In the last three weeks, I’ve been the busiest I’ve ever been since taking up this interest in photography. Has it made me a lot of money? Sadly, no. But I’m still happy with the outcome. So what have I done?
I’ve given a featured talk on black and white photography to one of the premier camera clubs in the area. I’ve learned about drone photography and the pros and cons of including a “higher perspective” in my photographic output. I’ve designed and delivered a workshop on macro photography to another local camera club and learned an enormous amount about sharing skills with peers. Then, a basement studio photo shoot with friends to replicate a fine art image that I admire. Next, I’ve provided technical support to yet another camera club for their monthly meeting. And lastly, I’ve learned how to package and deliver multimedia content in an easy to operate format for an annual photo salon with 300 attendees.
Felt like a full time job. But it’s work I’ve chosen to take on, for groups I enjoy spending time with, and with outcomes that I had a hand in determining. How many of us can say that about our work?
There is a classic debate about earning money in photography and what work you should offer for free. I think that debate is pretty simple, actually. If it’s your art, never offer it for free unless you consciously donate it to a good cause. On the other hand, if it’s your time, consider how much time you have, what both the monetary and non-monetary benefits might be, and whether your time really does need to be spent elsewhere to earn money.
I’m a retiree, so the latter point is less important to me. More important are productive ways to use my time. I love being busy doing things I love.
Being called on and relied on to deliver quality work is also important to me. One too many photographers call themselves “award-winning” out of the gate, not letting their reputations or their work speak for themselves. The label rings hollow for me, and even causes me to bypass some online personalities because their egos seem to come first. I’m delighted that people look for me without my saying a thing.
More workshops have already been booked, more activities are already on the schedule. I look forward to seeing where this takes me. And if I earn more money along the way, that’s cool too.