Maintaining Your Joy While Working as a Photographer

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  By Keenan Gilson
Maintaining Your Joy While Working as a Photographer

I truly believe that you will produce your best images when you sincerely have a love for photography. I feel like this principle applies in all areas of life as well. We’ve probably heard the phrase, “when you love what you do for work, it does not really work.” How can we keep the joy we had at first when it comes to working as a professional photographer? For many, photography starts off as a hobby, something they really enjoy doing in their spare time. With time though, once money gets involved, it can turn into something we don’t look forward to. Let’s consider some things we can do to make sure we never get to this point.

Take Jobs That Have Meaning


When we first picked up a camera, we were taking pictures of people and things that mattered to us; things that brought us joy. The camera was a way to express ourselves and save memories that were important to us. With time we don’t want to lose these factors. We don’t want to use a camera only for monetary gain.

In order to do this, we should set time aside in order to shoot for fun. We can do this by documenting personal trips of family and friends or even by volunteering your services for free to a cause you support.

When I was just getting into photography professionally, I quickly realized my joy was decreasing as I started working more for money. In order to counteract this, I ended up doing more photo projects with my close friends that were creatively oriented. I even volunteered my time to shoot this senior citizen prom at my local senior citizen home. It was extremely rewarding and incredibly hilarious interacting with them.

Take Time to Learn

If we feel like we are shooting a lot but never learning or growing with our craft, photography can become stale. For most of us, when we first got into photography we couldn’t get enough of Youtube tutorials and photography blogs that helped us gain more insight into improving our skill and style. If you feel like photography is no longer enjoyable, you might have to set time aside in order to learn and get inspired.

One thing that helps me is reading up to date articles on new technology or on new techniques. I also just spend time looking at photographers work that I enjoy. I then consciously think about something I want to work on and try to apply it in my next photo shoot.

Spending time with other photographers or creatives can be extremely beneficial. When we hang out with people who share our same passions were are able to build off each other’s creativity and receive encouragement. If we are talking about the money and business aspect of our job, we can start to focus on things that aren’t as important.

Teaching others about your craft is also a rewarding thing to do in two ways. The person on the receiving end feels happy that you were willing to give of your time to help them and at the same time you get reminded of why photography is something valuable to you. There is definitely happiness in giving of your time.

Take a Break

If we have gone past the point of no return and we feel like the last thing we want to do it shoot, take a break. Instead of continuing to burn yourself out, sometimes this path is the best option. Eventually, when you feel you’re ready, look at some of the previous work that you were proud of and remind yourself of why you got into photography in the first place.

Even though some may think that completely taking time off can harm your craft, I think it actually does the opposite. Sure, you can lose out on some possible jobs and money but you’ll save your client from mediocre work. If it takes some time for you to regain your joy it will be worth it because you will see it in your work. You and your clients want you to produce your best work. If that means taking some time to regain your joy, I say do it.


Keep learning and have fun!

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Keenan is a professional photographer that specializes in commercial and portrait/street photography. He is originally from California were he studied photography at the University of La Verne. Due to his love for travel and people, most of his time is spent abroad visiting foreign countries. He loves to collaborate with other creatives and is always looking for ways to improve and learn new things.

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