Blog: You are the Investment

When starting out in your creative career you will find that you need equipment, lots of it. At first its hard to put your hard working money into something that you aren’t even sure about. You may look to professionals and feel so far away from their level.

When I first started out in photography, I didn’t believe in myself. It took me forever to finally buy a $800 dollar Rebel Canon. The price tag seemed like a million dollars. I remember going in to the store and realizing, if I didn’t buy this camera, I would never get better at my craft.

That winter I traveled to Australia. I was so excited to finally use my camera. The last night I was in Sydney, I left my belongings in a friends car, including my camera. The next morning, everything was gone. Stolen. My heart sank knowing all my photos of the trip were gone.

I returned home and didn’t take another photo for months. I figured my dream to be a photographer was dead.

I was allowing money to control my creative passion.

My dad found an old film SLR film camera at the local Goodwill. This time the camera was $100. The amount seemed a lot but I missed taking photos.

Even though film is limited, buying that camera was the best thing I ever did for my art. It helped me learn what I needed to be a photographer. I began sharing my photos with my friends on Facebook. To my surprise, friends and family wanted to hire me.

Every weekend I was booked with a shoot. It seemed too good to be true, doing what I love and getting paid for it. My film camera soon stopped working. It was time to buy a new camera. I wasn’t going to let money stand in the way of what I love. I wanted to get the new 7D, the question wasn’t, “Is it worth it?” but, “Was I worth it?” I placed a bid on eBay, leaving my destiny in to their hands.

I won. When I received the packed, I didn’t feel worthy. It was overwhelming. But I overcame those feelings, I knew I was worth the investment.

This battle never finishes as a creative professional. There is always new equipment to purchases. The key is being wise on what you spend money on, and if you really need it.

Every side job I get from photography I put that money in to a “creative fund”. I then use my creative money to buy the next item I need. Beware, if you are looking to buy something expensive, make sure you will use it. If looking for a lens, buy what you would use most. Test out lens and see what you like. I bought a few cheap ones that now I wish I would have saved up for what I needed.

If editing is your passion, save up for the software. Painting, save up for paint brushes. Don’t let the money stop you from growing and learning.
While you wait to save your money up, you can do the next best thing: read books about your craft. This is probably the best type of investment. Reading books about storytelling, photography, poems and so forth will enhance your creativity. I’ve read some amazing books over the past few years and posted blogs about them. Do a search on my blog for “books”.

How do you invest in your talent?