It was Monday, and I was already exhausted. The weekend was spent almost entirely editting the wedding from Korea from a few weeks ago and a series of test shoots and portrait sessions I’ve been working on. My turn around time for a wedding is typically 4-6 weeks, but I generally try to get them done as quickly as possible. I don’t do well with looming, over-hanging work.
But inevitably I let little things go by, a small portrait session here, a test shoot there, and next thing I know I’m staying up till 3am two nights in a row trying to finish all the edits by deadline, and then get up four hours later to work all day editing and do the same thing over again. The truth is I love it. I love late night editing, the dark shadows cast off from behind the couch, the quiet stillness resonant of a churning mind, and the focus....I love the focus. I wake up dreamy eyed from four hours of sleep, open a folder of photos to investigate, get to work and bring them to life. I’d like to get more sleep, but this is pretty typical.
The point is that your schedule as a photographer has no defined hours except the ones you make. And it’s really important to know yourself when making it; it can be your worst enemy or your best friend. You can work in the morning, work in the evening, split it up, change it around and back again. Most clients want shoots during the day, but you can edit whenever you like so long as it’s good and you get it done. Then there is the problem of booking clients, which typically happens between the hour of daytime, but basically making your own schedule takes time and discipline.
The fact is, it’s actually not that easy to make your own schedule. In many ways, it’s never really your own schedule. If you’re like me, you need to shoot to pay rent, so you’ve got to hustle and take the gigs that come. You may also have a family, and they are going to need your time too. You may have a personal, social or private life that demands your attention, and all these, I have found, have a way of determining what your best schedule looks like. For me, the best time to work is late at night after everyone has gone to bed or early in the morning when my mind is fresh and coffee tastes like god’s joy. It’s during these times I can focus and let go into my creativity. It’s when I feel most tapped in to my creative self.
This time Monday was a travel day. I’m in Utah till Friday, then another wedding Sunday. Then it’ll be Monday again, and I’ll be looking at a few more late nights to come.