It feels like only yesterday that I was sitting down to write February’s progression journal. In some ways it feels like not a lot has changed in a month, but on the flip side I think I’ve made a lot of helpful observations. Especially in these last few days.
Progress in terms of booking in clients and building a steady body of work has been slow. I’ve found that a lot of jobs will come in all at once, or last minute, and sometimes they’ll be cancelled or rescheduled just as quickly as they initially landed in my inbox.
Now, I know this is normal. I have only been doing this for a few months and I fully appreciate that the process of becoming full-time freelance human does not (and will not) ever happen overnight, or even in the space of a year (or many more) in most cases… But, I would guess that, due to the hyperdrive-paced world we live in, if something doesn’t happen immediately it can almost start to feel like it’s not working altogether.
Building a start-up and going freelance aren’t set in stone, nor do they come with a tell-all step-by-step guide. It’s something that I need to work out along the way, and tailor to suit me. Like many others, to figure out where I fit in, I have chosen to surround myself, via feeds and timelines, with people I admire and aspire to be like. Yet, I am starting to see their success as *the* benchmark, and am comparing myself to them as a consequence. No matter how many times I tell myself that successful photographers have been working specifically to get to where they are now for years and years, even decades upon decades in some cases, it seems as though this isn’t a good enough answer to reassure my overactive brain.
One particular self-criticism I have picked up on is regarding how fast I edit. I seem to punish myself for not being able to deliver images within a couple of hours, a day, or as fast as other photographers. I work 9am - 6pm (if not longer) every Monday to Thursday as an Editor, I’m delivering 100+ images in most cases, and am trying to uphold a work/life balance, but this all feels more of an excuse than a justification. And I think this all comes back to the fast-paced nature of the world, and the impatience that comes along with that.
I know I can meet goals and deadlines for a fact - I did it at school, at university, and do it every day in my job - and, yes, whilst I would like to be faster, I’m fairly speedy in my photo delivery given everything else I have to juggle. Because this has taken over my thoughts in March, it’s really clouded my mind, stalled my work, and stumped me when it comes to deciding how to move forward.
I am grateful I have come to this realisation though. It has made me see that I need to return to the values I set out for myself when I started on this journey; to go at my own pace and put my wellbeing first. When discussing all of the above with my therapist, we came to the conclusion that it would benefit me to work on the business side of things - as this is not where my skills currently lie. With this in mind, I think April will be a great time to refocus, reconsider, and rework the plans and ideas I have. I want to stay, and slay, in my lane.
To kick off a positive month, I want to give myself a pat on the back and appreciate my successes so far. In just a couple of months I have become far more experimental and inquisitive, which has led to me using angles and heights I wouldn’t have thought to try out previously; all of which have added a level of interest to my images. I have also tweaked aspects of my editing style, to help me move closer to a style that defines my work. Overall, I’ve seen a huge improvement in the quality of images I create, and I’m really proud of that.
Oh, and before I go, I have to give A BIG shoutout to the endlessly talented Ami Ford for making me look like a total badass babe in these shots, despite us being in the most sweltering building in the UK at the time. Thank you, Ami!