Chase Jarvis, a man that I always admire for not only his amazing work but for his thought process as well. Every time I read his blog it fills me with thoughts about being a full-time pro photographer. In a series of two posts, he brings up the question of “do you want to go pro or stay amateur?” This was a question that I battled with a long time ago and I think that most of you will come across it during your time in Korea, as well.
What happened to me was simple. I was working for the AFC Champions League and during the final part of the season in Korea I got talking to the event organizers. They mentioned about positions in Singapore and it would be great if I could travel around with them a bit more. It was a great idea, be a pro football photographer in Asia! Then reality struck that I would have to quit my job for something that I wasn’t sure would or could support me. The fact was that I was working only for a few hundred bucks a game and was doing it more for the thrill than anything.
When my school decided not to let me travel for the final game, they went with another photo company and have been with them ever since. Was it the right move? Maybe, maybe not, but what you have to realize is that especially in Korea, you have to choose between both jobs. It is not so hard to make a decision when one job includes your apartment and the other is not quite legal unless you are on an F-series visa.
Being an amateur is the opposite of going pro. Going pro is….…uncomfortable, challenging, and requires laser focus. That’s not to say it’s not incredibly rewarding, but you catch my drift. Going “amateur” is cush.
The line above stuck with me. In many ways, we all dream of taking our hobby and going to the next level. However, what we fail to realize sometimes are the challenges and the bumps in the road that many pros face and they strive to achieve their dreams. When looking at Chase’s site, I only dream of hitting the slopes and getting the same high quality shots or getting those unbelievable HDR shots that Trey Ratcliff gets. However, there are drawbacks and there are risks to taking it to the next level. Furthermore there is the uncertainty.
That is a big one for me. Chase said “If you’re wondering if you’ve got what it takes to go pro, try it. Seriously. Quit what you’re doing now and go there. You’ll know soon after you’ve tried to go there whether or not you’re in the right spot.” At this stage in the game, for me, I am not sure that I can do that. Will my style and skill land me a job here in Korea or abroad? Not sure. Am I a one-trick-pony when it comes to getting great shots?
For me, the biggest challenge of doing professional jobs was bringing back the results that they expected. It was being consistent no matter what the conditions. Sure we all can go out and take a bazillion shots and get lucky with one or two, but when they are paying you for a one time event, you have to be on the ball for every second of that event. There are no do-overs and no second chances.
With being a hobbiest, you get to make mistakes. You get to go out and screw up every shot and go home and say “meh, I’ll go back there again…” then hit delete. It is cush! However, I will leave the chose up to you. Here are the links to Chase’s Articles: