The pandemic has knocked the wind out of many photographers around the globe. What shall we do with our photography businesses and hobbies, now that we are living in a post COVID-19 world? Here are three suggested post COVID-19 photography goals that I am focusing on.
Step it up
The first of my 3 post COVID-19 photography goals is to ‘step it up’. What I mean is when you find yourself in a position to work outside of your home, be it in an actual studio or renting space for shooting periodically, there is a new level of respect that comes with the new territory. Sustaining a respectable reputation is the utmost importance, above your talents, above the money you make, and the space you work in should be consistent with the image you want to project for your business. Above ALL ELSE, you are developing a persona for yourself based on how much you value your clients, and how much you communicate that to them directly. Of course your creativity is important.. however it isn’t the most important thing. When you reach the point where you are thankful to create anything at all, you’re on the right track. This is a little different than the perspective I had a few years back, and I ha’ve since reprimanded my own thinking, haha.
When the priority becomes “working hard” as opposed to “being successful”, things start to fall into place. Getting rid of any setbacks is the only way to reach this point. Use auto text responders, work where you feel most inspired, make your favourite hot Holiday beverage, close your browser, be in a healthy environment, get organized, and go for it! You can do it. If you find yourself complaining about editing, it is time to make some adjustments. Evaluate how much time you actually spend editing versus how much time you spend shooting. Ask yourself:
How much time CAN you spend working each day? Most work at least 8 – 10.
Do you enjoy editing?
How much time do you spend editing one session?
Are there ways to speed up this process?
What distracts you while you are working?
Are you busy enough to consider hiring/training a part time editor or taking on an internship?
“Passion” is a word that I favour greatly, and a feeling that I cling to. It is how I know whether or not something I do is right for me, or wrong for me.
“Abandon your freedom, give up the right to find your true self, forsake your own reasons” – Jonas Renkse
Realize how much you have to be thankful for, just to have the opportunities you have as an artist of any kind. You could be living in a warzone where the last thing you’d ever consider was what your next piece would be. You are lucky to be able to create. When you give up all of your superficial reasons for being an artist and look out beyond your own desires, you will find realistic goals laid out across the horizon.
How many times have you said “photography is my passion.” – I’ve probably said it as many as you, along with thousands of others. However I recently discovered that I need to rephrase that statement. Why? Because I don’t own photography. I can love it more than I love anything else however it isn’t MINE to keep forever. That mentality was closing me off. Holding me back. Making me do things like compare and/or mentally compete – and at one point I even resented that there is a constant stream of “new” photographers.
However, photography is theirs, too. Cameras sell by the thousands and are used by the thousands daily. Don’t waste your time feeling like your own work is something to be desired. Don’t consider it YOUR passion, instead, be passionate.
“I am passionate about photography.”
And from here… you will blossom…..
“I am passionate.”
This is where you want to arrive. Passion is a nice ‘signal’, it can become that “something” you can rely on; if you aren’t exuding passion when you do something, your human pride has gotten in the way. Practice being passionate the next time you do laundry. Be passionate. Think about how warm you will feel and how clean you will smell when you put on your freshly laundered hoodie. When you’re folding or ironing, do it with love. When I iron for Kyler (my 9 year old), I think about the favour it is doing him. I think about how he will look back and remember that I cared enough to slave over the wrinkles in his jeans (okay maybe not SLAVE, however hopefully he remembers it that way, hehee).
It is difficult not to let the things we love define us. However imagine yourself stripped down naked and living in the woods without food. What is important then is survival. The things we love aren’t necessarily the things we need. Admittedly, I would feel quite lost not being able to document things with my camera. I need to work on thinking photography is something that I need. It isn’t who I am. I don’t need it, however you bet your ass I’m thankful for every frame I shoot. I love it, and I’m grateful I have the means to do it. I will work hard to keep it.
And if I was starving in the woods, to be able to photograph again might give me one more reason to survive (aside from the obvious reasons). As for everything you love, every band you obsess over, every television show or movie you can’t live without, every new pair of heels you get (*cough*) – remember…. these things don’t define you because you are surrounded by them, however they allow you to experience emotions that you might otherwise not feel. That’s why you love them and surround yourself with them.
Post COVID-19 photography goals
In closing, here’s three areas to focus on, post COVID-19. Set goals. Determine how to achieve them. Then go for it. Be passionate. If you fail, try something else. The important thing is, you’re focused, you’re working hard, and you can clearly see there is always room for improvement.