100 things completely right about our jobs

Sometimes we all need reminders.  I wrote this in 2007 for Sportsshooter.com, with the help of the inspiring photo geeks with aphotoaday.org.  Enjoy.

1. We could be sitting in a cubicle right now processing paperwork….for the rest of our lives.
2. Seeing something that no one else sees.
3. Looking at people for an extremely long amount of time and not having to feel creepy about it.
4. The sound of a shutter…and someone not noticing.
5. Realizing my entire portfolio adds up to about 10 seconds worth of life.
6. Traveling to weird unheard of places to shoot unheard of things.
7. Experiencing both the best and the worst parts of peoples lives, sometimes in the same day.
8. Enjoying the fact that the longer you are in the business, the smaller it gets.
9. Sleeping until noon.
10. The ladies think it’s sexy.
11. Showing people things they have never seen ever and having the responsibility to introduce them to it in a way that doesn’t completely sensationalize the issue.
12. Wanting to show someone their photo on the back of the camera.
13. Getting to a really cool assignment and realizing you are the only one there to witness it.
14. Everyone has a story and they always want to tell it. All I have to do is ask.
15. Hurry up and wait.
16. Being my own boss.
17. Seeing the best (and worst) of human nature.
18. Having that one photo that will come in handy for blackmail down the road.
19. Saying No.
20. Hail Mary.
21. Bringing 4 lights, tripods, battery, extension cords, backdrops, soft boxes, clamps, and an assistant to realize you want to shoot it ambient.
22. Listening to my iPod in my car with the windows rolled down, just cruising for moments and sweet light.
23. Lying awake at night thinking of new story ideas and waking up the next morning and forgetting them.
24. Unwrapping a new piece of gear and throwing out the instruction manual.
25. Understanding what only half your camera can actually do.
26. Seeing a scene that make you never want to take the camera away from your face.
27. Being the first of my friends to get sunburned…because my job made me go outside on such a great day.
28. Giving back.
29. Finding a patch of light to call your own.
30. History is made in front of me.
31. Seeing a story develop.
32. Avoiding a foul ball.
33. 6 columns.
34. A bad day making pictures is still better then a good day swinging a hammer.
35. Spending $20,000 in gear, but liking a photo made with a $25 Holga better.
36. Making a bride cry.
37. Hanging a friend’s photo on your wall.
38. Looking down to see your name and photo printed on a laminated press credential that most would pay thousands for.
39. Overpricing yourself and landing the job.
40. Every time you tell someone what you do, they NEVER say “Oh, man, that must suck.”
41. Changing someone’s mind.
42. Creativity.
43. Curiosity.
44. Chicken salad.
45. Citizen submitted photos make our photos look really, really nice.
46. People are getting weirder and weirder.
47. “What channel are you with?” “4.”
48. Pretending like you don’t know what you’re doing when someone hands you a point-and-shot to take a group shot.
49. Having more expensive toys than your kids.
50. Running into a past photo subject.
51. Having an excuse to approach a complete stranger and find out who they are.
52. Talking shop after hours.
53. 1-111-111-1111
54. Never waking up to the same two assignments, shooting the same damn thing, or meeting the same damn people.
55. Forgetting where your flash is…since 2001.
56. Finally being able to function after being pepper-sprayed.
57. Warped bookshelves courtesy Arbus, Webb, and Nachtwey.
58. f/1.4
59. Seeing your name in print.
60. Shooting a photo just for yourself.
61. Putting down the camera and listening, because people will tell you the damndest things just for being a stranger that cares.
62. Not caring about your level of geek.
63. Killing the competition the next day.
64. It takes one picture to say what a 30 inch story can, and it translates into every language imaginable.
65. First 3 songs.
66. Arriving at spot news and not being hassled.
67. Secretly despising college photographers who make you look like a chump because they are THAT good.
68. Learning something new.
69. Knowing that your photo made a difference in someone’s life.
70. Working to preserve the moments everyone remembers but forgets to capture.
71. Co-worker’s Christmas cards.
72. Taking the moral high ground against doctors and lawyers when it comes to annual salary.
73. Couches, floors, and the guest room.
74. “Wow, that’s a big lens you got there, buddy.”
75. Jersey numbers on front, back, and shoulders.
76. Having a friend come back from a war zone safely.
77. Finding a new photographer’s website.
78. Being a nice guy/gal.
79. The skill of eating Chick-Fil-A at 65mph.
80. Paper clip on an email.
81. Traveling the world on someone else’s dime.
82. Knowing that somewhere in the country, you photo has been made into a magnet on a grandmother’s refrigerator.
83. Letting a kid chimp your photos.
84. Avoiding the pack mentality.
85. Leaving the suit and tie on a hanger in the back of a closet.
86. Soaked coasters, sticky tables, and frosty mugs at a workshop.
87. Sitting on and entirely too dirty hotel floor with another photographer and looking at each other’s portfolios.
88. Dropping that last image in the FTP folder.
89. Payday.
90. For every manipulated image out there, there are thousands made with – gasp – a camera and an eye.
91. Mom and dad calling to tell you they saw you on TV almost get nailed by a running back.
92. Shaking a new hand.
93. Walking out to the driveway at 7am to see your photo on A1.
94. Realizing that that picture you thought was out-of-focus is actually newspaper sharp.
95. Media parking.
96. Putting a name to a face.
97. Being part of a photo communities.
98. Giving a voice to someone who needs it.
99. Shooting 4 assignments, coming home, trying to think of 100 things completely right about our jobs.
100. When all is said and done, getting paid to take pictures all day – what really could be better?

15 thoughts

  1. Pingback: 100 things completely right about our jobs | Redlights and Redeyes | The Click

  2. Really tremendous!! These are all great and they are what connect us all as photographers, image makers, and human beings. Happy New Year. PS. Yes, I like getting the best seat in the house and also traveling to weird unheard of places to shoot unheard of things.

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  4. Great list! Had to lough a lot. Some parts are also true for a local newspaper photographer like me. My favorites from this list:

    10. The ladies think it’s sexy.
    33. 6 columns.
    48. Pretending like you don’t know what you’re doing when someone hands you a point-and-shot to take a group shot.
    58. f/1.4
    59. Seeing your name in print.
    94. Realizing that that picture you thought was out-of-focus is actually newspaper sharp.
    95. Media parking.

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  6. Chip. I loved this the first time I read it and this time around it proves to be a shot in the arm when New York is gloomy and work is slow. Thanks for the little reminders that make this job kick so much ass. Going out to chase the sweet light. Happy holidays dude.

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