When I lost my job I wasn't sad like most people today, the process was actually pretty easy. It was something I always said I would do at some point anyway, so I felt that this was the world telling me that photography was my calling and when I walked from that office building to the parking garage I felt like someone had took the chains off me.
Fast forward 6 months later and I really haven't done much, to be honest, I think my notoriety as a photographer has declined, I've lost my social media presence due to my declining lifestyle, and when people see me in public it's like as if they thought I went missing or something.
It really made me think, has the process I've been taking as an unemployed aspiring photographer been the proper one... To answer that, No. I've become complacent, I've been living as if everything was okay, I can't tell you why, but I have been. The emergency fund that I set up, it's quickly disappearing, so I'm going into survival mode, something I've should have done when I first got the word that I would no longer be working.
Photographers Survival Guide
- Designating a Proper Work Schedule
One of my biggest mistakes over this large period of time has been not setting up a proper work schedule. After all, photography is my job, it's my 9 to 5 and it should be treated as such. If I'm not shooting, I need to be treating this as if it was an hourly position. Wake up everyday early, eat, shower get dressed and start my day. I'm the type of person where I work best when not at home, so I head to a Starbucks or local coffee shop (support the locals) depending on where I'm at. At noon, give yourself an hour break, and then get back to it. At 5 once your day is over, you'll feel accomplished and even though you didn't shoot a gig, you got some work done that was equally as important on the back end.
- Build Relationships
The best thing about doing work from a coffee shop is that you'll likely build a relationship with the baristas as well, you never know who they know or who they may encounter. After all coffee is one of the most universal morning boosters out there. The reason I choose Starbucks is because, well for one it's close, but because it is also one of the only places where there isn't classism. The rich, the poor, all buy from Starbucks and you're just a referral away from someone who mentions that wedding to the barista, if you're lucky you'll be sitting there while she hyping you up. I actually saw this scene acted out in the movie Unfinished Business, I won't spoil it for those who have yet to see it, but if you did, you know what I mean.
- Blog More
One of the main attractions to my website is the blog itself, when I'm not shooting I need to be posting useful content for new photographers, clients and Detroiters. My journal is about motivation, I want to inspire people, rather it be to pick up a camera, or book me as their photographer, I think my blog shows dedication, passion and a true inside look into my life, which is important to the client.
What I ultimately want to do is have a consistent segment, every week I do Places & Spaces, and every 30 days I'll be updating my 365 Project, but I want to go further than that, I want to do a podcast, or a weekly education post, once I get it all figured out I'll post my weekly routine below.
- Less Is More
I've been focusing on using the gear I have, I admit at some point I'll need to invest in a backup body, but other than that I promised myself I wouldn't buy anything else until 2016. This will be hard, as I may need gear to successfully complete a task, but if I'm being paid for the gig I'll just factor in the rental cost when I quote the client. The gear that I have now is suitable for any "professional" so I shouldn't have a problem holding off the GAS.
- Stay Healthy
Staying healthy is extremely important, it's also one of the things I have to work on the hardest. I don't eat terrible, but every night isn't kale and salmon either. I've been focusing on cutting out beef, and pork, and trying to eat leaner meats, like turkey and grilled chicken. It's a struggle, but I'm taking it one step at a time.
This also means eating out less, or not at all, at the moment, I just can't afford it. The price of dinner for 2 is literally enough for a week's groceries, I understand that in life you need to reward yourself, but we have to do so when our finances allow us to do so.
Exercising is also an important factor, other than me lengthy photography walks I pretty much just sat at my desk each day, so moving forward I'll be trying to incorporate at least 30 minutes of exercise into my daily schedule. This will be after hours, and I'll update with my workout routine once it becomes consistent.