It’s all happening at the zoo. I do believe it, I do believe it’s true.

Tonight finds me in a bit of a quandary.  On one hand, I feel fairly good about the crop of photos from the day.  We took a trip to the zoo and came back with a fair number of interesting subjects.  All’s right with the world, eh?  On the other hand, I can’t help but feel that I’m still really missing out.

The other day I printed several hundred business cards.  Since that time I’ve been busily trying to find ways to distribute them.  I’m a firm believer that photography magic is out there just waiting to be had right here in my back yard if only I can connect with the right people.  From my perspective I’ve done everything right.  I’ve put together a portfolio of my work, I’ve advertised, I’ve offered my services for absolutely nothing.  What else can I possibly do?

To be fair, the people at work are starting to take notice.  I’ve been asked to do some photography at our annual company meeting and to do some marketing pics at a site visit to a customer in a few weeks.  I won’t deny that I was absolutely beaming at both prospects.  The idea that a software developer actually has a creative side is a bit of a hard sell but it seems to have taken hold. So I won’t deny my giddiness but my analytical side still questions why I have ANY free time left at all. Part of me won’t be satisfied until I have a non-paying photography job every single night of the week. It really shouldn’t be THIS hard to find jobs for which you don’t expect to be compensated. Never in the history of the universe has it been so hard to spend one’s time in the unrewarded service of others.

Alright, enough philosophical meanderings. Today, as I said, we wandered ourselves off to the zoo. Lately when I find myself in a particular locale, I tend to play the “pick a lens and stick to it” game. It causes one to stretch as a photographer and helps to put a certain spin on the day. Today’s choice was the 8mm fish-eye lens but ironically the photo chosen for the day is with a telephoto that I gave up and moved to after I realized that I’d already taken the 3 pictures that lend themselves to fish-eye. So much for consistency, eh?

This particular specimen seemed rather attentive to our presence. By attentive I mean that he stared at the exact same spot for 20 minutes and we managed to move ourselves to that spot. Ahh, the beauty of photographic illusion. Sometimes the photo comes to you and sometimes you go to the photo. At any rate, so closes today’s post. Do you have ideas for things towards which I should point my lens? For the love of my sanity, let me know what those are. Like I said, I work for free. You certainly can’t beat the price.


  1. Have you considered creating a book of your works. You can make one for free on Once you’ve done that, you can promote it on your blog, website, facebook. You can give copies away to those you think might be able to help promote your career. I think it might open up a whole new avenue for you and can be a great marketing tool. Just a thought.

  2. Nice post. And funny. You made me smile anyway. Last year I decided to stop taking commissions so I could point my camera at subjects I wanted to shoot rather than at what the client wanted me to shoot. Delving into your blog, I can’t believe you really need ‘clients’ to get you shooting. You strike me as a natural self-starter. If you wanted the money, fair enough. But you say you are looking for unpaid work? Perhaps (probably – it is early and I haven’t had my caffeine fix yet) I am missing the point. Anyway, if you need the challenge, have you thought of trying a 365 project? I did one in 2009. I will probably do a post about it some time. It was a mixed blessing (boy did I whinge about it at times!) but it did make me shoot new things. I ended up with some nice shots that I would never have thought to take without the challenge of having to find a decent shot-worth-sharing every day.
    Another idea (I am on a roll now!) is to offer your services to non-profit organisations. In the 365 year I did the photography for my local junior school’s new brochure. Lots and lots of active kids in low light – now there’s a challenge! And I did a shoot for a local church restoration charity. Church interiors – tricky lighting!
    Oh dear, I have run on! Hope some of it is helpful and not just annoying.
    Super blog BTW.

    • R,

      Thanks for running on! I’ve taken your suggestion trying to push myself towards some non-profits. We’ll see what comes of it.

      As for he 365 project… yeah, I’ve considered it. Not really sure I need an excuse to photograph things but I feel rather short on different ideas. Long story short though, thanks for pushing me at the right answer. πŸ™‚

      • Glad to be of help! I hope the church or the zoo reply to you positively but even if they don’t, keep at it! I am sure you will
        Ps another idea. I wrote a series of articles for a local magazine. No fee but free advertising. I sold some greetings cards and some prints off the back of that. And it was fun anyway. Since you write well, why not give it a go? I wrote about our local historic inland waterway.

