I see many photographers change the way they respond to their clients to a first person, because it’s “only them” doing all the shooting, editing, organising. “I’ll get back to you”, “I’ll send those files today”.. I haven’t got an assistant. I’d love one, but working with me would be one of those jobs people mention in their suicide notes as a trigger that made them end their life. I am not a people’s person, I love working alone, but I run a “WE” kinda business. Here’s why.
Two years ago out of the blue, whilst drinking wine with my girlfriends in a swanky hotel lobby, making the most of a brief moment our then toddlers had a little nap, I declared I am going to be a photographer. I had no gear, no idea about the photography business and zero knowledge of Photoshop. I had no money to buy any gear either, but this wasn’t even a blip on the radar of my worries, as at that stage I had also no idea how much the said gear cost. I had a plan. The plan was to have a career around my family life.
I announced this to my husband upon arriving back home: “I am going to be a photographer!” He said “ok, what do we need to do to get there?”
Don’t get me wrong. There are moments when I want to smack him on the head with a ceramic pan. No relationship is perfect. The main thing, however, that I find are the basis for a semi-perfect relationship are trust and support. I am lucky to be on the receiving end of both.
Don’t confuse this with being showered with money. His wallet doesn’t open when he gets a whiff of my pheromones. He does something much more important: listens to my plans and supports me in making them happen.
In the first year in business I made zero profit. All my money went back into business, paying for props and training courses. I paid nothing towards our household, with an exception of dressing our daughter. I was building the little Ltd from the ground up and putting the fundaments for what we currently have.
My husband works full time, running a successful marketing company, yet whenever I had a shoot / training day / model call, he put his business on a back burner to support me on a mission which may or may not have had a chance of working out. Photography is only a step away from being an artist painting stuff, and artists die hungry. How could this even be a consideration? I never met anyone making a killing, who had “photographer” on their business card. Yet he trusted my vision.
There are boys and there are men. Sometimes we may marry a boy that turns into a man. Sometimes we marry a man. Sometimes the boy never grows up, so how do we know we are with a man? He has the confidence to build you up. He doesn’t want you to walk two steps behind him, but to be his partner, walking together, standing tall. He helps you fulfil your dreams and succeed in your chosen career, should you wish to work. He supports you, should you wish to stay home and raise a family full time, if your finances allow it.
There are many women staying in a relationship, because they can not support themselves and their kids financially on their own. Help your woman feel confident in herself, so that she can build herself up to the point the only reason she’s staying with you is because she loves you and not because she has to for the sake of your children’s financial security.
There was a time in our life when I put my career on a shelf to support my husband’s world domination plans but it was never with an intent he would do the same for me. He did.
Photography is hard. It’s a satisfying hobby that may or may not pay. It’s a never ending learning curve, it’s late night editing, and hours of online tutorials. It’s constantly questioning yourself. It’s good and bad months, and weeks without a single booking, which make you question your sanity. It’s learning to be good at your craft, improving your people skills, sales skills, editing, shooting, marketing yourself. It’s never ending, and requires you to believe in yourself when you add to nothing on a spreadsheet. When after costs you end up earning less than a checkout girl. You can do it on your own, but it’s impossibly hard. It’s hard because of the amount of things you need to push forward all at once, but it’s harder in those moments, when you have a minute to stop and stare and realise there are better people out there and they also struggle so what’s the hope for you. In those moments you need that person who will tell you “you are going to be ok. You made it happen before, you will make it happen again.”
My success story is my husband’s success story, because thanks to him, I made it happen. It’s a “we business”, because I would not be where I am without him x
Happy father’s day, Shane x