People walk in to my shop in Breckenridge every day and remind me how lucky I am to be able to live the dream and turn my passion in to my profession, and they are absolutely correct. In reality, I don’t need any reminder as to how lucky I am. Photography has brought me into the lives of countless people, through portrait and wedding photography, and has enabled me to travel to far corners of the world and experience things that would have been impossible if it wasn’t for me being a professional photographer.
Out of the last year, I’ve spent over four months travelling in order to photograph. I spent a month of that time in Tibet, where I was able to stay in guest houses sipping yak butter tea while watching the sun rise on Mount Everest. I spent two weeks on a road trip to California with my wife, during which time, I alternated between days of photography and rock climbing. For nearly two months I explored New England during the peak of the fall colors. I have photographed 2 weddings in Nepal, one in Washington D.C., another on the beach in Southern California, not to mention countless weddings across Colorado. This to me is what living the dream is all about.
Sometimes, I need to remind myself of how this is all possible. Part of that is realizing that photography is only a small part of the equation. There are many things that most people don’t know about that are required in order for me to be a successful photographer. So much time is spent on budgeting, it borders on ridiculous. For instance, when I traveled to Asia this past year, I incurred a lot of expenses. I had to weigh the option of having a magazine pick up the tab, or paying for the trip myself and having more freedom to photograph what I want. Then there is the question of whether or not I could pay for the expense with income earned from the project. This is an exceedingly impossible task due to all the variables involved.
Also, there is this illusion that photographers are self employed. People say that it must be great to make my own hours. A lot of time it is, but I also work pretty hard. It isn’t unusual for me to work 20 hours each day when on a project or photographing a wedding. With wedding photography there are no second chances, do overs, sick days, or good enoughs. It has to be perfect the very first time. With each wedding, I photograph, hours of time is devoted to planning every detail ahead of time, because I know expectations are nothing less than perfection.
That all being said, I do love my job. I am getting to live my dream, but sometimes I need to remind myself of all the work that goes in to it, because the last thing I want is to become complacent.