Why I Keep Seeking Approval from People Who Don’t Give Me the Time of Day: A Personal Journey

Why do I do this to myself? Why do I put myself through the emotional wringer of seeking the approval of someone who clearly couldn’t care less about me? I mean, seriously, why do we as human beings feel the need to seek validation from people who don’t give us even the smallest bit of effort? It’s a mystery that has plagued me for far too long.

So, I was recently hired to take photos of a product that I’ve been using since I was 15. I was thrilled about the opportunity, thinking that this would be the moment that this person would finally take notice of me and be proud of me. Yeah, I know, I should have known better. But did I listen to that little voice in my head? Of course not. I went ahead and sent this person a sample of my photos, hoping for a response, a reaction, anything. And what did I get? Absolutely nothing. Zilch. Nada. It was like I was sending my photos into the void.

But, you know what they say, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. So, here I am, once again, feeling like a complete moron for seeking the approval of someone who has shown me time and time again that they don’t care. It’s like I can’t help myself.

Why do we as human beings put so much importance on the opinions of people who don’t make an effort in our lives? It’s time to take a step back and ask ourselves what’s really going on here. Our worth and value as individuals come from within, not from the validation of others. So, let’s stop setting ourselves up for disappointment and start focusing on our own self-esteem.

Seeking approval from others is a natural part of being human, but it’s important to understand that our worth doesn’t depend on the validation of others. We must focus on our own self-esteem and recognize that we are valuable and deserving of love and respect, regardless of the opinions of others. And if all else fails, we can always fall back on sarcasm to help us get through the tough times. Because, let’s be real, sometimes sarcasm is the only thing that gets us through life.

A self-portrait – This painting was hanging in The Orlando Museum of Art and I was drawn to it.

Where Have I Been

You have probably noticed a lack of posts over the last two weeks and wondered…Where have I been? Let’s be honest you probably did not think that, and truth be told we all have lives to live and me not posting probably didn’t even cross your mind. That’s ok.

But I have been absent the last two weeks and probably will continue to be absent for at least another week. In the last two weeks I have traveled to Great Falls Montana, San Fransico CA, Los Angeles CA, Tempe AZ, and a few more cities in and around those areas. This coming week I will be traveling to Colorado, Oregon, California (again), and Hawaii.

The last two weeks have been an adventure, to say the least, and I have had my camera in hand at every opportunity, taking photos of my travels.

Some of these images have garnered an emotional reaction on my Instagram. So much so that I ordered a batch of postcards to be sent out to those interested. The postcard will feature one of the images above, but I am not telling which one. Those who want a postcard will just have to wait by the mailbox and be surprised.

I promise to update you on all my travels and such in the future, but for now, enjoy these images and I will see you next I get a chance.

Till then have a great day and make good art.

Is Photography Hard

Have you ever wondered why we don’t see more great artists anymore? What happened to the genius that was Einstein, Mozart, and Picasso? I am always amazed at how naive people chose to be because most people when they see a great artist, athlete, scholar, or musician just naturally assume they were born to that privilege. “It’s a natural gift” they might say. Rarely will these people ever think about what it took for that person to achieve the success they see today. Why? I honestly don’t know. Maybe they don’t want to compare their own lives to the life of someone who was willing to do whatever was required for what they wanted. Maybe they are afraid that if they look into that void all they will see if their own mediocrity staring back at them. Who knows?

This photo was taken on 35mm film. I am learning to take film photos again and this was shot on my Pentax SP 35mm Camera.

When I think of great people I have looked up to I often like to remember the story of Peter Dinklage and his first apartment. Before he was Tyrion Lannister he lived in a run-down apartment in NYC. No heat, AC, or stove to cook food. His landlord brandished a knife at him and his roommates several times and refused to fix anything. Can you imagine that? Can you imagine that as your home? Can you imagine sleeping there? Would you feel safe?

I can’t speak for Peter, but I have heard several interviews he gave where he talks about this time in his life, and all I can say is I see the sadness in his eyes. A haunting memory when he thinks back on that time. Was it worth it? Only Peter can answer that.

But that really is the question, isn’t it? When someone aspires to be great at something a sacrifice or two will have to be made. How many people are even willing to consider paying that sacrifice?

For me when it came to learning the art of photography, one of the hardest sacrifices I ever had to pay, was sucking at something. Growing up I had always had a natural talent for so many things. Music, theater, public speaking, and more. I never really had to apply myself to anything because everything came so quickly to me. I had no need to aspire for greatness because I was living on the high end of mediocrity. I was better at most things than most people and that was ok for me. Then…I picked up a camera.

I originally started photography to have something in common with my now ex-wife. She had several Nikon cameras and she allowed me the opportunity to shoot with one of her backups. The first week I started taking pictures I almost quit right then and there. My pictures were TERRIBLE! The composition was off, the lighting was either over or under-exposed, I had no idea what all the buttons did, and my photos looked nothing like the photos I had saved in a Pinterest folder for inspiration. The bottom line was I was a beginner, and as such had no knowledge, experience, or history to draw from. In short, I sucked!

See, now this is the part in the story where most people quit. I’m not naturally good at something? Oh well, not for me. So they give up. They put away anything that reminds them of their abject failure and move on to something where they can be a little bit better than everyone else.

The story I remember was in 2004 in CA. I was eating dinner at a friend’s home and his father, who was in his 60s, was bragging over dinner to me about how when he was my age he had done so much more stuff than I had. His tone was very condescending and I could tell he was VERY proud of himself. So I asked, “So what have you accomplished since then?” He…was…furious! I won’t go into details, but I was thrown out of the house and was never allowed to return…All because I asked one simple question.

