chantal stone photography: the blog

February 28, 2007

What’s Next

Filed under: Personal,Photography — chantal @ 4:22 pm

I’ve been thinking and talking a lot lately about my next step. In the past week three different photographers whom I admire each asked me a question that really made me think, were difficult to answer, and have set me on a particular path. The questions were (in summary):

  1. What do you prefer to do most within the field of photography?
  2. What is it you are trying to say?
  3. What is your end goal?

To add fuel to the fire, I’ve been working on my portfolio site and I’m having trouble finding a coherent vision. You can look at it now, but be warned, it changes every few hours as I add and take away images that one minute I love, the next minute I hate.

Let me try to answer the questions here:

1. I love photography. Period. And as long as I have a camera in my hand I’m happy. Lifestyle & editorial are probably my favorite style of photography, and I think it covers a broad enough base that I can do just about anything—commercial, weddings, portraits. I also love fine art, that’s what I started out trying to do…and the current trend of contemporary fine art photography totally fascinates me although I don’t think what I shoot fits into that genre (more on that later).

2. I don’t know what I’m trying to say. I’m not 100% convinced I have to say anything…do I? Maybe some of what I do says something and I don’t realize it yet. I do have a few projects that I’m working on, and a couple others that I will be working on soon that I think say something. They are longer term projects, essays if you will…this type of work interests me a lot and I plan to pursue it further.

3. My goal. *sigh* This is how I answered my friend who asked the question: “the end goal is fuzzy; I don’t want to be amateur anymore, the end goal is to gain exposure, be published, be hired for assignments. The point is my kids are getting older, and more expensive, and we are quickly outgrowing our house. Sooner or later I need to get a job and I don’t want to do anything else. So I have to make this work somehow, that’s how I see it, that’s my motivation.”

This is where I am. I’ve sort of answered the big questions. I have an idea of what I want. The question now is how. Given the area that I live, and my level of experience, the easiest thing for me to do is to go into wedding/portraiture. Which is great, I love to photograph people, I love highly emotional situations…weddings are perfect for that. What I don’t love, and need to improve upon, is all the after-stuff…having the prints made, wedding albums, etc. I want to be photographing, not putting together albums, so I need to figure out a niche where I can fit.

The other week I went to my daughter’s dance teachers house to photograph her baby. I loved every minute of it, and she was really happy about the final images. THAT I can do every day. Not limiting to just babies…but one-on-one portrait assignments, on location so to speak, not the formal studio style. I was in heaven. I love the personal interaction of weddings and portraits.

A couple of weeks ago I assisted Jez Coulson on a corporate shoot. It was fun, a great experience, very exact, having to fulfill the needs of an art director. I could do that, maybe not everyday, but certainly I would love the occasional corporate assignment in between other jobs. I did love the intensity of the shoot though, the ‘having to get it right to meet a deadline’. I’ve always worked well under pressure.

So I have an idea of what I’d be happiest doing. That would be for pay. I love the versatility of these different areas. And I would certainly continue my personal projects and my artsy stuff. It’s in me to produce that type of photography, so I don’t see the commercial, for-pay stuff getting in the way of my personal work.

Now what’s left is for me to put together a cohesive portfolio to show off what I can do. I have a large body of work, but cohesive it is not. I’ve got bits and pieces here and there; things that can lead to something else, but aren’t quite there yet. For the next several weeks I will do nothing else but get this done. I have some ideas, I just hope I can implement them successfully.

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4 Comments »

  1. Here I am wondering when I can find time to just pick up my damn brand spanking new cam. You obviously are facing more profound issues.

    I would definitely would prefer to go pro also. But the more I read, the more I look at others work, the more i realize I need to work more.

    Tough questions you got going there Chantal. Maybe the answers will present themselves to you when you least expect it. Sort of providence, if I believed in such things.

    Keep clicking away…

    Comment by DAVE — February 28, 2007 @ 4:36 pm | Reply

  2. Thanks Dave….
    A far as needing to work more…who doesn’t? The cool thing about photography is that it’s such a process. We are better photographers today than we were last week. And next year we’ll be vastly improved from where we are now. All of us.
    I just know I need to do it, no matter what! Now get off the computer and go play with your new camera!!

    Comment by Chantal — February 28, 2007 @ 10:33 pm | Reply

  3. Chantal, first, you need to find your niche. What do you want to photograph to make money. Being a professional photographer is like like any other business. You will most likely spend about 80% of your time handling the business: Selling, selling, selling, marketing, book keeping, etc. The remaining time will be spent doing photography. You have to be a good business person first.

    The sad truth, and I’ve seen it, especially in wedding photography, is that you don’t have to be especially good, but you do have to be known. Also, you’ll have to compete on price in whatever you do.

    As I told you before, I did a stint as a wedding photographer. I made some money, but honestly, I hated it!

    I’m sure that as soon as you find the market that you want to attack that you’ll be able to make some money from it as long as you are a good business person firstly, and a good photographer secondly.

    Comment by paul — March 2, 2007 @ 3:00 pm | Reply

  4. Thanks Paul….
    You’re absolutely right. And business isn’t really my thing, but I’m motivated enough to LEARN. Failure is not an option here. Maybe my brother’s MBA can rub off on me 😉

    Comment by Chantal — March 3, 2007 @ 1:37 pm | Reply


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