This guest post is by Pavithra Meera Ramasubramanian, a San Diego-California based photographer turning passion into profession by photographing Nature, Portraits, and Lifestyle. Learning is the key and you can see her work progress by following her on Twitter and seeing her work on her blog.
Learning photography as an art and becoming a professional is a hard balance to understand. I just began my journey towards becoming a professional and this is the biggest lesson that I am still learning.
I love photography and my passion drives me towards it. So after finishing my Biology degree this past year I set myself to becoming a professional photographer. The one question that keeps running through my mind when I’m learning the ins and outs of this industry is: Are you working for yourself or someone else as a Professional Photographer?
Coming from a culture that strongly believes in biology or engineering as the career of choice, it has been very hard to endure the numerous questions and advice on why I shouldn’t pursue this field. Although career changing is not so uncommon these days, it has been hard for me to convince not only my family but also my friends that this is what I want to do. It was bestowed on me, a South Asian woman, that I should pursue a normal life with a safe job. And Photography, as I have learned, is not the normal or safe job according to the people I encounter.
I say this because I have had to sit through many birthdays and parties where people just hand me their point and shoot camera and say something like: “since you want to become a pro photographer … take our picture.” More than a compliment it had been said in a condescending manner. I go home thinking wait is that all I get to do? Where is the art or vision in photography if there seems to be little respect or little satisfaction of having composed something beautiful? So photographers just work to please others but not themselves?
These moments in the past really have brought me to ground to rethink photography and my vision. In that period, I started forming a huge gap between my camera and me. It was very difficult understanding what people want and what I want out of me. It wasn’t bad that I was questioning myself but the fact that I was questioning what I am passionate about was something I wasn’t ready for.
Everyone needs a good support system to be successful in what we do. Whether it is our family, friends or the best of all a good audience for our photography, we all need some kind of push to help us love our work. It was at my low point that my family gave me the right push. They began to truly believe in me by being right by my side and pushing me to take the next step. They guided me to start asking some serious questions to myself and to listen to my heart. I started to find my inner peace to know that you win some and you loose some. It was tough to deal with people who didn’t appreciate my work but it was even more grateful to know that I have a good group of viewers enjoying my photographs. It was these viewers who helped me understand that I have the ability to find beauty in everyday life.
For those of you who are just entering into this field and changing a hobby to a passion here are some things that you should consider and understand:
1. Take both forms of advice, good and bad – but apply what you know and feel is right, the one that helps you move forward.
2. Don’t do it alone- take all the support you can get- this is the biggest key to help you succeed.
3. And remember at the end of the day you have to answer to yourself- your thoughts and your happiness- if you do something you love, you will work hundred times harder at it and prove many people wrong.
You will soon find yourself in a place where you will know how to combine both the artistic world of photography and see that others are also pleased with your work. And learn that you have a clear complete vision of who you are and what your photography means to you.