Guest Blog: Wedding and Portrait Photographer Tauran Woo
Don’t Let Your Love of Photography DIE!
As someone who has been working as a photographer and videographer in the wedding industry for over 20 years, I’ve been able to witness a lot of the exciting changes the industry has gone through in the last 2 decades. As the digital age has emerged, it has brought with it a myriad of possibilities that were previously unthinkable, and democratized the camera as a tool for everyday use by the common person.
Motion picture quality videos are now commonplace in the video realm, new software has made it easier for us to easily stylize our photos in similar ways to a professional retoucher, other automation breakthroughs have made handling client interactions more efficient, and designing books and ordering prints have never been easier.
However, despite the reality of these exciting possibilities, many professionals who have been part of the game for a while sometimes experience the weight of an inexplicable loss of love for the craft. What can be done to keep the love of creativity alive?
When my wife and I got married in 1998, a wedding photographer was one of a few magical individuals who knew how to operate a mysterious box with a lot of confusing dials and buttons called a camera – something that 99% of the population couldn’t do with any consistency. If you were looking for one and happened to find a good one, you had essentially found a unicorn in a field of four leaf clovers.
Knowing this, I rewarded the photographers who shot our wedding handsomely for their work, and have never regretted it for a single day. The photos taken and the memories captured that day are among some of the most valuable possessions I have ever owned. I have always loved the idea of being a creative, and to make a living doing so. I thought I could make a go of it as a photographer, and took my first steps in my photography journey then.
Fast forward 20 years, and I find myself in the industry as a full-time wedding photographer! It wasn’t instantaneous, but I did manage to create a successful and sustainable business, and have had the pleasure of creating wedding imagery and preserving the memories for people all over the world. Though the years I’ve also had my own experiences with burnout, boredom, and disinterest in photography, even as the photography business was running on all cylinders.
As I reflected, I soon remembered the reason I got into all of this in the first place – I love photography! I just needed to make sure that I could continue to feel that way for the long haul.
If you think you’re falling out of love with photography, or at least your photography business, here are a few things that I think might help you keep your inner photography child alive! Apply each with the supervision of an adult:
Don’t Look At Photography Similar To Your Own For Inspiration!
Looking at your friends’ and competitors’ work is not going to be as helpful as inspiring as you think. You’ll probably either end up being jealous, or even worse, you might copy them! I might suggest exploring in other places: Photojournalism, Landscape, Fashion, Commercial, Nature, even Cosplay! Let other genres of photography inject your work with new ideas and inspiration!
Expose Yourself To Other Genres Of Art
I love movies, and I am constantly in awe of the craftsmen who help put the images onscreen. Why not take your visual inspiration from one of your favorite filmmakers? Some of my favorites: Terry Gilliam, Christopher Nolan, Wong Kar Wai, Cinematographer Roger Deakins, AMC’s Mad Men, Film Noir, Stanley Kubrick, etc. Not into film? Check out your local museum and spend the day there amongst the paintings.
Unless you’re an Instagram star or a millennial with a rich father, I wouldn’t gut your entire savings on a trip around the world, but getting outside your area of familiarity and taking your camera out for some exercise is good the soul (and the body).
Attend A Workshop!
You certainly don’t know everything, so taking class from someone who is good might help you ‘see’ from a new perspective. You’re never too old or too good to learn something new!
Shoot Your Loved Ones
Our images of our families, special events, family and friends long gone – they are amongst our most precious possessions! Help yourself or someone you care about capture their important moments – you’ll never ask yourself why you’re a photographer again.
Don’t let your love grow cold! Always be looking for new ways and new methods to nurturing that relationship with your camera and the craft of photography, and she will love you back!