I’m writing this blog post from as, first and foremost, a student and then as a photographer. I am all too aware that as a student and photographer, who has worked for clients (albeit mostly other students), that sometime in your photographic career/ artistic studies, you will end up doing a job/work that you really don’t want to do. Whether it is for money or for a better grade, I advise you to stop.
The worst thing that you can do is to create work that someone else tells you to do.
Because it will kill your creativity and passion.
If you are dealing with clients and they want you to shoot something that you are not particularly interested in, then my advice to you would be to try and put your own spin on it. If you can’t do this, then make a deal with the client and tell them that you will shoot the images that they want, but you want to shoot a few extra images where you get to decide the set up/ styling for the shoot. Remember, you don’t have to put the images you give to the client in your portfolio. If you have a favorite image from the shoot that the client didn’t like, put it in your portfolio. That way, the image that you like will show off your personality through your portfolio and you will be a lot happier showing potential clients work you are really passionate about. At the end of the day, working with clients is a collaborative process: they have come to you (or you to them) because both parties have something to offer the other.
One of the main situations I find students in is a debate I like to call Education vs Creativity.
I am in the middle of studying a degree and, like most people; I want to get the best degree possible. Sure, I’d like to get a first. That would be awesome. I would be happy with a 2.1 or even a 2.2 but I don’t think compromising my work for it is worth it.
The main thing I hear a lot of people say when I ask them about their degree work is ‘my tutor told me to do this piece of work, but I don’t really want to do it. But then I don’t want to fail if I don’t do it’.
Unfortunately, this is the crux of doing a degree.
Do you choose to create work you have no interest in for the sake of getting a great degree or do you do work you are proud of and get a lesser degree?
During my first year at university I chose the first option. What do I have to show for my first year of a degree?
I shot a shockingly small number of photographs (than you would expect from a photography degree) and none of them will ever see the light of day. Being told what to do is not fun. It does nothing for me.
Because of this, from the start of my second year, back in September, I have chosen the latter.
I would rather get a lesser degree, but have a portfolio that I am happy to show potential clients and be satisfied with the knowledge that I can openly talk about my work and the process behind rather than saying ‘I created it because I was told to’.
I find it is such a shame because I feel that in many ways the education system can really restricts students who study creative subjects. Art is a subjective thing. There is no right or wrong answer and opinions are not facts. Just because your tutor doesn’t like the work you are doing doesn’t mean that you should stop. In fact, you should continue because you are doing something you are interested in.
So, would you prefer to get a better degree but work you don’t like or a lesser degree but work you’re proud of?