It’s been a interesting three years in the world of freelance photography. I’ve shot in a variety of capacities, learned some of the "do"s and many of the "don't"s when it comes to running a business, and have met some really amazing people through it all. Looking back, there are definitely things I wish I could have done better, but I'm extremely thankful for what opportunities I've been given, what I've experienced, and what I've been able to build. It has taught me a lot about myself.
Photography is a truly special medium to me. It has the power to affect the way we look at everything and everyone. I’ve been able to dabble in a lot of different kinds photography: weddings, portraiture, music, street, photojournalism...you name it. There so many different avenues one can pursue. Though I would love to say I can do and deliver in all of them, I've learned very quickly that I can't. And being a freelance creative comes with some costs and sacrifices.
A lot of lessons I learned the hard way, from making sure you have a plan the day of the shoot, having a workflow, making sure I have personal projects along with client projects, always making sure I have all the right legal documents in order, etc. But I think the most important thing I've learned is the importance of specializing and sticking to what you’re good at and most passionate about. When you try to do everything, too much, or say "yes" to everything, it's harder to build expertise in a particular niche. The "A-jack-of-all-trades-is-a-master-of-none" principle definitely applies. You also burn out a lot more quickly!
There are certain types of photography that I excel in, particularly with street, travel, and photojournalistic types where I'm free to roam and engage...
...and more dynamic types where I capture the action as it's happening. Music photography falls in that vein. The lights, the sound, the motion, and the communication....it's a combination of everything I love in one niche! I discovered that music and live show photography is not only something I've come to love, but something that came very naturally.
All of that to say, my plan for 2018 is this:
*To stop pursuing client work in the categories of Weddings, Engagements, Family Portraits, and Senior Portraits as potential business for Aerial Jay Photography.
The types of photography I will continue to do and focus on are:
- Travel & Street Photography
- Music & Live Show Photography
- Individual Creative/Conceptual Portraiture & Head Shots
- Print Merchandising
I've had the tremendous blessing of being able to serve some of the best people on the planet and build a decent body of work in these categories. I just feel like I’m not as strong with them. I think my free-roaming personality makes it challenging for me to continue in these lines of work. But mostly, I believe there are better photographers out there more well suited for them. So, I will leave it to them.
Motivation for the Future
When I first started shooting, I was into the street scene. I loved to explore and shoot things that were here one moment and then gone the next. That passion led me to photojournalism, and I got to see how a photo could change the world - how we saw a person, an event, a happening, an idea.
I set out to explore this medium that was newly opened to me, not quite knowing where I was headed. I just knew that I wanted to take good photos, and I wanted those photos to speak beyond one glance. I wanted to tell the stories that would get left out or forgotten, bring light to a place that otherwise didn't have it, and help people gain understanding that they didn't otherwise have before.
Our world is broken. It's full of chaos due to wars, poverty, the abuse of power, and it is misrepresented every day. The truth is drowned out by artificiality and conspiracy. The whole of creation gets overlooked because we live in a world of constant diversion.
I want my work to be channeled in a way that allows me to focus on dealing with world issues, amplifying the voices of people unheard, and magnifying the beauty of world we live in. It may not be as “lucrative,” but I believe it’s necessary. We need more communicative photographers that are finding and promoting what is really happening in our world.
I believe that this is my place in the photographic world.
I do have clients and friends I've made from the last year that I have promised work and service to for the coming year, and will follow through on my word to them. I will also happily shoot for any of the clients and friends I’ve shot for in the past as a personal favor to them. I value the relationships I have with all the people I’ve been able to serve and will continue to stay in touch with them and cultivate those relationships.
I can't emphasize the undeserved privilege it has been to serve such wonderful people these last three years, all of whom have amazingly kind and patient with me as I’ve worked on developing myself and plugged through some busy and stressful times. They've allowed me to be a part of their lives, shared in their intimate moments, and given me the chance to tell their story. My hope is that I’ve been able to enrich their lives with what I do.
So this is the new direction. I believe that I’m making the right decision in this change and refocus as I continue to pursue the path that I’m called to in life. Thank you all again for your support of me these last few years! I couldn’t have made it this far without you all behind me giving me the and encouragement and affirmation in everything I do. YOU guys are the real reason all this has been possible! Love you guys!