Sunday 14th July, 06:45, Heathrow Airport
Today I’m a little more stoked than usual. Today , I’m heading to Heathrow Airport, boarding a plane, and heading to my very first international photography job!
It was only a few weeks ago that my sister sent me over an ad from Flashpack – a travel company who organise pretty rad trips for solo travelers across the globe. Natalie, my sister, had been on a couple of their trips herself so recommended them in a heartbeat. The instagram ad featured people hanging off the edge of a cliff with the words
“can you take photos like this?”
And I thought
“well… yes. Yes I can!”
This was the first time in a long time I truly felt excited about applying for a job. I felt like I had the skills they were asking for. I felt confident but still also I had that “nah, I’ll never get this job” feeling that is so common with people who spend their whole lives with imposter syndrome hanging over their heads.
But, for the past year or so I’ve been focusing. And working. A looooot. I’ve been heading out on trips, shooting things that mostly didn’t even make it into a finished film. I’ve been working on building a portfolio of work that I felt proud of.
Problem is, though, I’m never proud enough.
There’s always ways I should be better. Always excuses why I shouldn’t start applying, reaching out to brands. Just one more month, then I’ll start applying. One more video. One more, one more… and so on.
Alongside this self doubt I’ve found it really quite difficult to navigate the murky waters of professional outdoor photography and instagram influencer marketing photography.
Influencer vs. professional photographer?
As a marketer myself, I know the allure of using an influencer over a photographer. Because, well… influencer’s tend to come with more perks. They tend to be cheaper, they have the added benefit of exposure, and a lot of them are actually damn good professional photographers and videographers (or they have talented people doing that stuff for them).
So coming into this world as new, fresh, has-no-contacts photographer is haaard. I could go into the super professional Rachel Sarah Media mode (which I tried) but it doesn’t feel me.
I also dabbled in wedding photography but that also didn’t feel like the right kind of creativity for me. As much as I enjoyed the day, I always felt too stressed in the run up to the wedding.
I’m happiest in the outdoors.
I am happiest stood atop a mountain with the camera resting on a tripod, even if it’s a failed sunset. Or waking up in the car to rain – there’s a kind of peacefulness to that kind of greeting to the day.
Finding my way into this adventure and outdoors and world as a new, non-influencer, freelancer (woah, mouthful) who has an open relationship with social media, is a strange thing to get my head around. How do I market myself? How do I, with zero contacts, separate myself from the amazing talented people who are all looking to go into the same thing as me, often with huge followings?
But, as strange as it is, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m happy that I’m doing this the way I feel most comfortable with, the way I feel most me with.
Here’s to the start of a beautiful adventure in Peru, and a nod to my love of transparency, creativity, and travel.