So You Wanna Be a Photographer, Huh? Well, Prepare Yourself for the Haters.


On the advice of someone who I respect and care about, I am going to start writing a series of blog posts from time to time entitled “So You Wanna Be a Photographer, Huh?”  The person noted that I’m going into my second year of shooting and should share what I’ve learned…the good, the bad and the ugly of my experiences, most of which have nothing to do with photography at all and everything to do with making good choices so that you can pursue your life’s dream with the level of self-awareness that is so necessary to achieve some level of success and satisfaction.

At any rate, I spent a few days reflecting on the advice I received, after which I decided that this was a good idea, and would be fun.

So here’s the deal.  I plan on writing these posts when time permits and when I’m inspired to do so.  The posts will consist of straight talk – the type of real talk that I wished that I had heard before I plunged head first into the photography abyss.  My approach to this question is designed to put a more personal spin on things that you probably won’t find on other photography blogs.  It’s the type of real talk that I hope will make you think very hard before taking the plunge as I did.  I’m going to stay away from jargon and photography-speak and try to make these posts enjoyable for photographers and non-photographers alike.

Now that I’m thinking about it, I may invite some guest bloggers to opine on this question as well….different perspectives are always nice.

So I hope that you will continue to follow along on this part of my journey.  As always, thank you and peace and blessings.

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“So you call yourself a photographer…”  She said it with a snarl so vicious that dreams I didn’t know I had almost died at that very moment.  It shocked and disappointed me, because I really looked up to this person and respected her opinion.  Luckily for me, I don’t give up that easy, and I kept pushing forward.  Lesson #1:  Everyone should not be privy to your plans and dreams.

I’ve learned very early that when you step out on faith to pursue your life’s calling, haters will come out of the cracks like disease-ridden roaches.

There are usually two kinds of haters, I’ve observed. First, there are the watchful, passive aggressive haters.  These are the kind who will stand back and watch you. They don’t say anything encouraging or constructive, but they don’t say anything overtly negative either.  Either way, you get the sense that they are standing back, waiting for you to  fail, fall on your face or otherwise embarrass yourself so they can step up and say, “See, I knew it!  You should have stuck to (fill in the blanks.)…you’re good at that.”

The other kind of hater is the spear-chucking, poor impulse control kinda hater.  He/she will come out straight, no chaser, with their venom-spewing comments and nasty remarks that offer no value to what you’re trying to do whatsoever.  You will have no doubt in your mind that he or she is not digging what you’re trying to do.  I welcome this kind of hate, because at least I know where they are coming from and I can take steps to erase them from my reality.

What do these two kinds of people have in common?  Well, more than likely, these people aren’t pursuing their life purpose (or don’t even know what they’ve been put on this earth to do, for real).  They are stuck in jobs or personal situations that are oppressive and spirit-sucking.  Because they hate where they are in life, they will find ways to try to thwart your journey.  It’s a very powerful commentary on why it’s important to conquer our fears and just step out on faith and do what we are put on this planet to do and trust that the rest will take care of itself in due time.

Bottom line:   No one likes (or really needs) haters.  I have enough going on that I have to manage.  The photography business is competitive enough and I’m always second-guessing my skills and capabilities, because, frankly, there are like 20,000,000 photographers, a lot of whom are very talented and are all looking for the same big break (or a bunch of little breaks).

Anyone who has worked as a freelancer can relate to what I’m about to say.  When you don’t have the benefit of support/encouragement/constructive criticism of a team of colleagues as you would in a more traditional work situation, it all falls on you to make things happen.  The pressure makes you hyper-critical.  I find myself constantly assessing and re-assessing my skills, my approach, my relationships, the whole shot.  It’s akin to having a whole family of haters in your head who have taken up permanent residence, constantly second-guessing you and filling your head with doubt.

The point is this:  I don’t need any help from the likes of you, dear hater.  So if you are in a hateful kind of mood and have nothing constructive to offer, please go play in traffic.  Thank you and have a nice day.

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