Life On The Road....

I haven't blogged or tweeted nearly enough lately, mostly because I have either been traveling or recovering from traveling for the last couple months. I'm writing from a Best Western in Calexico, CA. right now, so I thought I'd blog about life on the road for a photographer.

I remember seeing a funny pie-chart about a year ago depicting people's perception of a professional photographer's lifestyle. It was something like "40% Traveling to Exotic Locations" and "60% Party Like a Rockstar." That pie chart always makes me giggle, but even more so when I'm in a Best Western in Calexico!

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I have been out of town for 5 or 6 days every other week for about the last 2 months now, and it's not nearly so glamorous. There is plenty of sand outside, but definitely no beaches; the only Rockstars around are sold inside the gas station across the street that makes my room glow red.

The lifestyle of a photographer is difficult to grasp, because there is no 'ordinary' anything. Hours, clients, locations, challenges, weather, logistics, and countless other details make sure that no two days are ever really the same. I DO love that about this job, that I don't get stuck in a routine, and it keeps me on my creative toes.

Life on the road is especially challenging because you may be in an area you're unfamiliar with, away from your family, long shooting days, and editing from a hotel room, all while still trying to find time to work on your promos, marketing, etc. This week, in Calexico, I'm doing senior portraits all week, week before last was Vegas for 6 days, and 2 weeks before that was El Centro again. It's a lot of shooting, a lot of driving, and a lot of time away from my wife.

I have to be honest though, the hardest day of doing what you love is still better than the easiest day in a job your heart isn't in. My heart IS in what I do, and I'm passionate about pushing myself past the creative standards I set on my last shoot.

There are some careers that just cannot be fit into a 9-5 day, actually quite a few, if you consider the lifestyles of doctors, nurses, firefighters, police officers, people that are what they do, it's not something you just turn off when you aren't working. It's the same as a photographer, you can't just walk onto a set and shoot (at least not well!) if you aren't living a creative lifestyle. It's a job that keeps you thinking, planning, wondering, trying, experimenting, studying, reading, looking, watching, and when you toss in traveling, it can wear you out. So I'm working hard to stay sharp, to keep living a creative life, and to keep refining my craft.

So, party like a rockstar? Maybe sometimes.... but it takes a lot of hard work to make it in this economy, good photographers are a dime a dozen - you have to be a great photographer.


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