So to sum a few things up…Is learning photography hard? Yes! I have been shooting for 10 years. I have read books, watched YouTube Videos, listened to podcasts, gone to workshops, practiced, failed, and did it all over again. Despite all of that work, study and effort I would describe myself as knowing maybe 1% of 1% of all there is to know and learn about photography. Is it worth it?

For me…The answer always comes to me when I work very hard on a photo and I get the exact image I was hoping for. The answer…for me…is always a resounding YES!

Another image I took on 35mm film. I stood outside setting this shot up for what seemed like forever. Most of the images on that roll of film did not come out very well, but this one…this one came out perfect!

So I encourage you to go out, try something new, and be brave enough to suck at something. You can do it! Thanks for stopping by. I would love to hear what you think about all this. Feel free to leave a comment or reach out on Instagram, Twitter, Patreon, or Vero.

SelfieWRLD Orlando

Last night I had the opportunity to attend a photographer & model meetup at SelfieWRLD Orlando. The event was sponsored by Pexels which I had not heard of until last night.

Now I am going to be honest, while I had been looking forward to this event all week in the moments leading up to the event I was filled with anxiety. Even driving to the event I contemplated turning around 5 or 6 times. But I got dressed up, left the house, and was going to be social god damn it! And I am glad I went. Not only was SelfieWRLD Orlando an amazing place I got to meet some very cool photographers and models!

I am actually surprised more locations and businesses like SelfieWRLD Orlando don’t exist, and those that do exist have only started gaining traction in the last 2-3 years, which is weird considering the last 2-3 years. SelfieWRLD Orlando is filled with individual booths, each booth having a different theme. It’s actually a great set up and I certainly will be going back for some fun shoots in the future.

Here are a few of my shots from last night. I have so many photos taken that I need to go through and edit, so make sure you are following my Instagram, Patreon, Twitter, and Vero to see all of them.

Also, don’t forget that my first newsletter comes out on Monday and we will be talking about 3 ways to take better photos on your phone.

Till next time keep taking great shots!

Thoughts on Freelance Photography Resources

I always thought if I ever became a published Author this Self Portrait should be my authors photo

I decided this month that I was tired of working for other people, and to pursue freelancing photography. This is/was a very scary decision as it means I will not have a “stable” income stream at the beginning of this new adventure. But I simply can not continue working for people who make bad choices, see their employees as slaves, and feel trapped in a job for the sake of a paycheck.

So here I am, once again trying something new and different. Something that honestly scares the living shit out of me, but something that, I hope, in the end, will be worth it.

Now, like probably so many others before me, as I pondered the idea of going freelance I did a lot of Google searches looking for articles, resources, and guidance on how to be a good freelance photographer, where to find work, and how to keep good clients. You would think in today’s world and with the vastness of the internet I would be able to find some good solid resources…but alas, I could not.

That is not to say that I did not find a plethora of articles and blog posts, because I did, but I could not find any that were of use or help to me.

Why? Well because they all said the same things just using different words. Every single article, blog post, online magazine article, etc all said the same things that freelance photographers needed to do. Here let me summarize them for you.

How to be a Freelance Photographer

  1. Buy a camera – Really? No shit Sherlock. Are there really people out there who don’t own a camera who wake up one day and think…”I want to be a Freelance Photographer” and then need to be TOLD to “buy a camera”?
  2. Set up a website – Again this seems like a no-brainer right? If you are going to become a Freelance anything you are basically starting a business population 1, and that business will need a website so clients can find you.
  3. Build a Portfolio – OK so I will be honest I was surprised at how many photographers try to “become photographers” without any kind of a Portfolio. TBH I was even more surprised at how many people don’t even know what a portfolio is or how to use a portfolio. So rest assured this is a topic I will be covering in a future post. Bottom line my advice to anyone is to get 10 good portfolio pieces BEFORE you go into photography as a business.
  4. Get your first client – Wow really?!? I need a client?!!? I NEVER would have thought of that! There were SO MANY sites that had this on their articles, but when you drilled into the HOW you find clients the material was surprisingly lacking.
  5. Create a schedule – This was often an advertisement for some sort of calendar app that was sponsoring the post.
  6. Edit your photos – OK but who is giving clients unedited RAW photos?! Anyone? Bueller, Bueller, Bueller? Again these kinds of articles usually advertised software like Adobe Lightroom in these posts, but I am often surprised how few photographers talk about the importance of editing. Taking the shot is honestly only part of the work. Editing is just as important as taking a good picture.

Pretty basic stuff to be honest, and if you ask me these kinds of articles lack the fundamentals of running a business, which is what Freelance is. Thankfully I have run my own company before when I ran my own gym called Geek and Gamer Fitness, plus I have worked in business, sales, and marketing for over a decade. So I plan to write a bit about the real fundamentals that I think are important about being a Freelance Photographer. Some of these topics will include…

  1. Basic & Advanced Sales Techniques
  2. What is a CRM and how/when/should you use it
  3. Cold call techniques
  4. Where to really search for clients
  5. How to set your rates, and how to find clients that won’t make you discount yourself
  6. The care and feeding of editing photos

So stay tuned to this blog for future articles. Also don’t forget to check out my Instagram, Twitter and my Patreon for all my updates, thoughts, photos, BTS, and more.

Some promotional photos were taken at Paddywagon Irish Pub Lake Buena Vista