Over my photography career I've worked very hard to get to the point where I am today. To be able to shoot any subject, at any time, and make money from the shoot. It's work like this that I live for, to be outside enjoying a beautiful day with friends, shooting photos for fun, and be working all at the same time. My stock agency, Getty Images, has allowed me the freedom to shoot like this, and there are a lot of ways out there to obtain this kind of freedom as a photographer!
Action sports photography has been my focus since day one. I started off with a Nikon D50 in my bag shooting my friends hitting bike jumps that we had built, and skiing in the backcountry. It was actually one of my friends who motivated me to pursue my photography career in the first place. To be outside shooting action in amazing locations with friends was a dream come true. I didn't realize it at the time, but what I was doing was staking my claim in the photography world as an action photographer.
One of the pieces of advice that has helped me get to where I am, was to stick with, and always focus, on what I wanted to be shooting. Spending time perfecting that specific category of photography made my work far better and mades me a top choice for that type of work by clients. The more time I spent out having a great time with my friends and perfecting the art, the more I was becoming a known photographer for that type of work.
I've taken many paths over my career, and this diversity has also made a huge difference in obtaining more freedom as a photographer. By sending photos to magazines I was spreading my name throughout the industries and still shooting exactly what I wanted. Working with stock agencies allows me the freedom to shoot whatever I want, whenever I want, and make a profit off those images over time. Local clients hire me for day shoots that provide yet another source of income and more time out shooting what I love.
The point I'm trying to make here, is that there are TONS of ways to obtain photographic freedom, or the ability to shoot just what you want to shoot all the time. By putting the time in, you can create your own job and freedom. This is all part of the American Dream, to love what you do and make a great living while you work. If you truly enjoy what you do, you'll never work a day in your life!
It takes time to get better known and make a great living, but with lots of hard work, passion, motivation, and drive, you can make it happen! Though it can be tough at times to see where your photography career will take you, keep focused and remember to enjoy every minute of the ride. It's not about being at the top and making millions of dollars, it's all about the journey and learning along the way. Hard times will come and your mind will occassionally be plagued with thoughts that you can't make it, just keep pushing through!
I'm happy to say that it will pay off in the long run, and you'll be happier because of it. So now that you have some inspiration and motivation, get out there and keep doing what you love!