I haven't been doing photography professionally for a super long time. It actually took a lot of guts and courage to step out of my insecurities and ever call myself a "photographer". One of the first real commercial jobs I got right out the gates started out as a complete, undeserved blessing. A company reached out to me after seeing some photos I had taken for Moniker General (also a blessing), and asked if I would do a 2 day shoot for their Fall preview. It was a newer company with a small budget, and because I knew how hard it was starting out new, I negotiated down to a very small fee for 2 days of shooting over 10 hours each. I tried my best to be professional and write up a contract, as for shot lists, and let them know how many photos I would be giving them for the amount they were paying. When I got to the shoot, to my surprise, there were products upon products to photograph... and because of all the products, I realized very quickly that I would be taking and giving way more photos than originally agreed. But, the ladies were nice, and it was what I thought could be a big break for me, so I just went on and did my best to give them the most I could.
A couple months down the road, I started seeing my photos pop up on big instagram accounts, without any photo accreditation or acknowledgment. Suddenly thousands of people were seeing my photos, but no one knew it was I who took them. This was super gut wrenchingly awful. I had worked so hard for these ladies, gave them a VERY fair price for the full two days of shooting... and then to not be acknowledged, at all? To not be aware of all the companies my photos were sent to... It was such a bummer. Granted, I had originally asked for my photos to be acknowledged or tagged in the first contract write up, but again, I negotiated with the company and agreed on a verbal commitment of making sure to acknowledge some photos, but not every single one because "they would be using them so frequently". I only agreed and singed a contract to this prior before shooting because at this point, I thought the photos were only for them.
Long story short, I learned a lot during this first "big" job experience. And if im honest, it has set my photography back and discouraged me from pursuing it as hard and ambitiously as I at first was. Was part of it my own fault? Yeah, maybe. I probably could have asked more questions and really sought out what their plans for the photos were. But just like me, they were new at the game too, and I don't think knew themselves what they were planning to do with them. I guess I just trusted that they would be the first to understand the struggle of self-employment, and the unknown of new career changes and dream chasing, and that they would have done their best to support me as I was supporting them.
But, you live and learn. And sometimes the learning is tough. I'm starting to gain back the passion to support small brands and work with local business and small startups again. I still have a heart for the small guys trying to grow and make something of their dream and passion.
So even though my photos might not ever get the recognition for being on the popular instagram accounts or websites, I figured I can still share them here and say, look, it was me. I took these, and I gave it my all, and i'm proud of them too. And maybe if you ever see them posted somewhere, you might give me a little shoutout. Even though I might not get recognized, it's still fun to see my work being used. Fun Fact: One of these photos below has been being used as a profile photo for a brand with 97 THOUSAND followers for almost a year now. 10 points if you can guess who ;) Just kidding, it's been over a year now, and my harsh feelings are mostly gone. At this point, I realize that most of these brands using my work probably wern't even informed from the get-go where the photos came from. Such is life, right?
Thanks for listening, guys