Hello reader, my name is Christopher Bovell. I am in my 30's and photography is one of my passions. I have been taking photos for many years. My earliest memories are in secondary school. Back then, the photos I did were for my own amusement, it was usually my friends and I up to no good. More recently, I thought it best to use my talent in a more productive way. By this I mean shooting events, portraits, scenery on location or in studios. I am loving the journey. I am good at what I do and seek to improve each day.
How Did My Photography Develop? As a young adult, people noticed the talent. This was because I was always taking pictures at events whether invited to or not. I am sure I annoyed people who did not ask me to cover their event!
However some did like my work and I thought “let me make it into a stream of income”, rather than do it just for fun.
I had the opportunity to partner with someone who went on to do great things but missed out due to being cheap and not wanting to invest.
I was not prepared and I did not realise what it took to really step out as a photographer (still learning). I had a few key things against me;
1. No real experience
2. No mentor to show me the ropes
3. No strategy
4. No support from people who I thought should be supporting and not discouraging
5. Lack of confidence
6. No clients
Experience is key, it can be the difference between failure and success. Experience for me is highlighted in two areas.
Firstly, experience in the industry, how processes work, working with models and how to charge.
Many people think photography is about pointing and shooting, however a good "tog" is constantly evaluating a situation to get the best outcome. This is something I have learned to do.
Secondly how to trouble shoot if things go wrong, for example clients not liking the images, dealing with difficult people, hardware problems, software problems, bad lighting in a venue, the list goes on……
A lack of experience can be minimised with a good mentor. A good mentor can impart knowledge, wisdom and advice. A mentor can also provide encouragement and technical support. Not having a mentor did not kill my love of photography. It limited my progression and growth in the industry as a professional photographer.
At this moment I am no guru, I do my best to help those around me. As I know giving a little of my time can mean the world to a person in need of advice.
Any business needs a strategy to survive and grow. Quite often people would love to have their images taken, and captured well, but will not want to part with their beloved cash. To make it in business, people need to say “bye bye” to their money.
Knowing how to market yourself in a very competitive industry is essential. Photography is an area where competition are under cutting and willing to work for free. This can make it difficult to secure a job. It’s a lesson I am still learning, but getting there. Knowing what jobs to accept and reject has been hard, but short term gain must not cut the longevity of the vision.
If you have a low moment where you doubt yourself, it is good to have some form of support to draw strength from. Not having support at times did not help. But what was worse was people that disregarded the vision.
Stepping out on your own is a lot harder when you do not have life being spoken into you. So when I stepped out and had negativity and struggles, it was difficult and I dropped out.
People that ought to have supported me did not, instead they discouraged me. As per usual when others recognised the gift, they slowly aligned their projections to me for the good. But I know who truly supports me and who I can turn to when in trouble.
I lack confidence at times due to observing my weaknesses and comparing myself to others. Even panicking about things that have not even happened! This has been a massive draw back. I over think all the time, I can’t help it (at times).
I have allowed people to devalue me. This has been another error I am not keen to repeat. Not believing in myself is one of the worst things I have done. If I don't believe in me, who will?
This area needs no explanation. Clients pay bills and I need clients to make it. When jobs fall through, or there is a lack of interest, this can be disheartening. It also means that growth in some cases can be limited (I learn each time I shoot). Lastly no client causes me to doubt myself and want to give up.
I feel the 6 areas are crucial when starting off into a business. Being passionate in photography is only truly beneficial once you are able to sustain that passion. I have heard of talented people burn out simply because they lost their passion. Due to some or all of the above.
On jobs things have gone horribly wrong, to the point where even the reflection of it make me cringe. I have been silently traumatised by thoughts of negativity. I think at times what went wrong and how my reputation has been stained.
Nevertheless, due to the experience I have now, the listening ears and the reminder to stop overthinking, I am a lot more confident. With this confidence I am to go on and reach my goals. To all who have helped me along the way, I salute you.
Where Am I Now
I feel I am on a ladder. I am taking step by step, carefully working out how to reach my destination. I constantly seek to improve and learn from my fellow comrades in arms and experiences.
I made a decision in 2016 to invest in myself and continuously put myself out there. I do this via blogging, short video snippets, posting pictures and just meeting people. Slowly and surely people are seeing the work, seeing my style and mannerisms and are peeking in to see if they want to work with me. I know my value and I have learned to bite the bullet and not let people devalue my worth.
People that have snubbed me are now interested in the skills that I have acquired. This has happened due to persistence. I did not give up and it is paying off and will continue to do so.
Where I Would Like To Be
1. I want to be paid to travel worldwide to shoot scenery and events
2. I want to have a steady multiple streamed income
3. To been published in media in a formal basis
4. To be invited to capture key events in the community and nation.
5. To support others in their dreams and goals
6. To be the reason that people smile when looking back at the images captured
I am on a journey, and I want to take you with me. In my blogs, I aim to not just review places but also document appropriate experiences and how I am learning. I have so much to learn, so much to achieve. Feel free to encourage, refer, hire, like and make recommendations for me.
Lastly thank you for all the support I have received so far, I would not be where I am if it was not for by team of supporters.
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