As a photographer, you see the excitement of photographing professional sports, meeting celebrities, working at places like the White House & the Pentagon. You get to spend the day with brides and grooms and happy people. You get to photograph wild & crazy parties. You get to stalk wild animals to get that one elusive photo. There are a lot of pros to being a photographer! The biggest pro – it’s just fun.
A few of the cons… Simple – everyone is a photographer. A high school student goes out and their parents buy them a $200 camera and they are a pro. A college student takes a class and suddenly they are an artist with the camera. So yes, lots of competition – real and fake. Another con, cost! WOW and WOW, people have no clue. My primary camera body is $5k, my back up is $3k, each lens is anywhere from $2k to $6k. Then there are the lights, editing software, insurance, business expenses, advertising…ugh.
Finally, there is the HARDEST part of being a photographer. Is it a pro or a con? I don’t rightly know; it might be something you have to decide for yourself. Your job, if you photograph people like me, is to catch moments in life! The happiest moment of someone getting married, a moment of slam dunking a basketball in the NBA, the second a cadet is on stage and receives his diploma from West Point Military Academy. Catching those moments in life means one very real thing – people are going to be calling you when that person is no longer among the living.
EVERY YEAR, for the last 10 years, I have volunteered my time with a charity called “The Miracle Party” (http://www.miracleparty.org/), it’s one night in the year where kids with cancer can come and forget the hospitals and the test and the treatments. It’s amazing – we set up games, bouncy castles, stages, lights, concerts, we have horses, carriages, fire trucks, acrobats, the Army brings Humvees, it’s a huge production… And then the kids arrive and it’s magical!
I cannot even begin to describe the joy in my heart when I photograph those huge smiles and wide eyes. To watch kids that live in a hospital get to play in a bouncy castle or ride a horse for the first time. To watch the soldiers and first responders show them around their equipment. I get photos of artist singing with the kids, bakeries handing out cupcakes, it’s INCREDIBLE.
And EVERY YEAR, I get a phone call. One of the children has become an angel and they need photos. So I start going through the parties, year after previous years, looking for that dress or that shirt in any photo. Tears welling up in my eyes every time I transfer one to dropbox.
Last week, I had a mother call, I had done senior photos of her daughter. This girl was such a bright light, amazing smile, and incredible pictures. She was killed a few weeks ago texting and driving. The mother needed another set of photos.
This wasn’t the first time, it won’t be the last…but it is the HARDEST time.