A few months ago I quit my day job. It wasn't a high paying job but it was something I had been doing for a long time and took seriously. I always referred to myself as "a photographer with a day job." But there comes a certain point in time where you can't refer to your "day job" as such. The day job had become just... my job. A few months before quitting I had gotten a couple photography gigs that paid more in a single day's work than an entire week at my job and I thought "man, I only need to work like 4 times a month to match my month's pay..."
So I started making moves to quit my job and do photography full time. I checked over my gear to make sure it was all clean and working properly. With the help of my brothers I got this very website up and running and set up a professional sounding email address for all of my photography correspondence. I rearranged my room in a way to be more office-like, knowing I'd be at the computer more either hustling for more work or editing for hours. I sent emails to everyone I had worked with in the past announcing I'd be available more often. Then I put in my one months notice at my job. While they were upset I was leaving, they were proud of me for making the move. I told my friends and family and they were all supportive and excited for my future. I was excited too, but terrified. I had never quit a job before. I had never even been fired. Every job I had I got laid off from because business was slowing or was being sold. I'm a model employee! I had tried freelance in the mid 2000s but I ended up settling for a day job because I was too stressed out. What have I done? I'm throwing myself back in to that same fire I had crawled out of in 2006.
But on my final day of work I was excited. The fear had subsided and I was ready to open a new door. I began hustling for work immediately. It wasn't until the first day of "unemployment" when it hit me. Where do photographers find work? It's been a few months and I still can't answer that question. I have learned that there's no one source for finding work. You have to email, call, refresh websites, do whatever you can, and eventually you will see something that sounds interesting and will actually pay you. Oh, that's the other thing. A lot of people think photography is easy and you don't deserve to get paid. "No editing is necessary!" But that's not how that sentence should go. "No, editing is necessary" I say. I don't know about you, but capturing an image is only half the process. I don't like sending out unedited pictures. It's like a chef sending out a meal that has been prepared, spiced, sliced, but never actually cooked. Editing is the cooking part for me. But I digress - finding work is easily the hardest part of freelance and I still don't know how I've gotten half the jobs I've done. They just sorta happen.
Becoming a freelance artist is easily the most challenging and stressful things I've done to myself. I worry about where money is coming from all the time. How am I going to pay rent? Is my phone bill late? Does my dog have food? Do I have food? Luckily, my brothers carry my torch for me and pick me up when I'm falling down with words of encouragement. They're artists too and I see their work daily online. Their spirit is an inspiration, I am forever grateful for them. My friends here in NYC cheer me on passionately, often jealous of my freedom. If only they could see my bank account!
So, what have I done? I'm taking the road less traveled. I've got a compass and a map but I don't need 'em. I'm going to make my own road instead and see where it leads.
This is my first entry to my (hopefully) daily blog where I share my thoughts as a freelance photographer. I plan on examining my own photographs, explaining the scenarios in which they were taken, how I took them, what sort of post processing I did, and what I would do differently if I could go back and retake the same image. I might even talk about board games every now and then when I need a break from photography.