Laser focus

Once again, I’m moved to think – and blog – by something (actually two things) that Chase Jarvis has written.

It’s that time of year when, with a new tax year starting, you have to think about your priorities for the next 12 months. Okay, you always have to think about those, but it seems like the ideal opportunity to consider starting up new lines of business.

For a while now I’ve been thinking about starting up a small company, separate from my main photographic concerns, through which I can work with one of the larger markets that’s available to me up here in North West Lancashire: social and family portraiture. I’ve no doubt that there’s a market there and that I could sell to it and that it would probably result in a decent return for me.

And on Wednesday evening, whilst toying with WordPress themes for the website that I was planning to set up for that little business, I realised something: I don’t actually really want to do it. Not right now, anyway.

The truth is – and it’s one of those truths that I should have realised sooner but didn’t, goodness knows why – that social photography doesn’t excite me. It’s not that it’s something that’s beyond my abilities, not at all; I get on with pretty much everyone and I enjoy shooting family portraits to a certain extent, but I can’t imagine, right now at least, getting up out of bed in the morning and being excited about shooting family pictures. That’s not to say that I won’t do it if asked – that would be foolish – or that I think it’s beneath me or any such nonsense. Far from it.

In fact I want to go out of my way here to make it clear that I’m not saying that I look down on that kind of work or that I don’t respect the people who do it. I have oodles of respect for them. It’s a job that takes time and dedication and lots and lots of hours to make sure that you’re doing the best you can for your clients. And that’s exactly why I don’t want to do it right now.

I have my own focus, and it’s in a more conceptual, fuzzily-defined space than social portraiture. If I don’t have a laser focus, if I don’t dedicate myself absolutely to being the best at what’s in my head and in my heart right now, then I’m just going to be mediocre, and that’s not good enough.