Over the years we learn new things and as we do we grow. We are constantly adjusting to new situations, locations, and people. Some things we learn over time, small lessons building up to result in the understanding of the final concept. While other things we learn almost instantly.
When I began photography I hardly knew anything. All I had was a camera and a desire to create. As the years moved on I began to learn things that are essential in pursuing a career in photography.
I continually searched for classes and blogs to help me gain experience, but there is nothing like having real life experiences to teach you. Through real life experiences we retain the lessons longer as opposed to those which are learned in a book. This past year I’ve had the opportunity to learn many lessons and I would like to share them with you.
Everything started in the spring of 2017 when I applied for a group gallery exhibition. This was taking a huge step for me in my photography. I had wanted to submit to a gallery for some time, but I knew nothing of what went into having an exhibition. I had serious doubts if my work would get selected to be part of the show. When I learned that I was one of the few with three photos selected I couldn’t control my excitement.
When it comes to something you have not done before, it can never hurt to try. Throw yourself through every open door, you never know where you’ll end up. Be scared and do it anyway.
After being accepted I realized that that was just the beginning of a very long (and quite stressful) process. My first task was to get the images printed. I thought I was well prepared in this area and had researched a printer right in my town.
At first the owner was extremely helpful, but the more I worked with them the more I noticed things. Such as unanswered emails, missed calls, forgotten texts. The more I began to know them the more I realized the owner showed no interest in assisting me. I gave the store multiple chances to help me, but they never responded. I was unable to trust them in handling my business and was forced to look somewhere else for assistance.
Artists cannot afford to have a companies bad business skills reflect upon their own. If I had stayed with that printer I know my images would always have been printed late, reflecting badly on me and frustrating my customers.
Avoid someone’s bad business skills like the plague. No matter how close by, easy, and cheap the company seems. When you do business with someone there should be a mutual respect on both sides if it is to work long term.
Without a printer and the deadline quickly approaching I started to get terribly stressed. I contacted every printer between my home and Washington, D.C. and prayed one would contact me.
One of the reasons I was having difficulties in finding a printer was finding one willing to print with the paper I had selected specifically to use for my images.
No, after no, after no rolled into my inbox and I began to wonder if I was meant to be in the Orlando show. But then I got an email back from one and the ball started rolling again. A few emails and a phone call later I found myself in a car heading towards D.C. to visit Adamson Editions.
Nerves ran rampant in my stomach and I was shaking all over by the time we got to the studio. But upon entering I looked around in amazement.
The shop, I later found out, was built in an old stable and the owner, David Adamson, is a native to England. Before I even saw my proofs I knew who I wanted to print my images.
Lying on their giant tables in the middle of the room was my image, printed and waiting for me. It couldn’t have been more perfect, everything about the experience was completely amazing. I worked directly with David on testing the prints and was walked through every step of the process. Two hours after I walked through the doors, I stepped out of them with the final product in hand and as happy as a jay bird.
I had found my printer!
I may have to drive further and pay a little extra, but I found a company that respects my work and my business, one I can respect and admire as well. This is something that means the world to me.
A little while later I went back to D.C. And had the other two images printed. Getting them home and laid out to sign made everything so official. Having only seen the images on computer screens I was amazed at how beautiful they looked lying there in front of me. It was all so surreal and magical.
Fortunately, I was able to find a framer locally and soon after having all the images printed I entrusted them to their care. It took roughly two weeks for my three images to be framed in a UV protected fiberglass. During this time I could hardly relax, I’m not sure if I’ve ever been that anxious in my life.
When there is a deadline in your life, I would strongly encourage you to get everything done as soon as possible. Spare yourself some of the extra stress and worry. “Don’t put off till tomorrow what you can do today.”
The days passed slowly, but the final moment came and it was beautiful. I was presented with the finished product and I fell in love. I honestly never thought this moment would come. I never thought I would see my images how they were created to be seen, printed, framed, and ready to hang on a wall. Everything about my career became so real.
Shortly after shipping them to Florida I got another surprise, one that came completely out of left field. I received an email from David, my printer, with the news that he found someone interested in buying one of my prints! I could hardly believe my ears, not only would my work be in a gallery, but a piece would sell. It would go to someone else and live with them, breathing in that space.
I became a professional photographer in that moment. My hobby became a career and it all reached a new level of reality. My dreams were finally coming true, everything was falling into place all because I did something I was scared to do.
Never allow fear to dictate your life. You must take charge of your life and how your careers and hobbies grow. Do something that will push you into the future you want to live. By taking a chance I furthered my business in leaps and bounds, more than I could have ever imagined. Always try. It can never hurt to try, but it can certainly hurt not to.
Try and try and when you think you can’t any more try again.
The more you try the more you will succeed.