My name is Rob, and I'm a quitter. A little less than a year ago I was working my ass off. There was my day job, which took up 50 hours of my time per week. Then there were the two different websites I was shooting for which took up 3 nights a week and at least one day of my weekend.
Both of the websites I shot for were looking for people to play photographer on the weekend, not actual photographers. This was about perfect, because I was under the impression that I had no idea what I was doing. I just knew that I liked photographing things, and some people were dumb enough to pay me for it.
I was having all kinds of fun shooting sports, and events around town. So much fun, in fact, that I had really considered trying to get into photography as a career. My friends and family, being the encouraging bunch that they are, seemed to think I could probably even pull it off given the right circumstances.
It would turn out, the right circumstances were right around the corner.
One day at work, I was browsing Craigslist lusting after new(old) gear and seeing what kind of photography gigs were to be had around Huntsville when I ran across an ad from this company called 'Google'. The ad mentioned the position of Google Trusted Independent Photographer. The idea was that Google was going to take StreetView indoors and create virtual tours of small businesses.
*** SCAM ***
That was the first thing than ran through my head. Then I thought about the two websites I was currently working with, and that I found them both on Craigslist. I decided to apply thinking, surely, I'd get turned down. If it turned out to be on the level, this was pro level shit, and I was just a putz with a fancy camera.
It turned out to be on the level, and I wasn't just some putz with a fancy camera. After the phone interview went surprisingly well, and finding out a little more about the program I had a real decision to make.
I'd need nearly $2000 in new equipment, and I'd need to start a business, and I'd need to find 30 hours a week to dedicate to this program.
I bandied about for a few weeks, trying to determine whether or not this was a jump I was willing to make. I talked to everyone I could think to - my friends, my parents, co-workers, bag-boys at the grocery store, you name it. I needed all the information I could gather from anyone who was willing to voice it.
A decision was made. After I secured a loan from The National Bank of Rob's Parents, I called my contact at Google and told her I was ready to make the leap.
There was a bit of training to get under my belt, as well as new gear to buy, and paperwork to figure out to start my own business. By shortly after Christmas, I was ready.
By mid-January, I was on my own. I had my three test shoots on the books. I'd made the big time - professional photographer and business owner. Or so I thought.
I was having a rough time closing sales. There were lots of folks interested in the project, and what it could do for them. What they weren't interested in, was forking over several hundred dollars to make it happen.
I never fancied myself a salesman. There were obviously some illusions of grandeur that this whole Google Business Photos thing would just sort of sell itself. I figured Huntsville being the tech-y town that it is would jump all over this sort of thing once I, and the other photographers town, got the name out. I poured over sales tactics. I became an ambassador for the chamber of commerce. I did everything I could think of to get this project off the ground.
Huntsville wasn't ready. It still isn't.
I busted my balls for nearly nine months to secure a whopping 9 shoots - just enough to keep my certification current, but not nearly enough to make a living doing it.
Come July or August, I wasn't ready to give up, but I was actively exploring other avenues to make a living using my picture maker. I thought about trying to get into real estate using my newly acquired panorama gear, and consequently dropped a boat load of money on software to allow me to closely replicate what I was doing with Google.
It was then Craigslist came to the rescue again. I found an opportunity to join a company doing architectural/real estate type work. Due to the stars aligning, or divine intervention, or finding my NPP, I landed the gig. With the lens I bought with the sole purpose of shooting concerts, my interest in architectural photography, and the clout that comes along with being certified by Google, I had all the tools necessary to make this new job happen.
My new found adventure with this company lets me travel all around the south-east taking pictures like this:
Since taking this new job, I've even sold some of my artsy-fartsy stuff to display in a local business, and started doing projects for a local magazine.
My day job as a parts guy is in the past, as is floundering, trying to make a living selling photos to business owners who are all too reluctant to put their feet in the water.
It's right about now - 2:40 on a Tuesday morning that I can say this;
Let me lay down the things that have gotten me this far, and leave them behind. The journey I'm about to embark upon will not be what I started with, but it will be something wonderful.