Super Models, Celebrities, and Priorities, designing your photography career around your life
When planning your photography career, and make no mistake, it is important to really PLAN your career, be sure you have your priorities worked out first. Is your priority to live a satisfying and meaningful life, to make lots of money, to become famous, to hobnob with super models and celebrities ( I once turned down a job to shoot the Rolling Stones because the shoot had to start after 1:00A.M. and I am NOT a night person)? Whatever you want your life to be, you are much more likely to achieve it if you plan for it. A plan does not mean a ball and chain either. You can change your plan whenever you like! But the point I really want to emphasize here, is that clarity in what you really want is essential.
Happiness and Money
The older I get the more I realize that my happiness isn’t totally tied to how much money I earn. Of course there is a monetary threshold that really does contribute to my happiness, but once I reach that amount there are so many other things that are more important. I won’t go into them all here…they actually sound a bit trite when I write them down.
Stock Photos, Profit, and Service
I made the choice many years ago to pursue stock photography and to let the assignment world go. I didn’t like the pressure…and I didn’t like shooting what I didn’t want to shoot. It has worked out well for me so far, though you never know and I might have to dip that toe back into the assignment world. But with my stock photo career I am able to use my photography to enhance my life. I figure out fun things to do and shoot, and then figure out a way to make those fun things turn a profit via stock photography. Lately, though, that hasn’t felt like enough. I am now adding a new element: service. I want to help others with and through my photography.
Stock Photos and Contribution
The Compassionate Eye is a organization founded by photographer Robert Kent in which photographers contribute via their stock photos. Robert has set it up so that Getty takes the images and gives the photographer’s share of the royalties to The Compassionate Eye. The Compassionate Eye has an interesting tactic of having everyone devote a Summer Solstice shoot to the cause. It is great fun for a good cause. They in turn use the stock revenue to build schools for 3rd world kids. They work with the parents to build the schools, as it has been determined that the greater the community involvement, the more long-term success is realized. It has been, and will continue to be, a great experience. The next step for me is to make service even more personal, a personal project that improves the lives of others. I am working on a solution for that…stay tuned!
A Career, and a Worthwhile Life
Getting back to my point, as you plan your career be sure and pay close attention to what makes life worthwhile for you, and how your career can work towards that, towards a truly satisfying, rich and meaningful life. Things to consider are where you really want to live, what do you really enjoy shooting, what kind of community you want to be part of, and how you can make room for both a photo career and the friends and family that grow increasingly important as we grow older. Don’t get me wrong, money is important. I do not miss those days of trying to decide which bills I could pay and which I would have to put off. And I cherish the ability to decide on the spur of the moment to take a trip, and not have such decisions weigh on me financially. What I want to remind you here is, just don’t forget the really important things!
About the author
John Lund has been shooting professionally for over 30 years. John was an early adopter of Photoshop, first using version 1.0 in 1990. He began using digital capture in 1994. John has been active in the stock photography world as a founding member of BLEND IMAGES, and long time contributor to Getty Images, Corbis, and, more recently SuperStock.
John has lectured on digital imaging and stock photography, has been a columnist for PICTURE and DIGITAL IMAGING magazines, and written ADOBE MASTER CLASS, PHOTOSHOP COMPOSITING WITH JOHN LUND. John has been a frequent speaker at Photo Plus and other venues and has taught workshops at Palm Beach Workshops and Santa Fe Workshops. His work can be seen at www.johnlund.com.