Balancing Business With Passion: Where to Draw the Line

Balancing Business With Passion: Where to Draw the Line

I think it’s safe to say that we are all photographers because we love photography. I know I do, and I am so thankful that I am able to wake up every day and make money doing something that I love. However, like any other job, you’re going to run into an occasional gig that might not be right up your alley. That is a daily struggle for me and that is why I make a point to separate my business photography from my passion projects. The tricky part is where to draw the line.

When I first started in the photography business, I didn't really know what type of photographer I wanted to be, so I literally took any job that came my way. I started out in event photography, but I really didn't love shooting events, so I started to dabble in portraiture. Unfortunately, I couldn't seem to make very much money shooting portraits because I didn't really have a portfolio and I certainly didn't have very much experience. This was when I first decided to draw a line between my business (event photography) and my passion (portraiture). Event photography was a great way to make money, but it wasn't very fulfilling and I wanted a different path for my career. I decided to build my portrait portfolio on my own time with hopes that eventually, I would start making money on that side of the business.  It didn't happen overnight, but it did happen.

A photo from my first ever paid photography gig.

Today, I have a steady shooting schedule that is mostly portrait and headshot clients with a few events, real estate shoots, and other odd jobs thrown in there too. Some people have told me that I have made it, but I still find myself wanting more out of my career and my business, which isn't a bad thing. It’s important to always strive to better yourself and your work or else you’ll just be treading water and you’ll eventually sink.

This is a shot of a Nashville Realtor who is one of my corporate headshot clients.

My business is 90-95 percent corporate clients, usually headshots, but 99 percent of the people I shoot on a daily basis don’t make it into my portfolio. This is again where my passion projects comes into the picture. I love to shoot lifestyle portraits, so that is what I post on my social media. My Instagram, for instance, is carefully curated to fit the style of work that I am trying to book in the future. If I don't post lifestyle and fashion portraits, nobody will know that I shoot that style of photography and I will never book those gigs.

A shot from a personal project that I organized while in Hawaii.

In reality, I’ll never stop shooting corporate photography, because the money is just too good, but wouldn't it be nice to make top dollar shooting something that you love? That is what I want from my career and that is why I make a point to shoot for myself on a regular basis. There is no perfect balance between business and passion projects, but if you want to take the next step in your career, you have to take some time for yourself and shoot what you want to shoot. That’s the only way you will master your craft and book those clients that you really want to book. Get out there and do something for yourself!

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