My Photography Interest was Born while I was young-
When I was in Junior High School one of the teachers who was on lunch duty one day talked to me about his Roloflex and the weddings he was shooting on the side. He described the large negative made by the Roloflex for clear enlargements. A seed was planted. I'd never held anything more than a point and shoot in my hands and I wish I could say I actually held his Roloflex in my hands, but I did not. Talking about it was enough to pique my interest.
When the time came at the end of Junior High to choose classes for High School I signed up for Photography. My father had always had some latent interest and he got right behind me. He purchased a Pentax P3 and a 50mm lens for me to use and later a decent 80-200mm.
Thank you Dad.
Sadly, much of what I learned over the next three years wasn't about actually shooting. We loaded film in dark bags and worked on dark room techniques, we made a pin hole camera and we learned to appreciate dead photographers.
As I planned for the future I always believed photography would be part of it.
Adult Life Started and Photography Fell by the Wayside-
After high school I married and we started our family. I assumed I'd continue the hobby and photograph my family as they grew. But, the skills that I needed were just not there yet, and buying film and paying for processing sifted lower and lower on the priority list. I made sure I put a roll of film through the camera to document big events and births. But, my photography had a very utility back burner feel to it.
And then the chicks began to leave the nest, it was time for a DSLR-
During the years while we had all 7 children under one roof hobbies were about fulfilling my need to be creative while providing for the needs of my family. I sewed, I baked, I dabbled. Anything that caught my interest became a hobby. Later, I blogged about my adventures.
And then it happened. I developed a wheat allergy, a serious one and I had to give up baking and then eating wheat. I was crushed. I adore the feeling of dough in my hands, but the eggs left rashes on my hands and arms and the wheat made me wheeze and break out in hives. And then came the dysphagia.
To compound things two of my children left the nest in the same year. I was floundering. What was I to do with myself where would I channel my passion now. My husband had known of my desire to buy my first DSLR and he decided this was the time.
At times my complete obsession with photography became a frustration to my family members. A simple walk could turn into a moment where I was suddenly gone and taking a picture of what had caught my eye.
Opportunities to Work Presented Themselves-
If you have a family chances are you'd like pictures of that family. And unless your pockets are deep you might look for someone who'd be happy to shoot for less. I'd pointed my camera at everyone who did not run away for a couple of years now and I was hoping to buy more gear. So, I made the jump and shot families and later some weddings. (I made sure people knew I am not a professional and was willing to shoot for less since I do not have a degree or professional gear. Charging accordingly is not the case for some of competition. And then we have the dear group who charges 20.00 but, that is another post.)
Over time I realized my hopes from junior high school had changed. The market was saturated leaving the amount my experience level would pay very lean. I no longer wanted to be a wedding photographer when I grew up.
I love dealing with a happy wedding party. I love taking pictures. But, the expenses (there are surprisingly many, equipment rentals and purchases, Photoshop, travel expenses, untold days of editing while not getting paid for the time) and stress of getting it right on someone's big day coupled with hours of editing after the fact squashed my enjoyment.
This sounds like Good Bye, but it isn't-
I am not saying good bye. But, I am beginning another chapter with photography. My focus is no longer courting a new camera body and recently I passed up a sweet deal on a "must have" lens for wedding photography so that I would not have to rent in the future. For now I will will stick with my 50mm lens for portraits and the body and kit that I am working with and rekindle the reasons that I started this process.
I used to dream at night that I was looking through the eye piece of my camera-Somewhere along the way when my focus shifted my enthusiasm became watered down. I used to literally dream that I was looking through the view finder. I felt so much joy and enthusiasm that I dreamed through my lens. My job now is to awaken my passion for photography again and reinvent myself as a hobbyist. My job is to step back from the belief that I have to spend all of my money on gear. My job is to kindle the spark that I can still feel deep inside and enjoy the creative outlet again. I need to take back my hobby. I need to plan projects. Continue to read and study and tap into the parts of photography that make me stay. I'm not saying I will not shoot for friends and family on occasion, but my long term goals are different now. I don't want my hobby to become my job.
Are you looking to find your passion again as you shoot for hire or are you looking to take back your hobby? I'd love to hear from you in the comments.