By: Gary White (Instagram: garywhitephotography1)
I never set out to make money from photography. I grew up traveling the world and my love of nature long preceded my love of photography. For me, photography is just a by-product of spending so much time in nature.
I will say this: If you put your passion first, sometimes the money follows. For a few of us, that eventually turns into a business. However, we need to take care not to lose sight of the passion that started this for us in the first place. I would rather have the passion and love of photography than the money any day.
Many people pick up a camera, but a photographer never puts it down. Who you are as a person defines your photography and that in turn, determines your style. If you think about it, photography is not just about the picture that someone looks at and it is far more than just about the photo or the content of the image. It also speaks to the viewer about the photographer who took it. There is no way you can take a picture and not leave a piece of yourself in every image you take.
Consider this: If 15 photographers or photojournalists show up at an event, all of them from different news outlets, all with different backgrounds. As the moment unfolds in front of all 15 of them, the shutters go off – but are all the pictures the same? Of course not – It’s just not possible. For each of those 15 photographers – the 15 photographs will be subtly influenced by what defined that moment for them and that is based on who they are.
People often ask how I manage to convey so much emotion in my work. My answer is I find deep spirituality in nature and that emotion shows through in my photographs. For me, the pay off is to be part of those moments that are so emotional. People also ask why I take pictures from behind all the time or over the shoulder. They ask if there is something about me that happened back in my childhood, back where I grew up or the environment in which I was raised. My answer is simple it is not something I can explain it is something I feel, it is part of my style and what defines me as a photographer.
Eventually, you will find yourself in each and every one of your pictures and that is what it is all about. Being a photographer is about understanding who we are as people and about expressing this in our photography. It less about who was there the instant the shutter clicked. Yes, we have to document a little bit about who was there, but it is more about what happened and where did it happen. When you understand that photography is an art form and an outlet for your self-expression and you figure out how to nourish your passion you will realise your potential according to what is your god-given talent as a photographer.
Then on top of that whatever you learn you add it to the mix. Photography is a lifelong journey. It’s not about the $10k you are going to make from that wedding tomorrow. It just does not work that way, take your time, study, find out who you are and you are going to be pleasantly surprised down the road, I promise you that.