You Just Click a Button, Right?

February 28, 2019  •  Leave a Comment

I started my photography journey as a child. I learned to take photos on film, I've even developed photos on film! I've had cameras from Fisher Price to 110 to point and shoot to my professional DSLR. Plus iPhone! It's no secret just about everyone has a camera in their pocket these days, even kids! My daughter is 7 and she's already plotting to get her own phone when she turns 12 (she came up with that age, not me!) That's her pictured when she was 2. How accustomed we've gotten to just clicking a button and we can have a beautiful photo. When people approach me in public places and I have my camera, they ask me to take a photo for them and sheepishly say, "It's just a phone." and I chuckle and tell them, "Yes, I use one too!" In fact I have an entire Instagram account devoted to photos I've taken with my iPhone (@pawsburgh_onthego - check it out!) I love the convenience of having a small, usable camera in my pocket at all times. (Often it doesn't even make it into my pocket, it just stays in my hand!)

Photography for me started as a passion. I sold real estate for 10 years and then worked for another agent for 7. One day he just didn't need me anymore. Just like that, no warning, and I was out of a job. That's the day God started leading me on an entirely new journey, and he's confirmed for me every step of the way that this is where I'm meant to be. It's not been an easy journey, but it continues to be an amazing one.

First I realized it wasn't just about being able to take a photo, it was about being able to edit it as well. So I started learning how to improve my editing skills and learn new software. When you take a photo with your phone or any digital camera, the camera is doing the work for you. It decides how long the shutter should be open. It processes the file and decides how much to saturate the colors and how to present a usable end result. But in professional photography, I have the camera programmed to process nothing, and I do it myself to achieve the look that I want or that my client wants. This is not just the work of Photoshop, photographers have engaged this process with negatives for decades!

Next I realized I couldn't make it professionally with one consumer grade starter camera, the pop-up flash, and a "kit lens" (the lens that comes with said consumer grade starter camera.) So I upgraded my camera body and added on multiple lenses that can take photos in different ways. Then I realized having a business was much more than taking photos and someone giving me money to do it. Setting prices for my own business is quite difficult! Some people say it's not enough, or it's too much, and how do you know who's right? Well the answer is different for everyone. I may not be the photographer for you, or you may not be the client for me, but it doesn't hurt to ask. Having a legitimate business means I have to collect and pay taxes, I maintain business and equipment insurance, and I market and network myself in person and online. Finally, it's not even enough to have one off-camera flash, I'm buying a few more and learning how to bend and control light to suit each photo opportunity. Each new skill will improve how I deliver a fantastic final product to you.

Technology is evolving and phones are getting better and smarter at taking those photos for us. The easier it gets, the more people jump on the bandwagon and try to make easy money from it. But still, photography is a skill. Not everyone can take a great photo because they have a camera, just like not everyone can put a roof on a house even though they have a hammer and nails, and not everyone can bake even though they have an oven. My business is evolving too, and my skills are evolving, because I'm focused on evolving them. Photography can be easy and anyone can click a button, but behind the scenes there is so much more to it. Significant investments of energy, time, skill, the right tools, and money are all behind the final product and what it costs to get there.


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