Day in the life of
Photographer – Thadeus Parkland
Each day varies depending on scheduled shoots or other events. A good portion of our work life includes travel to a location shoot, so preparation is key to ensure we don’t forget something important like a backup battery or SD card. The one consistent thing that has to occur everyday is reading emails and following up with our customers. This is key to achieving success – Customers have to feel valued and know you care about the end product.
A shoot requires a lot of prep time; understanding lighting, what the customer is requiring, making sure we minimize “trash” in the photo. Post Production work should not be spent removing something from the image that was not intended. Actual time spent capturing images is only 25% of the day, the rest is prep, setup, and teardown. I am very methodical with my time on location – my customers know in advance the estimated time they are paying for. If I have to bill them extra time, I make sure it was an issue out of my control, in fact, I have a disclaimer in the customers quote advising wardrobe and hair/makeup time are billable hours.
For us the end of the day is never spent reviewing files on the computer – post-production work always occurs the following work day with fresh eyes on the product. We always find something we missed, it’s part of the craft. I strive to eliminate this part of the process and continue to train my eye and perspective for future shoots.
The big Pro for me is the freedom I have to select the clients I want. It’s all up to me what I am going to shoot. I lean towards landscape photography (this is my favorite type of work) but enjoy location shoots for people as well (family events, location weddings) – all that said mean I get to choose. For the first year of shooting, I avoided weddings – People were just not my favorite subject. I got a call from a bride to be who asked if I would be willing to shoot their wedding in rural Georgia. Had she not been marrying my younger brother, I doubt I would have said yes. The end result was I had so much fun that I added that to my business offerings.
The Con for me with photography is inconsistent income. The freedom that comes with freelance work is amazing but you have to plan a budget and stick to it. Bookings ebb and flow – such as during the pandemic – you have to be smart about your business and make sure you have a cash reserve in case you go months without a paycheck. We will travel for a month seeking images in a foreign country and while we may take some stunning photos, the cost for food and hotel aren’t covered until we sell one of the works. This can be a real business killer especially if you use credit cards to make the journey. The fees and expenses (although some are tax write offs) can really impact your bottom line. Be smart about your money and realize you are a business person as well as a creative person. If you lack the business skillset – partner with someone who excels in the area!
photograph people, landscapes, merchandise, or other subjects. May use lighting equipment to enhance a subject's appearance. May use editing software to produce finished images and prints. Includes commercial and industrial photographers, scientific photographers, and photojournalists.