that tends to pay the bills are portraits, head shots, and commercial gigs. I am getting more and more of these, and could probably have a full schedule if I were to hit the pavement and ask for more work.

Right now I have enough on my plate, but perhaps I'll start seeking more work in early December. My father has a fairly large mass that is causing him pain (located behind a kidney and pressed tightly to his aortic artery.) They are not sure what it is, but already we've heard words like "surgery", "chemotherapy" and "lymphoma", so needless to say I am worried and distracted.

However, despite the day to day anxieties and business I have, I try and focus on what's good and exciting, and certainly continued work is one of these.

Local Flavor Magazine is one of these, I've enjoyed quite a bit of work with them this past summer and recently, having shot a local radio station, KHFM, Nob Hill Bar & Grill (left), Keller's Farm Store, Que Chula!, Just a Bite Bakery & The Wild West Cafe, and this past week Prairie Star Wine Bar.

One of the pluses to these shoots is that I get to find great new places to shop and visit. Several of them I may never have seen until I dropped in to do the work, then I became an instant fan and frequently return as a customer.

Other work which has fallen my way this past year has been usually because of networking connections I have made over the years, which goes to show that hermit status isn't a bonus here. More than half the work I get comes to me by word of mouth, and you can't beat that.

A billboard I did this past Spring was this kind of project. A friend of mine for many years asked me if I would be willing to donate some work for him for a billboard. I was thrilled to do it, though I had many people tell me that free work was a waste of my time. I found that the shoot itself not only connected me to several new potential clients, but it gave me a billboard to put in my portfolio. Another bonus was that several months later when they needed professional business portraits for their employees, it was me they came to, and paid me.

I could certainly use help in the advertising and self-promotion department. This is evident if you spend any time on my website. The truth is that I get a great idea for my site and start it, then find I don't have enough time to do what I planned so I rush through it, and when it's done I hate the disaster it is -- but I have far to much work to do for someone else to fix it. This is a vicious circle that keeps repeating itself, and I am currently in the process of trying to get some professional help.

No. Not that kind of professional help, though I am sure I need it.

I'd smack myself on the back of the head for my faults, except I have grown so much better over the years that I can't help be proud at my own progress. There is, quite certainly, a great deal of work and re-focusing that needs to be done, but over all I can honestly say that where I am at now has surpassed my expectations from six years ago, and I have great plans for the future. :)


sunflowerkat321 said...

Dawn -

I'm thrilled you found me and left a comment so I could find you too! So great to hear that you're picking up some pro photo work. Looking forward to hearing more about that journey.


Mike said...

Very nice photos on your pro page. I never can understand how people can take such perfect pictures. It's great to get paid to do sonething you like so much. Well, I think it would be. Not the case for me so much. :)

Paula Manning-Lewis said...

Hey Dawn,
You mentioned you need professional help on your website....we actually have a couple of people with studios here that do that sort of work. Let me know and I can hook you up with one of them.

Paula :)