I like to think it’s all about the pictures. But it’s not. And it’s not all about the business, either. It’s all about you. You and those around you – that’s worth fighting for. But not the money, the fame, and all the pressures the modern world puts on us. Focus on being a better you, and everything else follows. It doesn’t work the other way around. Here are a few things to remember while you’re on the journey:
1. The art matters. Not because you need to make art, but because getting your opinion into the world is everything. It’s how you stand for you. It’s how you find you. And it’s going to be the thing that powers the business. So, no, you don’t need to turn everyone’s wedding into your personal fine art project. But, yes, create images that are personal. And if making it personal isn’t the crux of art, then I don’t know what is.
2. You have to love the business. The day to day. Not just the big dreams. The small stuff is going to lead to big things. Doing is so critical to it all, that if you don’t invest yourself deeply into the process, you won’t get where you want to go. Don’t just stare at the 5-year plan. Stare at the 5-day plan.
3. Trust the content. Make your photography content-based. Content-based photography means that it’s what’s in front of you that’s key. That interaction with the present is where the magic happens in the world. All magic exists in the present. The now is the moment in which the past unfolds and the future reveals itself. Dwell in it. Find it. Live it. Don’t make it about showing off a technique or your skill. Don’t make it about creating the money shot. Money shots suck, when they’re done for the purposes of being the money shot. These are the types of things that keep you out of the moment.
4. Keep it all in perspective. There are a lot of ways to go and a lot of things to do. It’s easy to get derailed. Don’t get down just because things get hard. Remember these two things. First, everyone has to do it their way in the end. How you figure it all out won’t necessarily be the same as how someone else does it. So you have to put in the time. Second, hard is part of good. No one is good without ever going through hard. Period. That’s just how the world works. Know that for some it’s short, for others it’s long, but it’s always there. And you need it. It makes you the person you are. And without that, nothing is worth anything. Hard is simply where the small things get worked out and the dots are connected. In fact, both of these are really just flip sides of the same coin.
5. Wishes are not dreams. Wishes are things we want without the work. Dreams are things that compel the work. That’s all the difference. Wishes, when granted, aren’t valued and understood like dreams. Dreams transform you into the person you want to be, or, better yet, into the person you never realized you could be. Wishes do not. It’s about the ride. Always. Always. Always.