Philip Edsel is a photographer who's working I've been admiring for some time and if you follow him on Instagram you'll notice that every morning he publishes what he refers to as morning thoughts. On this particular day the quote below resonated with my tremendously because it's something I took it upon myself to do to cut down the digital noise that easily becomes overwhelming because we often fail to create boundaries around what we really care to pay attention to:
...just because I follow someone for their work, doesn't mean I need to follow their day-to-day experience. Meaning, I waste so much watching Stories I have zero affiliation with...because of that, I went through and muted a lot of Instagram Stories.
Regardless of how much time may elapse in between, Iman and I always managed to reconvene again at some point and play around a bit in the studio with some beautiful shadows and light.
Shawn Blanc on a reflection he recently had during a moment in which he got annoyed at his "boys for leaving their toys out and forgetting to clean up before bed" -
"One day, my boys will be grown and they will move out to live on their own...we will miss the days, like this one, when toys were left on our steps and our boys were at home in the evenings to play and to laugh and fight about whose turn it is to brush their teeth first...I try to remind myself in those moments of annoyance that the things which frustrate me now will one day be the things I will miss terribly and wish for again."
As a father of a 8 and 5 year old, I can't tell you how often I constantly remind myself of this reality because any parent will tell you that those years go by much faster than you can ever expect unless you take the time to reflect.
No matter what you sell, you must be confident the price you charge for it accurately reflects the value, utility, and benefits provided to your customers.
Linda Lopeke breaks down the 15 factors to consider when you set a price for your work.
Almost every freelancer at one point in their early career has simply winged it when being caught off guard by a potential client by the dreaded question of "how much would you charge for...?" It's paralyzed me in numerous occasions because there's rarely a straightforward answer without first considering a few variables. Rates and fees are not something that should be wung because as Linda states, "pricing is ultimately a mathematical exercise and your testing should ultimately tell you what price is ultimately right."
David duChemin’s plea with regard to your photography: “if you’re going to spend your money, spend it where it really matters.”
Yes to all of the above! With regard to the traveling suggestion, last week I purchased a one week ticket for January 2020 to El Salvador which is my parent’s native country. I lived there for 5 years between the ages of 12-17 and since them I’ve visited numerous times with family but this time it entails just myself traveling because the primary purpose is to work on a photo project that’s been gnawing at me for the longest.
Total cost of the ticket was $305, the lodging will be at a surf hotel for $85 and overall if I can walk away from everything having spent around $750 on a personal project, I would say that’s still less of what I could have potentially spent on the rest of David’s suggestions.
When you live in artful life, you zig and zag. You take the scenic route. The places you go become the backdrop of your story. The experiences you have become the colors you paint with and the people you meet are the thread that weaves them all together.
I love Srinivas Rao's description of what it means to live a creative life because it undoubtedly describes my frame of thought on how one's journey from point A to point B is never just movement through space. It's the reason why I don't mind taking the longer or the most populate streets to get anywhere because those are the opportunities where you're likely to find gems that will further your craft and approach to it.
When you become a parent, juggling your career and your responsibilities at home can become difficult but I also believe that finding the balance between both is a matter of perspective.
I’ll include myself in the list of parents who feel their kids has allowed them to become more productive at work because you become incentivized to get more done so that you can head home to attend to your personal life.
On top of that, if you have a passion or dream for something outside of your day job the way photography has been for me then having kids will quickly set your straight the way Michael Thompson describes in how we need to stop thinking having kids will kill your dreams.
He says -
"my kids forced me to ask myself what I really wanted. They helped me to buckle down on my dreams, and slowly, day after day, I started to chip away at them. The compounding affect of doing something daily, if even for a short amount of time, has single-handedly put me in a position where every day I get to do what I want, where I want, with the people I want."
I don't think you have to have kids to reconfigure elements of our life into perspective but the fact that I don't recall much of what I did with my time prior to them says a lot to how my priorities weren't always straight to begin with.
Over the Summer, in anticipation for an upcoming family vacation to Cartagena, Colombia, even prior to arrival, I immediately knew I would be mesmerized by the vibrant colors of the Spanish colonial architecture, the crystal clear waters, the sounds, the food and the people of a city I’ve long admired from afar. Deciding what places to ultimately visit was never an issue because we had everything pre-planned.
My silliest concerned believe it or not revolved on how I can seamlessly managed to photograph anything without dealing with the customary fact that when you travel there’s always a camera backpack of some sort right there with you.
Here’s the thing…I didn’t want to carry my backpack with me. All I wanted was a multipurpose shoulder-strap bag of some sort that allowed me to safely carry my Sony A7RIII and the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 attached regardless of what setting we were likely to be in such as long days walking in the old city or taking a 1hr 1/2 water-splashing boat ride to Isla Baru.
After some research, I purchased the Overboard Waterproof Pro Sport bag made out of tough PVC tarpaulin with fully welded seams which worked out amazing because it offered complete protection from water, sand, dust and dirt all the elements I encountered during our trip.
The one drawback I found about the camera bag was that unfortunately there’s no padding in the interior of the bag to guard against any potential bumping or drop. To compensate for that I purchased a foldable padding which I tucked into the bag as a base and then place my camera within it.
In a couple days my wife and I will be heading to Cozumel, Mexico and you can rest assured that the Overboard Waterproof Pro Sport will be coming along. You’re limited with what you can carry inside because it’s narrow but that just makes you think twice about what’s truly necessary on these adventures. Inside the bag I kept my camera with lens attached, 6 batteries, a cleaning cloth, and my Pelican case which stored my 6 SD cards. That’s it!
It’s possible that you no longer need to get better at your craft. That your craft is just fine. It’s possible that you need to be braver instead.
There’s a certain level of complacency that comes with doing what you’re known and recognized for. It’s safe to the degree that if asked to perform, you’re already acclimated with how you would approach an assignment, what tools you would use and what the end result would potentially look like.
The real question comes on how long we’re willing to either stay on that same lane or if we’re willing to deviate a bit to challenge ourselves creatively and avoid being too predictable.
I personally love discovering creatives who have mastered the art of consistently keep me and their entire audience guessing what else they’re going to come up. There’s always a slight enhancement on every new piece of work they put out. I’m personally comfortable with a particular style of photography but I won’t know anything else unless I’m willing to be braver as Seth Godin says and act more on my ideas as oppose to sitting on them.
I constantly go through moments where I dislike everything I’ve shot. I’m really hard on myself and perhaps I should see it as an opportunity to take more risk.
It's been an absolutely pleasure working along side the amazing team of trainers and founder of GRIT BXNG this year in creating promotional material which showcases their badass trainers, gym and what they signify. View the rest of the gallery.