Gathering Perspective / by nicholas aufiero

So, for a while now I've noticed most people think that photographers have it golden. I think people assume that we just constantly have inspiration and constantly have things going 100% our way. I'm sure for some that may be the case but for myself and many others I know that is the farthest thing from the truth. I myself tend to feed off of other people's energy and really depend on others to get myself going. For the longest time I was really trying to depend on models for their ideas mainly because they know what they have outfits for or what they can afford. I found that this didn't really get me anywhere and that the shoots it provided produced subpar results.

I decided that maybe it was time I really just tried to plan everything out on my own and put all the pieces together.  I gather my notes, I gather my backgrounds for the composites and I make my post looking for a model. I spend a couple days browsing the local pages and asking around to come up with nothing. At this point one is only left to ponder the quality of their work and what they are doing wrong. Am I myself producing subpar quality images compared to local competition? Do I scare off models or come off as too abrasive? Could it be that I have too high of expectations for local models?

I also began to question that maybe it is a lack of seriousness with the local talent. I mean after all we have seen lots of pictures posted daily. Can only assume models would jump at the chance of shooting some nice quality photos that are outside the local norm. Maybe its that modeling is a fun pass time but not worth it for them to have to spend money out of pocket on an outfit instead of something else they need? I by no means consider myself a professional or someone worth going far out of your way for but $100 on a dress for a photoshoot doesn't seem bad. I mean us photographers truly know the struggle of spending money just to make a photoshoot happen. 

The cost of time, supplies for the shoot and hours in post processing? Doesn't even begin to hold a match to the cost of Camera bodies, Lenses, Flashes, Stands or even a tripod at this point. I suppose even this could seem like it wouldn't be that much. Maybe we should factor in the cost of the computer hardware to spend the hours in post processing. Maybe we could factor in working a 12-14 hour shift and coming home to edit photos instead of eating or seeing our families.

I guess in the end I am just trying to shine some light on the daily life of a photographer. Of photographers who work a full time job to support a passion where they feel they are failing.  I look back at all the conversations I had with successful photographers and the one thing they all had in common was they moved away from free work. They all told me they stopped using the pages and they started letting serious models find them. While I took their advice with a grain of salt at the time I can easily see why they made their move. I love the work that I do and I will always stay the course but I'm hoping eventually some models may see why we can't pay them. Why sometimes we don't offer to supply the outfit or props you may need for a photoshoot. Why we ask that you pay to get your own Makeup done by a professional.

I hope you don't take this as a 'If you aren't serious then get out of the business' post. Everyone has there place in this community. I am just hoping to help people realize the sacrifices others make to keep there passion afloat.