It’s time for a change, my friends.
My position at NASA more than fills my dance card and scratches all my creative itches. Eight-plus hours of planning, shooting and editing a day, five days a week, uses a lot of creative muscle. Most days, when I get home, I’m drained. I take care of the critters, make a meal, do some cleaning and then I’m thinking about relaxing.
But stupid me didn’t account for that when it came to the business.
I made the mistake, after moving back here, in thinking I could maintain my old routine of doing the same amount of photoshoots outside of my job. What I quickly realized was that there just wasn’t enough time. Even if I shoot just on weekends, I would still spend three to four hours a weekday night editing, emailing people, setting up the next round of sessions and maintain social media.
Ugh social media with all its demands and constraints. Every platform had its own criteria in what to post, when, etc. Hashtags, keywords, word counts, character counts, formats best suited for Google searches, etc. All the research to keep up with trends, changing platforms and such. So much time spent doing that.
Well, three months ago I decided it was time to make a change. I wanted time off for me. Time to relax, take a baking class, catch a movie, to go out and explore the area. Even, dare I say it, maybe go on a date or two.
So, I made the choice to get rid of most social media platforms. I deleted the Facebook business page and the Tumblr page completely. I almost stopped using IG and Twitter (which is still in danger of being deleted, mind you. Still thinking about that one.). The blogs went untouched but remained up in case someone wanted to see what kind of images I did.
The thought was, at the very least, I would free up a few hours a week by not updating them. The bigger thought was that the demand for new work would go down, too. Boy, was I wrong about that. Somehow, for some reason, I suddenly found myself in demand more than ever. I was doing three to five sessions, teaching two photo classes, and consulting once or twice every weekend. Add to that the additional editing time during the week, etc., etc.
Now, please keep in mind that I am not complaining in any way. I love what I do and I simply adore the people that I work with. I make the schedule so I know who’s at fault. For example, two weekends ago I started with a 3 am Saturday wake up call for a sunrise shoot at the oceanfront and I didn’t stop until 6pm Sunday. This past weekend didn’t require an early wake up call but was still full.
The goal I set out for three months ago was lost. A hard choice had to be made because I was burning out. Hell, I WAS burnt out.
So, after 32 years, I made a hard decision and here’s the announcement – I’m officially out of business. Which isn’t to say that I will be giving up photography entirely. I’m just seriously cutting down on what I will shoot. I haven’t done a wedding in a year and a half but I’m officially taking them, the events, the couples’ engagements and others off the table. Done. If asked, I’ll politely decline and give references to others.
From now on I’m shooting only fashion, fitness, and sensual. There is a fourth category – special topics. If it’s something that catches my eye, presents a challenge, or is a favor for a good friend, I’ll consider doing it. But what I shoot will be what I want to shoot and in the manner I want to shoot it in.
I will not be promoting myself anymore. I’m consolidating the blogs to one site. It’ll get updated when it gets updated. No more of this blog once or twice a week on the same date and time routine. Same goes for IG and Twitter. No more hashtag/keyword concerns. Social media, for me, will be a place just to show my work.
In fact, this will be the last post on this page. All future postings will be at www.markknopp.com. My goal is to have it up and running by Sunday evening. Bookmark it now.
I’m also blocking off two weekends a month off for me time. If it goes well then great, if there are still issues, then I’ll only shoot one weekend a month. Weekdays will remain off limit for shoots unless they are national holidays or in case of emergencies.
This isn’t good-bye, my friends. I’ll still be here, taking pictures and enjoying every moment of doing so. This is, rather, a hello to a new world with a new, refreshed and reinvigorated me. Let’s see where this goes, shall we?