  3. Frame & sell your pictures – lots of restaurants, doctor’s offices and other places besides galleries are often more than happy to decorate their business for free or a small piece of the pie. My brother also submits photos for inclusion in things like local business calendars or things like that – gets the word around! It takes a lot of time…

  4. Free photography? Awesome. Non-profits are going to love you! The problem is a lot of them don’t know what they would need a photographer for until they go to put together a newsletter or brochure and realize they don’t have any photos. I would look at the community calendar in your area and pick out events that you’d like to shoot. Then provide the photos on a disk with your business card to the organizers. Rachael is so right – schools and churches could definitely use your help. Fundraising events too like walks or runs are great opportunities – everyone wants a photo after the fact so put them online and provide a link to participants.
    Newspapers are always looking for community content as well and they don’t have the reporters and photographers they used to. Make sure you submit your pics to them too!
    I look forward to hearing about your success (because that’s inevitable!)

  5. Wow, you cant beat that price for free. So that must mean you love what you do and i always say dont waiste your time on something if you dont love doing what chu do. Thats what life is all about but im sure when your able to build up a vast amount of stand out work, itll speak for it self someday and pay off buddy -,o

  6. You are obviously a very talented photographer as illustrated by your quality images. What hit me with your blog today, was that you are soliciting work with your business cards and most of your recent postings have been of bugs, landscapes and critters. Is this the work you hope to get? Were you looking to do product shots or people shots?

    Within the last 6 months, I’ve witnessed two very talented individuals ( one was an accountant, the other a graphics designer) burst into the photography scene and were overwhelmed with the response from friends, who helped spread the word and get them more business than they ever expected. In both cases, they took incredible pictures of what they wanted to take pictures of ( children and families or in the 2nd case, portraits and couples in contemporary designer, grunged up settings). Both posted pictures on Facebook and other social sites. Neither of them every used business cards until after someone was wanting to make an appointment. Their photography was their calling card!

    • Well, you are right that my photos almost never include people. The reason for that is that I just feel very … uncomfortable? Taking photos of people. I’d LOVE to but it requires a level of people skill that I still need to work on.

      As for the business cards, those are an outgrowth of my awkwardness around actual people. I think the cards make me feel a bit more professional so I don’t feel quite so odd about taking pictures. Anyway, thanks for the words of inspiration.

  7. The lizard has the William Shatner ‘James T Kirk’ expression of ‘am I supposed to mate with it or kill it’ Your quandary is one of the better ones that life throws at you πŸ™‚

  8. Start with friends and family, and be really frank at what you want with everyone else. And then keep repeating what you want at every reasonable opportunity (phrase it in a different way so people don’t get bored or annoyed). That would probably get more people to remember what you want and to help you look out for photo opportunities. Works for me to get what I want at work πŸ™‚

  9. If you go to the Zoo often enough, I do believe some of the wildlife there really does recognize you. I go at least once a week, and sometimes every day when the weather is nice and warm.

  10. You are very, very good. I love the subjects of your photos. I would be drawn to shoot them as well. I know zero about photography (still trying to figure out how to take a pic without camera on “auto”.) But I have two thoughts that may be helpful. I took my camera to horse shows to take photos of friends competing. I was deluged with requests to shoot other competitors, or hopefully approached later to see if I might have gotten a shot of so and so.

    Apparently photographers show up, take *everyones* picture, and if people win, or you have a particularly spectacular shot, they want to buy it from you. At $25+ a pop, with a new opportunity every 3 minutes, it might be worth it! Since you are drawn to animals, horse, dog, cat, reptile shows might be fun for you. Just be sure to watermark your images, and bring a laptop. πŸ™‚

    The second thought I had was enlist a friend to be your people person. A friend who enjoys people, engages well, etc can be invaluable in helping you both learn to do so, and give you a buffer while that’s happening. The photographer needs to focus on the subjects, so you brought an assistant to make sure everyone is taken care of. win-win?

  11. Are you looking for a photography project? Because I may be able to suggest a few of those… You could limit yourself to a certain subject matter, then go in depth trying to photograph it in creative and interesting ways. Like just pictures of the sky, or just pictures of water, or just pictures of paperclips, or coins. Or do a photo documentary of cell phones — that could be a good, valuable portrait of our times. Do those sound like challenges that would hone skills?

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