For the last four or five years, I have tried to produce one annual workshop for aspiring architecture and interior photographers. While I hope that they are technically helpful and the students come away with new skills and knowledge, one thing that I’ve noticed is that every year each workshop inevitably transforms into a session of group therapy for all involved.
It’s no secret that freelancing can be boom and bust, amazing and terrible, discouraging and empowering. Anyone who has tried to carve out a living in a creative field knows this in every fiber of their being. So when I stumbled across a hysterical graph created by writer Guillame Morisette, I was immediately inspired and had to adapt it to photography, noting plenty of parallels in my own career.
Without further delay, please enjoy this all-too-real attempt at humor and the highest form of fine art, the shoddily created meme:
I’m not sure if this is a “problem” specific to architectural photography or all photographic genres in general, but without fail, the most requested topics at workshops is the psychology and business of photography, rather than the techniques or equipment.
On one hand I’m grateful for this, as it means my workshops are attracting photographers who have moved beyond the simple “what camera do I use to get that look” phase and are usually well on their way to a career in photography; on the other hand, it can be tough to have a delicately planned day of workshops and light-chasing consumed by business questions and concerns—and believe me, those subjects are a huge source of curiosity, frustration, and anxiety.
At the end of the day it feels great and is clearly helpful to let everyone get their frustrations, questions, and vents out, and I’m happy to be able to provide a platform for that—there aren’t many other places to do it in a private, professional setting in a field that is as independent and personal as photography.
Hey, business idea for the budding therapist: focus on small business owners. I’m sure you’d have a steady client base!
About the author: Mike Kelley is an architecture and fine art photographer based in Los Angeles, CA. He regularly travels on assignment for architects and developers, and his art photography has been exhibited in museums around the world. You can see more of his work on his website, www.mpkelley.com, or by following him on Instagram @mpkelley_. This post was also published here.