The Greatest Career In the World!

As Photographers, most of you clicked on this page thinking I was going to talk about photography or things that have led to my success and long career, but I am not (not completely at least).  The greatest career in the world is being a parent and if you take the few seconds to read this blog it might improve your day more than any photo tip I could give.  As a career, parenting gives the ultimate respect;  the love and admiration of your family.  The rewards are the joy and fulfillment of doing your job well, so those little human beings that look like us can have amazing lives and give the gift we have given to them to our grand children.

The reason I talk so much about money, success, selling and profit in my second greatest career (photography), is that many photographers  are willing to suffer and live without money to able to continue in photography.  They think that because there is  a lot of competition and that competition is focused on giving the most away for the cheapest price, they must follow this ridiculous path to self-destruction.  Photographers often forget that they are not the only ones that suffer.  Our children shouldn’t pay the price for our passion, they should enjoy the profits of our passion.  I see so many children in today’s world dealing with the stress and worry of their family’s financial situation, which isn’t somethings that children should have to do.  Children will have to deal with this as adults, they should be allowed just to be kids. I realize that many Americans are unemployed and having to live without the comforts they used to have, but the majority of these people have no choice.  Photographers that decide for their families to live poverty do have a choice.  They could learn how to make money in this profession by learning the business of the photography business or they could pick another profession.

And before I get emails from the hostile few, let me explain something about my career.  Yes now I am successful, but I started out with nothing just like many of you.  I had a super small store front studio, which I was behind on the rent, barely able to pay for the phone and power.  My lab was in San Diego and they were nice enough to start shipping my orders to me COD cash, since a few of my checks had bounced.  They added 25% to each invoice to pay back the amount of each bounced check.  Oh ya, and this was  the day I brought my first child home from the hospital, which was another bill I couldn’t pay.  As we were driving him home, I went through area of town which there were those old hotels you could rent out by the day, week or month.  I saw a small child in a diaper playing in a mud puddle in the parking lot of one of these hotels.  The child was dirty and all alone.  I thought of my situation in the photography business and a tear came to my eye.  I thought to myself is this the future of my son?  At that moment I vowed to myself that my son would never live in poverty.  I don’t care what I have to do, what job I have to take, my son will never know poverty.  He will have a normal, happy life where things like shelter, the lights being on and the next meal aren’t his concern.  I loved photography and I wanted to keep my studio, but  I told my wife we would either turn the studio around or I would do something else.  I started studying sales, marketing, merchandising and the business of my business.  For those of you that don’t have any extra money, the library is free!  I purchased a cassette tape set from a photographer named Charles Lewis who talked about projection proofs into an empty frame to sell larger portraits.  I was scared but I tried it.  The first order I did after learning this information was of two children.  When the mother saw her children’s portraits in a 30×40 frame she didn’t want to go smaller than a 20×24 for the two of them together, then she ordered a 16×20 of each child alone.  That one order paid for the tape set and what was left on my son’s hospital bill.

The moral to the story? don’t sit in poverty and accept it (and have your children have to endure poverty).  There is always a way to get where you want to be and it has nothing to do with a new camera or flash, but the knowledge you have about the business of our business, the second greatest career in the world!  So hug your kids, get off your ass and give them the life they deserve.


~ by jeffsmithbooks on August 17, 2012.

2 Responses to “The Greatest Career In the World!”

  1. Jeff, you are amazing! Thanks for putting all this out there for us 😀

  2. Truly moving. Kind of reminds me of Jack Palance in “City Slickers” Maybe the child in the puddle was that “one thing” for you. Consider yourself lucky. At 50 I’m still looking. Who knows maybe one day I can filter out all the bullshit and find that one thing too :). Thanks for all you do.

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