Thoughts About Photography
I attended a professional photographer guild meeting this past week. It was so enlightening to meet other photographers who are so far ahead of me in terms of skill and business — and also daunting. Part of the meeting was a print competition that they hold each month. I looked at those images and was able to pick out which ones would win — they were so brilliant that even my untrained eye could see they had “It” — whatever “it” is in terms of creativity, design, color, theme, etc. While I was at this meeting I learned a new term: “Master Photographer.”
And the type-A, creative person that I am, I set my cap for it. I am not content to be “just a photographer.” I don’t even know that I really want a photography business — which is, I was told by several people at the meeting, only about 20% shooting and the rest is editing and paperwork. Ugh. I want to shoot artistic, brilliant photos that tell a story and bring God glory, not write budgets and business plans and marketing plans and sit for hours on photoshop straightening wrinkles and whitening people’s teeth. I barely have time to brush my own teeth in the morning. How will I fit in a photography business? I want to learn the principles of creative photography and then go out and take images that are breathtaking. I’m honest enough to say that I have not yet come even close to that level of skill that I saw at the guild…but I want to learn. I’m also coming to realize that a business isn’t really my aim. What I really want to be is an artist.
I look at the Proverbs 31 example of a virtuous woman. She had her own business and ran an efficient and loving household. I don’t see how I can get from there from here, especially on my own strength. Instead I see a house that desperately needs cleaning. The dishes and laundry always need to be done. The beds always need to be made (and rarely are). Bella sheds so much hair that it’s a wonder there’s still any left on her! My bathroom needs cleaning again (didn’t I just do that?), my kitchen drawers are still jumbled seven years after I purposed to organize them, my daughter’s Latin, Logic and Math are waiting to be graded and grades entered into the gradebook that I haven’t yet set up, dentist appointments need to be made, Bella needs to go back to the vet to be rechecked for her autoimmune disease, I need to read my photography textbook to prepare for tomorrow’s Photoshop Elements class, I need to load Photoshop on my desktop so I can practice, a herd of teens are coming over this afternoon for a study group and I haven’t yet cleaned up the living room that is invaded with dog hair, dog toys, dust, school books, magazines, junk mail, and who knows what else, I need to get dinner in the oven NOW so it will cook slowly all day and be ready to eat by 5, but I am sitting here at the skating rink fretting about all the things I need to do right now but am instead writing this ridiculously long sentence. Phew.
So what kind of crazy makes me think I could have a photography business? And even crazier…
…there’s another part of me that wants to go back to school, for real. If I want to be a “master photographer,” then wouldn’t it be good for me to go back and get a second degree? I haven’t looked into it beyond just dreaming about it…and I am so overwhelmed with homeschooling and keeping our lives organized right now that the thought of REALLY going back to school makes me want to shoot myself in the foot. What was I thinking? Nevermind.
The Truth About Photoshop
Hello. I’m back, after spending two hours working on Photoshop homework for tomorrow’s class. On a laptop that is painfully slow, using a touchpad that makes my finger and wrist pain flare up. Can I tell you how much I love Photoshop? I love it so much that I literally feel a coil of unpleasant irritation, frustration, and rage writhing around inside my skin. My back, neck and shoulders ache from the strain of trying to read directions, do the work, and figure out how to edit my own photos instead of the sample ones that came with the book that actually didn’t come with the book because I got an ebook instead of a real one. Every step described in the ebook references the sample photos that I don’t have. Even WRITING about it is making me annoyed. It’s time to go fold some socks. I know how to do that. No instruction manual is required.
Goodbye, Photoshop. Until tomorrow when I grit my teeth and go to class. I’m really not sure I’m cut out for this. Maybe my brain is too old.
Somebody tell me it gets better!