Recently a close friend of mine posted some pictures she took at a local event in downtown Albuquerque onto her facebook and for the most part they were fairly decent photos. However as a photography enthusiast (Not a professional) there were a couple of nit picky critiques I had with many of them. For the most part the photos were all very low in contrast and some of them weren’t the best of compositions. To add to that I mentally went over what I would have done to make the photos better. However I refrained from commenting with my criticism mostly because this was her personal facebook and I didn’t want to come off as a cynical asshole that I know that I can be in certain situations with all our friends witnessing.
However I got really twitchy when she post “I should really start my own photography business.” So many things raced through my head of why that wouldn’t work out, (at least right now) with the main thing being the startup capital. She’s going into her Junior year of college and I know for a fact that she doesn’t have the money to afford the higher end equipment to run a successful photography business. (I’m aware it’s not the equipment that makes a good photographer, but to run a photography business successfully you need to have the means to handle and situation when they are thrown at you.)
Now there are a lot of things I could have said in this situation. I could have made my earlier criticism public in order to crush her dreams, but that would make me a terrible friend. I could have pointed out the difficulty of starting a photography business with the over saturation of photographers out there now. Instead I commented with “Yeah maybe in 5 years.” Now as backhanded as this may sound I was only trying to be rational.
The 5 years came from the idea of a 5 year plan where she could 1) learn the craft and get better at the finer details while at the same time build a portfolio of her best work. 2) Save up and invest in better equipment to be more versatile with what she can do with her photography and 3) Build a reputation with models and potential clients that will be vital in promoting her work.
Now her response to my comment about the 5 year plan resulted with her elaborating on and idea that it can be a student based thing where interested parties can donate and allow the students to make money on their photos. My problem with this is, who would donate into this? I honestly can’t for the life of me think of an individual or organization that would invest in a sort of business model that is so incredibly reliant on unproven talent alone. Not to mention this seems like something that photography classes are for. At the university that we both attended there are multiple classes that teach photography in certain fields. I myself am registered for a photojournalism class as in the fall. I’m hoping to take this class, learn more and find a way to use these skills and apply them to the work that I want to do.
I’m not saying that she shouldn’t go for it. She has the talent and I believe that she could develop into a top notch photographer. But that’s the thing, she needs to develop (I’m aware of how punny that statement is.) And I’m the same way. Whether it’s my writing, my photography or my video making I need to learn more about those fields and apply the skills I acquire over time before I get too starry eyed.
Maybe I’m being too much of a pessimist here and I should let her continue to dream big, but I’d like to think I’m being a realist here in saying “it’s great that you want to do this but work for it first then grab it when you’re ready. “