A few days ago I was blasting Switchfoot on my iPod and tuned it to “This is Your Life”. One of the verses in it really made me think about it in terms of my life in general but I also started thinking about it as a photographer. it’s really a very simple phrase, but has so much meaning to it:

This is your life, are you who you want to be?

Try to put his into perspective as a photographer. I’m not talking about the photos you create or the amount of photography knowledge that you know, or how “good” you are at photography. Set aside the idea of how much money you make (or want to make), how many books you’ve written or contests you’ve won. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about you, who you are and if you as a photographer reflect that as well.

When you are photographing someone do you talk with them and treat them with respect? When you interact with clients are you fair and just, even though it is business? Are you kind to other photographers, even though they are the competition? Now I am of course under the assumption that most people want to be good, fair, honest and nice, but sometimes we tend to only want to apply that principle in our personal lives.

I’m not saying that you can’t have high prices for your services, or that you have to give all your “secrets” away to other photographers. For me photography is my job, it’s how I earn my living and it’s a very big part of who I am. But I want to run my photography business in a way that I can feel good about. I want to treat other photographers with respect and courtesy, even though they might be my competition. Part of how I do this is by sharing my knowledge with other people – that’s just a part of who I am.

You can be as cutthroat, rude and mean of a photographer as you want … but if that’s not who you are as a person then why are you that person when it comes to photography? Life is about people, it always has been and it always will be. Be who you want to be, be yourself and you can never go wrong.