Okay, it's time for a real talk. There's not going to be any pretty pictures attached to this post, no details of a wonderful shoot I did recently, it's just me and my thoughts. Here we go...
I've been doing photography professionally for just over three years now, in the past year I really grew a lot and pushed myself to do things I hadn't. I decided to go all in on weddings and turn myself into primarily a wedding photographer and so far it's been going great. I have a bunch booked, I'm getting a fair amount of inquiries and I know what to do to keep that going. So why do I feel so empty inside?
Maybe that's not the right word. Don't get me wrong I love what I've been shooting, and so do the people I've been shooting for. That right there is the problem I think, that little innocuous phrase that has been at the root of my thoughts recently. "The people I've been shooting for"
At some point in the past year I became obsessed with shooting for clients, to the detriment of my creative soul. Hopefully that doesn't sound ridiculously pretentious but I've discovered recently that I am in fact, an artist.
You can't tell from reading this post, but I actually just deleted and edited that last sentence about ten times. It was incredibly difficult to write those words: I am an artist. But I am. I have a gift, an eye, whatever you want to call it. I can have a vision in my head, an idea for something and I can go out with my camera and achieve that. I know how light works, I've studied it's nuances and I've learned to make it work for me.
Anyway to get back on track, this past year I was shooting maybe 90-95% for clients and almost none for myself or my creative self. But I don't mean to sound ungrateful, I have loved every shoot I've done. Believe me when I say, if I agree to shoot with you I'm doing it because I want to, not just to take your money. I want to tell your story and leave you with images that will last a lifetime.
But shooting for a client is very different to shooting for yourself. I have ideas and concepts and themes in my head but I haven't been able to get them out because you can't experiment when people are paying you, you have to deliver and to do that you can't take risks.
I attended a Photography conference in Bellingham this past weekend called PhotoLush and it was amazing. From meeting a ton of new and likeminded creatives to inspiring speeches to hands on workshops it was just incredibly rejuvenating. It was like I had pulled into a gas station and filled up my tank, I left last night with the biggest smile on my face and my mind going a mile a minute with ideas. Will most of these ideas come to fruition? No. Will most of the ones that do come to fruition fail? Odds says they will. Am I okay with that now? I absolutely am. There is no success without failure, Tiffany Burke taught me that.
So, the point of this post. Honestly I don't think there is one. I'm sitting at a coffee shop in White Rock, B.C. about to attend a birthday party for a friends dog who is turning 10 and I just wanted to put these thoughts down somewhere.
2017 is shaping up to be a great year for Jamie Buckley Photography. I'm taking all I learned in 2016 and I'm moulding it into a balance board of client/personal that can allow me to flourish as a business but also feed my creative soul. These two need to go hand in hand for me to give you, my client, the best experience possible. But I also need to use my gift to give back to my community and beyond. I have some plans in the pipework for that so check back here soon.
I need to head to a pet store now to get a gift for Zephyr but thank you if you made it to the end of this post. Thank you for allowing me to bare my soul to you, it was incredibly difficult but I learned recently that I need to be my authentic self in my business and I need to put more of me in my business and this is the first step to that.
My name is Jamie Buckley, and I am an artist.