Failing at Photography: Give up and move on.

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Last year, I had to step away from my camera for a little while. I was filled with a lot of jealousy, envy, and resentment. A little over four years into running our photography business, I was just tired. Every time I signed online and saw one of my friends who started around the same time I did and saw how magical their lives seemed and how beautiful their subjects and locations were, I just felt sick.

I hadn’t taken a vacation in years. I had no expectations for one anytime soon, either. I think that wasn’t helping—not having a clear idea of the future or a goal other than “paying my bills.” So much of my life felt out of my control.

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Something I’ve been considering is writing a book about how to fail at running a photography business. It started out as a joke, but I think my story is neglected by every super positive motivational workshopper or idealized lifestyle photographer. It’s always pawned off as someone having a bad attitude about succeeding or not being true to themselves.

Back to my main point, stepping away from the photography “business” allowed me to just enjoy shooting again. I actually think I’m shooting better than I was before I started our business. I can actually be happy for my friends who are doing really well and blossoming professionally and artistically. Being able to genuinely want to support people is a great feeling to get back.

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This evening, we drove down one of my favorite drives. I wanted to see if the orange trees were blooming. The smell of blossoms fill the air they’re so potent. It’s this nice little time frame in the year—the transition between winter and spring. The weather is at its best here in Florida. The clashing fronts bring in blowing winds and the occasional thunderstorm. I just want to be swept up in it and stay there forever.

The photos below have three distinctions: The orange trees, Lake Eustis, and the windmill.

One of my favorite little groves still had their trees full. I’m not really sure why they hadn’t been picked at this point. Many oranges had begun to fall and move back to the earth. I was tempted to pick a few but I couldn’t do it. Normally, a lot of the little groves on this road will set out stands where you can buy bags pretty cheap.

The orange blossoms are just beginning to bloom. Bees flew about the flowers, something that’s always nice to see especially without any apiaries nearby this field.

Despite sunset being more than an hour or so away, the clouds over Lake Eustis turned it into dusk well ahead of time. I pulled into the local yacht club parking lot where they graciously let me in to take photos of the light coming through the lake. The sailboats decided to pull in right as I walked to the docks but I was happy to have still gotten a shot of them.

While we were walking around the shore line, a hawk looked at us while perched on the mast of a parked yacht. At the water’s edge, fins slowly breached and wiggled around. We moved closer to find out what it was. A giant female gar had nearly beached itself being chased by a bunch horny males. She was twice their size but they overcame her with sheer volume. We had seen the same thing happen to a female manatee being chased by nearly eleven males a few years ago in Fort Desoto Park near Saint Petersberg.

On the way home, the sun kept going between the bulbous clouds and creating amazing light patterns. I took some photos of a new grove of orange saplings at one of my favorite little hilltops. I didn’t post those here, but I did of the abandoned home and dirt road that love driving down.

Across from the orange grove I first stopped at is this old windmill. I always want to take photos of it but I can never get it right when I try. Since I shoot with a 50mm a lot of times when I’m just doing little trips like this, it’s always too far away to get the shots that I want. However, I love how these came out. A sprinkling of wildflowers had begun to bloom. I laid on the ground and framed it so that while it wasn’t huge in the photo, it was still the main focus.

Camera & Processing Notes

Despite my Canon 5D classic beginning to give me shutter issues, I shot predominately with it and the Canon 50mm f/1.4. You can tell the macro shots of the blossoms and oranges that were shot with a macro—those were shot with the Nikon D90 and Sigma 50mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro. The Canon 5D didn’t hold up as well with the darker skies (something that Canon is known for, being able to pull out more from overexposed photos than underexposed).

The photos were processed with VSCO, Pack 1 in Lightroom (LR). I chose the Fuji 800C for all of the shots to keep consistent. I added the Faded preset in the VSCO Toolkit and took out all of the grain. I also always let LR apply lens correction on everything. In Photoshop, I added Noise with a monochrome gaussian noise at 1.5 again, but I’m not sure if I liked it nearly as much this time. Would love to hear your thoughts. Please let me know if you have any specific questions about anything else I may have left out.

 

4 Comments

  • I really enjoyed this pictures and they came at a wonderful time. It has been a bit grey here in Texas, so thank you for inspiring me.

    Thank you for your raw honesty about your business. Sometimes when we try too hard, we can’t afford to take risks. It is great to hear that you have found your joy again.

    -Renee’

  • I would buy that book. Also, I have more than enough relevant experience to be able to contribute to said book.

    I constantly struggle with seeing other peers in the same industry taking more beautiful photos, having more followers, making more money, and having more confidence and success than I seem to have, and then trying not to let my feelings of failure keep me from growing and moving forward.

    Keep writing (and photographing!). I am thoroughly enjoying your articles.

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