Outside My Bubble

It’s been a little over four years since I first started hiring and working with professional photographers, and almost exactly a year since I took my first shots as a professional myself. Working as a photographer is maybe only 50% of my workday at the moment, and it’s definitely the fun half. I’m still doing a good bit of design, and I’d like to be doing much more photography. This week for example, I only have two still life shoots, and next week I’ll be shooting some more of our employees for advertising, but in between I’m still slogging my way through tedious reports and the other corporate design work I’ve been doing for the last seven years.

This is part of the reason I’m enjoying the photography work so much – it’s new, it’s exciting, and it’s a way for me to build on my creativity a bit. I’ve been complaining about the boring work I’ve had to do for years, and photography gives me an excuse to stay cloistered in my cushy corporate job a little longer. The question arises: Once I get my fill of corporate photography for my one big client, my employer, will I stay here being bored like I have been with the design side, or will I try to branch out on my own? Or will my other projects pay off so that I don’t have to worry about it?

Dipping my toe in to the wild world of photography outside my bubble is a bit scary. I read a number of blogs that are uplifting and encouraging. But I read an equal number of blogs that scare the pants off me. Some of these make me question my creativity, my ability to drum up business for myself, and whether or not I’m real or if I’m just a poser, an artist or a hack. I had an email conversation with Jayme Thornton, one of the first photographers I hired in New York (who does really great work, btw), and he said “you’re in a brave new world of photography bizness. It’s mean and changing.”

The “mean” part is what I’m worried about I suppose. There are so many amateurs crossing over to the pro side, that I often question whether or not I’m one of them. Technology has made the competition fierce, although to be honest, I wouldn’t be here without the technology advancements either. From the sound of it, I just need to dive in, no matter how cold the water is and see what happens. For now I’ve got the cushy job to protect me while I learn.

I am also extremely lucky to be part of my other project which I have no doubt will make me rich someday, and then I’ll be able to make photos to my hearts content with a couple of 1Ds Mark IIIs and a full array of Profotos without having to worry about making money with my art. Right? Right??

Next Bill Sullivan: Works


  1. I hope your other project makes you rich, too. Then I can quit my corporate job. In the mean time, just know that you are very talented and will eventually be doing only what you love. And I’m not just saying that because we are friends!

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