I thought I was going to go a year between status updates... a year before reaching the big 1-0-0. A lot has happened in the last 10 months, and I don't just mean the multitude of times dA changed its interfaces to even update this journal to start with.
100 seemed to me like it should represent some kind of achievement. I haven't really had any that counted though. Not much unlike the multitude of times I've told myself I shouldn't even keep my dA account anymore, I've had many a conversation with myself to not keep trying behind the camera anymore either. Neither thought is very healthy. It's your pretty typical self-defeatist behavior, and lord knows I'm good at that.
I've had enough gigs in the last year to pay for new gear. I think I like the idea of just trying to break even on the expense of investing in this therapeutic hobby of mine. Given my every-day camera bag has grown in value to nearly 5k (eek, I just pulled a calculator out on that one to make sure I wasn't failing basic arithmetic ) it's a good thing to have a way to fund that. I dove back into my "supposed to pay the bills" day to day job, and magically after a few months I stopped getting inquiries. Hmm.. so getting photo jobs means swallowing your fear and putting yourself in front of people and asking for the work. Who'dda thunk it?
All gigs make me so nervous I sweat like mad. It doesn't take me long to look like I've walked through a 3 week long thunderstorm, which is kind of fitting since a) I feel like I have a giant thunderstorm of nerves brewing beneath my skin, and b) I swear, it's done nothing but rain for nearly a month here. I mean seriously. How am I supposed to keep my yard maintained in a monsoon? This is Illinois, damnit. But I digress, back to nerves.
It never fails, the more nervous I am, the better my photos seem to be. Not necessarily technically though. I forget the dumbest of settings when I'm nervous and wringing wet. I wonder if I can find a way to care so much about my work without letting it make me nervous. So far, knowing the subjects well doesn't help nor does not knowing them at all. Paid versus unpaid does seem to help though (a tiny bit). I can quantify charging people as though they're renting my equipment and getting me for free, but I still can't quantify value in things I produce. It's weird since I run a business and I should be pretty confident in that department by now, but anyways...
Back to achievement. I posted a casting call on Model Mayhem last week and not only have I already gotten several great responses, I also answered some other casting calls from other folks. I did a shoot for a local musician who just signed with his first label last Friday. I'm eagerly awaiting which photo they'll pick for their site. A few weeks ago I shot some candids during a Janis Ian concert (At Seventeen, Society's Child, first musical act on Saturday Night Live, Sci-Fi geek, whatever you want to identify with). A week later, Janis asked me to send her my images and she posted links to them on her facebook page, stating she hadn't gotten any that good shot during concert without any disruptions in years. Honestly, that still feels more surreal than anything. As long as the artists performing OK it, I now can go shoot at the venue whenever I like. Free concert tickets may not seem like huge compensation, but a method to make myself take time off is truly a huge thing.
Yesterday I met up with another ModelMayhem member, and I shot her last minute maternity photos. I thought people only had that glowy pink perfectly smoothed skin after a photoshop pro got a hold of them? I haven't heard from her today, so there's good chance she's working on her new delivery. We shot for a couple of hours with her husband and I am suffering from having too many keepers. I keep reading if you have more than 5-6 keeper shots during a shoot, then you're just not good enough to have great shots like real photographers do. Maybe it's true, but it never fails that my picks of shots aren't the ones my clients fall in love with so I'd rather give them the opportunity to choose. But this time, I really did get a great shot. And now I don't know what to do with it. I've never felt the fear of "I don't want my image to get stolen by posting it online" and I'm *really* not a watermark kind of girl. I want to share it for feedback (other than pointing out I really need to get wrinkle free backdrops so I don't have to edit out wrinkles), I want to show how pretty she is, I feel like a 6 year old bringing home her art project from school to her mommy.. LOOK WHAT I DID!!@#!
I don't know what I'll do with it yet, but I did order a print from the lab tonight and I'm hoping it looks as good in my hands as on my screen. Regardless, even with all this indecision and nervousness, I feel something new... achievement. It feels good