Whatever type and style of photography that you do, you can’t deny that working as a photographer is an unbelievable experience with its ups and downs like every other job but, unlike any other job, most of us choose to become a photographer and be it for the lifestyle of a fashion photographer, the experiences of a photojournalist, or the flavours of a food photographer, we chose to get into our niche because we love what we do. Who would ever want to have a break from that?
Editor’s Note: This post is a collaboration with EIC Chris Gampat and assistance by News Editor Joy Asto.
As a freelance photographer, when you love what you do and you do it for yourself and your passion, it becomes something you want to do day in and day out. You love it so much that you turn work ethics into your cult or philosophy, what you’re known for that is. To that end, you learn how to give yourself balance–and that’s the most important part that most folks don’t know how to do.
In my case, I love food and I love people related to food so, after 15 years in the demanding food industry, I decided to put the aprons and corkscrews away and picked up the camera. I haven’t had a single day off since then! OK, I’m exaggerating there but my point is, as a Sommelier, I was always looking forward to having a day off and grabbing my camera to go out and do street photography; now as a food photographer, I don’t have that need to have a day off. In fact, I’d rather be shooting than anywhere else because I truly found something that I love and am passionate about. I probably work twice as hard because the reality is that when you work for yourself, you stop following someone else’s dream and start pushing to follow yours.
“When you work for yourself, you stop following someone else’s dream and start pushing to follow yours.”
On a very busy week I can be shooting a new menu on a restaurant at noon, shooting portraits of the new kitchen staff in the evening, spending the next two days styling and shooting recipes for a cookbook, doing interior shots of a new brewery in town, teaching a food photography course in a cookery college, doing a portraiture collaboration with a make up artist and teaching a 1 to 1 food photography workshop for a food blogger. I’m knackered physically but who would ever want a break from this? This is all I’ve ever wanted to do.
On a “quiet week” I would be retouching, meeting people in the food industry, networking, visiting galleries and exhibitions, doing invoices, chasing payments, following up on inquiries and catching up with emails. I learned to love the business side of photography and here is where having a cult or a philosophy comes in handy. I always remind myself that I work on the creative industry, I don’t live in the creative industry.
I like to give my mind and body a break from work by adding martial arts training, walks on my own, visiting galleries and exhibitions, watching films and reading into my routine. Inspiration comes from these practices, not by being plugged in to work constantly.
Our EIC, Chris adds meditation and creative shooting to his daily routine to keep the mind and body healthy, here’s what he has to say.
An essential part of being a professional creative is maintaining balance. With a typical day job, you have this. You go into work, work at the office, come home, maybe work remotely if needed, but you have balance and you’re not in an office. One of the biggest parts of maintaining and creating balance is by living by one big rule: telling the world it can wait. When it all boils down, I like to think of balance as being 100% you time and 100% business time–and understanding the yin and yang of that can be complicated for many people until you become older or mentally reach a different stage of maturity. This not only means taking care of the self, but taking care of the mind and your work in everything that you do. A few tips:
- Dedicate entire days to business and other entire days to being creative
- Work out every day
- Go for walks
- Burn candles
- Surround yourself with beautiful things that make you feel better
- Do your work using Google for Business? Snooze your emails to another day and end every day with nothing in your inbox
- Use apps to keep yourself on task
- Use a calendar, preferably an app or an agenda
- Try new things
- Find one way to enrich your life every week or so
And most of all, treat people the way that you want to be treated. With good intentions will come good intentions back to you.