Monday Meditations | Hold ’em or Fold ’em?

I don’t consider myself a deeply religious person, though I believe there’s a greater power that we know very little about how to tap into. When I wake up in the morning and the first thing on my mind without blatant prompting is the state of my photography business and where I should go (or not go) with it, something tells me I should seriously consider these thoughts. These are not new thoughts, either.

I have to keep it real and follow my head no matter how loudly my heart protests. My balance is off, and I need to work on that. The bottom line is that the end isn’t justifying the means here. No matter how much time I put into what little marketing I can afford, it’s just not resulting in the amount of business I need to keep this business, this dream, afloat.

There’s this blog I follow – a photographer in California, and I see a lot of myself in this person as far as her ideals, her passion, and her sense of humor (yes, even her love for her dog, Polo). Her family came from a very poor background but never gave up. They fought through many struggles and adversity and survived. She dropped out of law school to pursue her dream of being a photographer. She didn’t go to art school and doesn’t have a degree remotely related to photography. She is self-taught and in just a few years has become a very well-known wedding photographer in the industry and even teaches workshops. The most recent workshop was in the UK!

There’s a huge difference in her leap of faith and mine. Her leap was made with no kids in the picture and with a backup plan. She could have finished school it if didn’t work out. I, on the other hand, cannot give up my full-time job to throw myself 100% into photography. Without the luxury of time, the coveted pole position will never go to me. This isn’t a pity party, it’s rational thought. It’s real.

Wedding photography doesn’t fit with having a full-time job. While life events are definitely something I love to capture for people, I think I would find it hard to separate myself from the heightened stress levels of key people and family members of the bride and groom. This is partly because I don’t understand the desire for perfection and the freaking out if something doesn’t go as planned. The type of wedding I desire to shoot is a laid-back, no frills, small wedding. Picture a bride in a simple dress, a flower wreath on her head, and cowboy boots on her feet. LOVE! {Note to other photogs: I would consider being a “professional second shooter”.}

So I thought I’d turn my focus on portraits. One word: Economy. No one wants to spend money on portraits these days. These days, people are buying point-and-shoot cameras or the consumer level DSLR cameras, popping on the kit lenses, setting the dial on “P” or any of the fancy picture icons below that, and capturing their own memories. That’s great – not so much for me – but really, good for them!

With one of my daughters being a senior in high school this year, I held out thinking I could get my foot in the “Senior Photo” door this summer. I’m finding that there’s not even enough room to squeeze my big toe in that door. Teenage boys don’t care, and teenage girls follow the crowd … or the glossy ads sent home at the end of their junior year. A couple were full-size magazine ads! How do you compete with senior photo factories? Again, not a pity party, not whining, just keeping it real.

So, I’m sad to say (but fairly confident in doing so) that 2012 will likely not see Sheila Karner Photography, LLC. When everything comes up for renewal at the end of January, it will probably go away. Only this blog will remain, probably with a new name, and I will continue as a “semi-professional” photographer. You’ve got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away, and know when to run! I need to fold ’em, but I want to stay in the game. I’ll just move to a smaller, quieter table. 😉

There ya have it! How’s that for keeping it real and laying it out there? I will never lose my passion for photography. It will just take on a new direction. My blog theme has changed in preparation for transition. I have an idea in my head that my heart completely agrees with, but that’s for another post some other time. You’ll just have to wait!

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