This article was sponsored by Jet2. All opinions are my own, but any links to Jet2 have helped support my work and made my trip possible.
One of my recent assignments was photographing and writing about a five-day trip to Madeira with Jet2Holidays along with a few other bloggers to put together a taster of some of the amazing things this Portuguese island has to offer. In many ways, it’s the kind of assignment I could have only dreamt of getting when I was starting out. The best part is, despite this being work, I loved every second of it. The mixture of great food, adventure and a vibrant outdoors scene made for the perfect combo to go out and shoot some photos. The experience made me think a little bit more about how I ended up getting this kind of dream work and the road that led me here. So, how do you find satisfying jobs as a photographer?
Have You Lost Your Passion?
No matter where you are on your path as a creative, it’s important to realise that as you start growing from a hobbyist into a professional, you may lose your love for what you do: a hobby can become a chore and a passion becomes a source of stress… Before you know it, you’re caught in a routine of shooting work you don’t enjoy. If you want to stick with it, you will need to adjust your course sooner or later.
The thing is, the road to learning your craft is usually rocky at best. I found that as I got more into photography and improving my work, I sort of forgot what it was that brought me there in the first place. I made my focus taking better pictures, and eventually, taking better pictures for clients. Before I knew it, I was burning out and losing love for photography.
The question then is, how do you make a career in photography without losing the love for what you do?
How do you get jobs that match your vision?
It might help to ask yourself this question:
What is it that led you to take up photography in the first place?
A love for exploration? A passion for the outdoors? Maybe it’s getting to meet new people? Now comes the fun part: plan a day or a trip around that notion. Then go out and shoot with the intention of exploring that notion.
Why Travel Makes You a Better Photographer
I’ve always found that traveling to new destinations keeps me on my toes and that’s exactly what I need to continue nurturing my love for photography. When I’m inspired, shooting comes as a second nature. It’s almost reflexive. Whenever I’ve felt myself slipping out of love with photography, I’d book a trip somewhere new and bring along my camera. As a result, my portfolio in the travel genre grew, and before I knew it, I found my career being pulled more in the direction of working with clients in that industry. That means, more than ever before, I have now found a comfortable intersection between making the kind of work I enjoy, and working with clients that enable me to do more of that.
Shoot the kind of Work You Want to get Hired For
As I continue to build relationships with dream clients, I also know I can’t stop going out and shooting for myself. I think the biggest challenge when you are working with brands on trips like this, is that you have a packed itinerary to get the most out of a short stay. That means you don’t get the luxury of waiting for divine morning rays, or the perfect light. It’s the reason why I always make it a point to book my own trips. It keeps things fresh and it means I can get lost in thought on photowalks. It keeps my passion for photography alive.
In the case of Madeira, I’ve already found myself yearning to go back and spend more time there. I could make a day out of shooting the stunning street scenes of Funchal alone. Between the sleepy shops, the vibrant parks and the delicious restaurants I can’t imagine I’d find myself running out of material to photograph. On my next trip, I’ll make it a point to explore more of the Levada walks up in the mountains on the northern part of Madeira. I found it almost meditative walking to the sound of rushing water and chirping birds, and looking for scenes that visually captured what I was feeling. I may even spend a few days without my camera, jumping into rivers on canyoning excursions or hitting the trails on a mountain bike.
So what is it you love? What got you into photography in the first place? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to see what kind of work comes out of this exercise, so feel free to tag me (@photoammon) if you post it to Instagram. I’d especially love to hear about you find more satisfying jobs as a photographer. And if it’s a new destination you want a recommendation for, why not hop on one of the Jet2 flights to Madeira?
If you do find yourself heading over, have a look at my guide on some great things you can do when you visit Madeira.