Saturday, December 08, 2007

Go for it!

I'm very fortunate to have a career that I love. I don't dread going to work at 3 am when I have an assignment to shoot and I don't count the days of the week looking for the weekend.

There was a time in my life, like most everyone, when your uncertain as to what career you'll pursue or what you'll do for a living.

Will that choice of career be the right one for me or not? We all know someone, maybe even yourself who has studied and graduated with degrees that are not being used in their current careers. Sound familiar?

I've been thinking about this a lot recently. I have a lot of opportunities to speak with young people about making career choices and I enjoy doing so. I enjoy sharing my experiences and the choices that I've made in my life and career. One group of people I enjoy speaking with are high school and college students. I remember what a confusing period of time it was for me.

This is a very competitive world with vast opportunities everyone. I know that I would rather be doing something I love as a career than dreading going to a in some office cubicle M-F, that's just not for me. I want young people to know that they can follow their dreams and be happy doing what they love, whatever that is. Being a pro ball player, sale associate, doctor and heck, even a photographer. The important thing here is that you pursue something that you are passionate about. Life is to short not to do what you love.

This coming week I will have an opportunity to speak to 3 groups of high school students studying photography. I met with their teacher several weeks ago, I was very impressed with their program. The students are developing their own film and printing in a professionally equipped darkrooms.

I contacted the school in regards to speaking with their students. I know, that if I had met someone like myself when I was their age, I may have found myself sooner than I did. It wasn't until I was 27 years old that I discovered what it was that I had been looking for. The short story about my start is HERE.

When I was in high school in the early 70's, the only people coming to career days where the armed forces. If only I had met a working professional photographer back than and learned that you really could make a "good" living shooting pictures...who knows where I'd be today. Life works out in funny ways. I don't mean to ramble on, but it is my hope that I will make a connection with some young individual that is looking for some direction in their live and may began considering a career in photography.

I remember clearly the time when I "KNEW" what I wanted to be when I grew up. A tremendous weight was lifted off of me, and I had direction for the first time in my life. It's not easy growing up, as I stated earlier, the world is very competitive but there are so many opportunities available to all of us.

If your a young individual seeking a career in photography I'm excited for you! There are so many areas of specialties in the field of photography to consider, wedding photography, portraits, editorial, advertising and corporate. If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know where my interest are. You can see my work HERE.

I chose corporate location work for the following reasons. I love to travel, I love the challenge of often creating something out of nothing, I love to learn new things and I love the "creative freedom" that corporate work allows me. The majority of my work is self directed, meaning that I rarely travel with an art director or other creative representative. My clients hire me because I am very pro-active when it comes to taking photos. I don't wait for things to happen, I make them happen, I'm hired to create images. I'm given some general direction for the photography that the client or design firm is looking for and I am expected to deliver. Quite honestly, I consider myself an art director with a camera.

Another reason why I like corporate work is that there seems to be more stability. Companies will always need their assets and personnel photographed. I believe this is particularly true when it comes to corporate annual report work.

I know you've seen those posters before, "If you dream it, you can become it" or something like that. Just do what you love and the money will come.... You'll be a happier person for pursuing your dreams. Just do it!


Steve G. said...


Thanks a lot for sharing your thoughts and knowledge with us in this blog. I will be returning regularly.

I also wonder if you have ever considered teaching your own seminars in person? I'm sure the demand would be huge.

Happy Holidays.

Martin Joergensen said...


Thanks again for a great post - and right you are. Helping youngsters getting started is very important, and wouldn't we have appreciated if someone had inspired or helped us? I would for one. I actually tried becoming a pro back during my first year at university, but failed due to too many photographers turning me down - and probably too little self confidence. I could have started by myself, but lacked the funding and maybe the courage.

I have partly told the story here:

Since then I kept on shooting, and lo and behold, people started buying my pictures! I still can't make a living from it, but it does pay for gear and an occasional bottle of wine.

Keep posting. I really enjoy you ramblings - both on and off location.


Sam said...


Thursday is my last exam of my college career, and all I have heard while getting my photojournalism/art degree is that there's no money in photography. I kept at it, because to me, it's not work. But I like to eat and have decent equipment like the next guy. Is it possible to stay in the field and still make enough to be comfortable. By the way, I would say I have decent skill with a camera (momentary lack of modesty)


Michael Carney said...

Thanks a lot David! I am still in school (studying wildlife) but in the last year I have been giving serious thought to photography as a career(of course there is the obvious combo there). But I've been held back by my own insecurities about my photographic skill.
I wish someone would have come to my highschool and talk to us about possible careers in art and photography.
I also agree with Steve about giving seminars in person. I have learned a lot in the last few months by watching your videos and checking out lighting techniques (Thanks DH!).


David Tejada said...

Sam: Keep at it. As you know, I've been shooting professionally for 24 years. It is very possible to make a very good living shooting pictures.

I have two newer cars in my garage, live in a beautiful 4 bedroom home, have insurance (medical, life, disability, etc.)and have a retirement plan that will allow me to do so with honor. All provided by my hard work and persistence. Let me also add, I have no debt. I'm not saying that to brag, just want to point out that it can be done. I'm only 52 and plan on shooting until ...

All of this does take time, the point is that I was the one having the fun putting it all together. Your friends may be making more money that you "at first", are they really doing what they love? If so, great, everyone including yourself can have it. Good luck with your chosen career. DT

Chris Hepburn said...


As an 18 year old I can relate to everything I have just read. Over the last few months I feel my path has become more clearer, and like you said, I'm going for it!

Thanks for your post,

I'll be sure to keep checking back.


P.S. Love your work!

Mikerobat said...

Thanks for this great post, David. I'm a 21 year old guy, struggling through college because I just don't want it enough. Most people tell me "do it because you gotta", but I'm just not built that way (though I am trying). I must have the desire in order to put all of my energy into something, and photography is what I want. I mean, my parents think I'm nuts for not wanting to settle on a career! But anyway, I just wanted to say thanks for being one of the few people who doesn't think its obsurd to go after your dreams.