Life is a funny thing in the sense that you never know what tomorrow is going to bring. You could be having the worst day of your life one day, then win a million dollars the next. For those of us who don’t win a million dollars, it is up to us to go out and make things happen for ourselves, and depending on how determined, motivated, passionate, hard working, smart and lucky you are, the end result could very different for each of us. However, one thing is for certain, and that is if you don’t try you will never know what happens or the opportunities you may have missed out on.
Recently, I had an opportunity to take a job in New York working for a TV show. Not photography related, but I would be in NY for a month, and getting paid while I was there. I was a little hesitant at first, but I figured if I made good use of my time while I was there I could come back with something to show (Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting you take jobs that aren’t necessarily good for your career, I’m merely suggesting you be open minded about opportunities as they are presented to you). So I told myself I would only take the job if I gave myself a project to photograph. Once I got there I hit the streets of Manhattan with my camera on my time off and started shooting what I knew and what I had available, PEOPLE! I came back with entire new series of street portraits that I was able to lay down in front of my clients and say, “I went to New York, look what I did.” Truth be told, hustling and showing that you are motivated and passionate will go a long way in any industry, not just photography, but it is essential if you want to be a successful photographer. I took an opportunity that wasn’t necessarily the best for my photography career and turned it into something that may have propelled my photography career forward, and had amazing life experiences along the way.
You have to live life with the mindset that people aren’t just going to hand you things, most of us will have to work, and work hard to get to where we want to be and sometimes that means you have to go out and make your own luck. Until your portfolio looks like Annie Leibovitz’s, you need to be shooting every day, forming relationships, networking, honing your skills, teaching yourself something new on a daily basis, marketing yourself…etc. Next time you’re sitting on the couch during business hours, get up and MAKE YOUR OWN LUCK!