By Allen McEachern
July 4, 2014, marked the ten year anniversary of when I registered Allen McEachern Photography as a business in Quebec. Looking back on those ten years I realized what it is that I love about commercial photography, or, what has kept me going. Here they are:
1. A Love of People. As a commercial photographer, I get to meet, collaborate, direct, and react to some very interesting and talented people. From heads of states, to celebrities, to every day folks, photography has put me in front of many people I would normally never had met.
2. Problem Solving. Common sense, and experience are powerful together. Every photography contract, assignment, call it whatever, comes with unique challenges that require individual solutions. I love the daily challenge of solving these problems both through planning, as well as on the fly as they arise.
3. International Events. Shooting international sporting competitions is one of the biggest joys I take from working as a photographer. International media to speak with, compare notes, the fans, and access to world class athletes all combine to create something dynamic. Not to mention the precision, beauty, and excellence of professional athletes in motion.
4. Visual Communication. Capturing a moment is one thing. Telling the story that surrounds that moment is another. Being able to visually communicate with a viewer I think is the reason we are there.
5. Creative Collaboration. When I work, I may appear to be working alone, but I am often not. Take for example runway fashion. I love to shoot runway because I am looking at the finished product in all senses. The design of the clothing, the craftsmanship of the garment, the hair and make-up on the model, the lighting, the decor, the sound, and so on. All of these elements combine to add a bit more to the final product. I love shooting fashion for this collaboration.
6. Physical Work. Never let anyone tell you photography is not physical. Often we work building sets, painting, setting up rigging, lighting, remote power generators, walking into remote locations with many kilos of gear on our backs. Look at photography and try to figure out how the shot was made. Think rock climbing. I love the physical challenge.
7. Travel. Who doesn't like to travel? I have to admit, this was one of the things I thought I would do more of, but the market has changed a bit. I still get to travel a few times a year for assignments, contracts, but nothing compared to the stories I heard from guys in the 70's and 80's. The beauty of travel is being able to take great shots, meeting new people, and the visual stimulation that comes from experiencing new surroundings.
8. Lifestyle. I have a family, wife, and three kids. We live in Mont-Tremblant, Quebec. The largest ski resort in Eastern North America is five minutes from my house. Often, on non shooting days in the winter, my wife and I take an hour or two to get about 5-7 runs in after we get the kids out to school. Not many people I know working traditional 9-5 can not do this. Photography has given me a very flexible schedule and the time to do the things that make us happy for which I am grateful!
9. Technology. I am not a geek! But I love new glass, updated camera systems, new software, gadgets, apps, and so forth. I don't go too crazy, but you need to keep up to what is happening.
10. Client Satisfaction. Photography is a great gift when done well. Delivering a completed job to a client can often be very rewarding, especially if prints or similar products are involved. We sometimes loose this with electronic delivery, but even then the same sentiment is alive. As photographers we are often working individually within a team. When the photo looks good, we all look good. The pressure can be great at times, the release is hearing the sincerity of a client's approval.