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Monday, June 18, 2007

Getting Through The Down Time

The unique lifestyle that we have as professional photographers can be challenging when the work isn't flowing in

Getting Through The Downtime “What do you do all day?” she asked. She was an upwardly mobile, fabulous clothes-wearing corporate mover who made truckloads more money than I did. She was 23 and calling me out. Her assumption was that a 23-year-old photographer like me plodded through the day pretending to be important and made very little money. To dispel that rumor, I immediately ordered a round of drinks for her and her five friends. Everyone was impressed and, for the moment, I quelled the condescending suits. I quietly excused myself and called my credit card company from the bathroom to make sure I had enough room left to cover the looming tab.

Appalled by her assumption about my career, I set out to prove my Prada-clad nemesis wrong. (At this point, my career consisted of a lot of model tests; some of them I even got paid for.) The next morning, I woke up and made the killer to-do list.

1. Steal ideas from The Workbook to expand portfolio so I can get more paid jobs.
2. Call model agency about more paid model testing.
3. Call model agency about shooting free model tests for new image ideas.
4. Location scout for new image ideas. (See item one.)

This is what actually happened that day:
10:15 a.m. Cafe Trieste, Sausalito, Calif. Order one medium triple cappuccino and sit down with a two-year-old copy of The Workbook to get image ideas. I decide that I'm better than 60% of the photographers in The Workbook and smile at my self-proclaimed ranking.
11:30 a.m. Wonder aloud how these hack photographers can afford a Workbook ad and then pray my credit card isn't rejected when paying for my cappuccino.
11:32 a.m. Tip liberally to celebrate successful credit card transaction.
12:30 p.m. Talk myself out of calling the model agency by assuming that they're at lunch and go straight to item four on the list: location scouting.
12:35 p.m. Receive call from model friend who wants to have lunch.
1:15 p.m. Have lunch near a place that could have great locations.
3:00 p.m. Tip liberally to celebrate successful credit card transaction.
3:30 p.m. Go with model friend to model agency to theoretically schmooze agents for work.
3:35 p.m. Talk to receptionist about how I was supposed to be location scouting that day while waiting for model friend to finish talking to her agent in the other room.
4:15 p.m. Accidentally find killer location in downtown San Francisco and talk to model about shooting there at the end of the week.
6:00 p.m. Celebrate location find by having a drink with model friend.
8:15 p.m. Explain to model friend that I had to buy a new camera, which is why my credit card didn't work and promise her headshots for life as a thank you for picking up the tab.
9:15 p.m. Cafe Trieste, Sausalito, Calif. Celebrate conquering item four of to-do list with a glass of wine. Pay cash.


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