Monday, 27 May 2013

Knowing what you don't want

It struck me recently that sometimes it's as important to know what you don't want to do in your career, as it is to know what you do want. Maybe that's obvious. Maybe not.

I had cause to think about this in more detail during a recent photography workshop weekend. A couple of year's ago Arran bought me a new Digital SLR camera and an introductory course, so I would learn how to use it properly. It was a great idea. When you have a decent camera you won't get the best out of it by leaving it on the auto setting.

SPW Intro to DSLR Photography
The workshop was with Sydney Photographic Workshops and it was great. I haven't put my camera back on the auto setting since the first night of the course. Since then I have made a conscious effort to improve both my technical photography skills such as knowing which settings I should have my camera on to the best results in each setting, and also improving my "eye". I have done some additional one day workshops with Sydney Photographic Workshops including People Photography and Travel and Documentary.

SPW People Photography Workshop
Of course the best way to learn is not to continually do workshops. You need to find ways to use your camera more often and practice. I have done this by participating in Instagram challenges like Photo A Day run by blogger Fat Mum Slim, the 7 Vignettes challenge run by Jen Bishop at Interiors Addict (mainly using my iPhone), asking if I can photograph events and generally just trying to remember to take my camera with me a bit more often.

7 Vignettes challenge

Why am I doing all this? I'm not looking to change careers and become a photographer, but I want to be able to take better shots to include in my blogs, use photos and videos in employee communication as part of my HR role and have better family shots. Plus it's a creative outlet.

When the special invite arrived in my inbox asking if I wanted to go away on a 3 day photography workshop with lots of different shoots it sounded really fun and a chance to improve my skills a little more. Sydney Photographic Workshops always provide a great experience so I booked in straight away. That was months ago. When the workshop weekend actually came around it was at the back of 3 weeks of constant travel with work. I was exhausted. I wanted to stay home.

It ended up being a great weekend and I'm sure that I improved my skills but the weekend reinforced to me that I didn't want to do photography full time. By the third day I was at photography saturation point. Living and breathing photography for 3 days straight was too much.  It reminded me of how important "work experience" is when selecting or changing your career.

When I was in grade 10 I got to do work experience at a recording studio. I had been thinking of studying music technology at the time. I had a great week and had lots of fun, but I couldn't imagine doing that job every week. It was a valuable experience.

Tell me about your career. What you have learned that you don't want to do?


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