Hopefully, you haven’t experienced this, but some of you may have. It’s the same trouble that lots of photographers find themselves in after their business starts to take off.
Photographers are easily one of the hardest working groups of people out there, but they aren’t always good about sharing that workload or asking for help. Each year photographers and other creative professionals work themselves down so much that they break down and have complicated issues that can sometimes be avoided.
Starting your own business is complicated, and by doing so, the business will have a strong influence on three huge aspects of your life; your mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing.
Your business will have a significant impact on you mentally from the very minute you decide to launch it. There will be more aspects of your business that you have to learn on the go than you could ever imagine. Running a business is a steep learning curve, and even those with a degree in business are still learning every single day.
There will be mentally challenging days when you are tracking expenses, creating business plans for the future, or figuring out your taxes. Every day will be mentally taxing because there is just so much to remember and the lists of things to start, continue, and finish is literally never-ending.
It’s so important to take at least one day a week where you do not do anything related to your photography business. This is the mental breather you need because there are countless examples of burn out and a loss of focus because your brain cannot keep up that pace forever.
As much as your business is mentally exhausting, it’s also physically taxing. Late nights, long days shooting, and little sleep, if you aren’t taking care of the mental part, can lead to total exhaustion.
Photographers are always forgotten in this area of the difficulty because taking pictures itself is not difficult. However, being on your feet for up to 15 hours straight with heavy camera equipment strapped across your body will feel like you’ve been at a powerlifting competition the next day. We are walking, jogging, climbing, squatting, kneeling, bending over, and more all for hours on end.
Then, after the shooting is done, you must clean up the studio and then hunch over the computer for hours editing the shots you took. Doing all of this might also cause you to stay up late and wake early and not only does our body start wearing down on the outside with aches and pains, but it also starts wearing down on the inside, too. Your immune system gets weak, you get sick easier, and your body starts to fight off sickness by going into overdrive which exhausts you even more.
Soon, you’ll have doctor bills and missed photo shoots while you are completely laid up in bed unable to do your job due to overwork.
While this one might seem the most obvious, there is an enormous emotional toll in becoming a photographer.
There’s pricing, being able to relate to and connect with a variety of people, and getting really attached to your work only to see it criticized. It’s just the reality of the profession, yes, but if you aren’t taking those feelings and releasing them in some way, shape, or form, then it will eventually boil over.
There are plenty of ways to help curb these emotions and release them in a healthy way. Working out at the gym is a great way. Going for a walk, taking at least one day off, and learning to brush off those critiques are a few more that will help more than you know.
Being a photographer, and being a successful photographer, are close in monetary value, but are far apart in learning how to balance the mental, physical, and emotional ups and downs that you are bound to experience. What’s most important is that you start with these three parts in mind, so you won’t get one or two years in and realize you have built poor habits. You may be eager to dive in and work really hard to build your business but make sure you are not sacrificing your mental, physical, or emotional health to do it.