My photography journey – an honest revelation.

I love photography. It’s my escape, downtime and opportunity to explore the my creative side without any expectation or pressure but it hasn’t always been that way.  

When I started shooting it was care free and I loved learning. I loved all types of photography with a strong interest in landscape, macro and portrait photography. It wasn’t long before I was seeing light in ways that I had never seen before. It was like having a camera in my head. Everywhere I went I could see scenes that would make a great photo. I loved sharing my photos and receiving feedback. I won a few photography competitions. Photography really opened up a new world for me.

There came a point when I was frequently asked by people if they could pay me for my work. I was never sure if I wanted to become full time photographer as my primary employment. My profession is in health care – critical care. It’s high end, stressful and fatiguing so the thought of working as a professional photographer had some appeal to it. I completed a few photography courses, had some mentors and started working part time as a photographer. Working as a photographer was a great experience. I learnt a lot. I had several shoots feature in magazines.

Feedback from my clients was always great but shooting for clients brings a whole different level of pressure. It’s a lot harder than you would think. Especially weddings where you don’t get a second chance. I was always worried about what would happen if I was injured or ill and I couldn’t shoot the wedding. Even though I had a second photographer working for me at most weddings the responsibility of shooting someone’s wedding was one that I took extremely seriously. Other pressures include running a business, how much to charge, trying not to get so caught up in your work that that’s all you do. I have the upmost respect for those who make a career from photography. Its hard work and they have gone through a hard time with the pandemic lock downs cancelling weddings and other shoots.

I really got stuck trying to produce photos just for the client and what I thought they might like. This may sound strange but I think that was a mistake. Yes, you are shooting for the client but they have hired you because they like your work. Trying to produces images for what I thought the client wanted steered me away from editing in my own style. I think this is a big trap avoid. You need to trust your style and produce images you love. The clients who like your work will naturally find you. Loose that and you are nothing more than a commodity producing generic images. The passion and creativity will soon go out the window.  

You need to trust your style and produce images you love. The clients who like your work will naturally find you.

There came a point where I was working all the time. The enjoyment of photography had gone. I was essentially working two jobs and my idea of what it would be like to work as a photographer was completely different to the romantic vision I had preconceived. I needed to slow down the photography work but I wasn’t sure what to do with my business, website, insurance, ABN, etc, so I went into a state of limbo. Que the internal flurry of self-doubt and imposter syndrome that we all battle from time to time. What was I? A professional photographer? A part time photographer? Where did I want to take my photography? If I stop shooting professionally have I failed as a photographer? Have I failed as a person (something I am not used to)? Have I let myself down? Have I let others down? Has the whole journey been a pointless exercise?

The net result was my photography suffered greatly. My enjoyment for photography was gone. I went through a stage where I stopped working in photography and I didn’t feel like shooting for myself or publicly sharing my work. When I looked at my past work I thought it was all rubbish. I could hardy pick up a camera. I lost my vision, passion and my eye for light. Normally I would see light, shadow and images everywhere I went. Like a camera in my head. I loved it. This stopped. I stopped testing myself, learning from others and trying new things. I stopped shooting macro. I stopped shooting landscapes.

I decided to take some time away from photography to clear my head. It took a few years to work it out. I am now happy to say that I am an amateur photographer who loves photography for nothing more than the pleasure it brings me. I have no desire to work in the photography industry. I may take photos for people who ask me. If I do, it will be because I want to, not because I feel obliged. I do sell my landscape photos but the profits are just enough to fund equipment updates and website running costs.

I’ve learnt a lot along the way. Things that I would not have learnt if I didn’t go down that road. Overall I wouldn’t change a thing because I’m a much better photographer because of it and I no longer have any questions about what I want as a photographer.

My passion is back, I’m seeing light again, the camera inside my head is taking photos and I’m sharing my work again. I’m putting different content on my website. Content that is not limited to what I think clients want to see. Why? Because I love it, I want to share it and I want to learn from others. I still have lots to learn and I am nowhere near my peak. There is a new sense of freedom. The freedom I felt when I first started shooting.

Thanks for visiting this site. I hope you enjoy the images. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about any of my photos.

My journey in photography continues, thanks for being a part of it.

Matt

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