The End of One Project, the Beginning of Another {North Phoenix Photographer, Melyna Fang Portraits}

8:12 PM

Last year at this time I decided to begin a 365 Project. Proudly, I did complete my project, missing only one day (which I made up for by posting twice the next day) due to complete and utter fatigue. This may be the first ever New Year's Resolution I have ever fulfilled! However, by focusing on my 365 Project and posting the photos to my Instagram page, I focused less and less on the business end of my photography, barely touching my website/blog this past year. I had intended on updating my blog with selected photos from my 365 Project as I progressed through the year, but, frankly, I just found it tedious. All my creative energy was going into my personal photography, and some business photography. I had reverted back to a hobbyist-level photographer.

The last few years I have been disappointed by the commodification of photography and the trend of consumers looking for bargains rather than purchasing out of "brand loyalty,"  or for style and quality. A personal friend even advised me to lower my pricing, but I do not want to sell my photography based on being a "good deal." Rather, I wish to attract clients who enjoy my style of work & appreciate my business ethics, and are willing to pay a little more in order to make me their personal photographer for the long term. 

As I began photography as a business, I found that much of the inquiries I received were requests to copy some photos seen on Pinterest. While I enjoy perusing Pinterest for inspiration (and I do have a Pinterest page of my own), I don't like photographing some of the "cheesier" photos, nor being required to photograph outside of my style. I don't like my body of work looking like that of every other MWAC (mom with a camera) in my market, either. I want to be unique, set apart from other photographers. I became resentful of my business after a while and found no joy in my photography. I would sneer at my cameras in disgust as I walked passed them. I barely even photographed my own kids as their childhood disappeared through the ravage of time.

Before I started my 365 Project, I never considered myself an artist since I cannot draw or paint or sculpt. I simply have the knowledge to operate a camera that most people do not. At least, that's what I used to think about my photography. Through forcing myself to photograph a subject and post it every single day, I find that I do have an artist's eye. I certainly have the artist's personality: constantly wavering between self-assuredness and self-doubt. I, like other artists, also wish the world to see my photography and appreciate it, but would also like to see that appreciation convert into dollars in my bank account. I also take my photography extremely personally and enjoy having loyal clients who continue to return to me for their photography--for I take that as proof they appreciate my photography more than they appreciate any random photographer providing a better deal. I treat my loyal clients like family, and show my appreciation of their appreciation by under-promising and over-delivering. Much of my photography I have gifted to clients because I want to lift them up and offer a simple kindness through my photography. 

Through my 365 Project, I have found joy and fulfillment in my own personal photography again. I actively looked for inspiration in researching other artists--including Renaissance painters, Greek statues, Victorian photographers, turn-of-the-last-century photographers, modern photographers, pin-up artists, 1980's & 90's avant garde photographers, Hollywood glamour photographers, and commercial photography and fashion models from the 19th century till now. I have been inspired by friends who are, what I would label as "natural artists," who draw and paint and post their work on social media. I have found that I want my work to be more artistic, but, conversely, I wish my work to also be marketable as commercial work. I desire for others to see my portrait work as skilled, and to remind the viewer of vintage portraits or classic paintings. I want to improve my photography and learn more about the art of photography. It seems the current generation's appreciation for photography has devolved to the lowest common denominator: the most photos one can get for the cheapest price. I truly desire, by people seeing my work, to contribute, in some small way, to the appreciation of photography being elevated to a higher level. 

In 2017, I have several goals. I will continue to develop my style of photography while providing heirloom/gallery quality photography and portraits, including style and boudoir portraits, to clients, friends, and family. I will learn how to attract commercial clients in need of marketing photography or custom blog/social media photography. I also would like to work more on photographic still-lifes and other artistic photography for clients' custom wall-art. I will focus less and less on family photography, as that market is flooded at this time, but will, none the less, be happy to provide the service upon request. 

This year I will be photographing the less-demanding 52 Project, in which I post a photograph once a week for a year on my Instagram account. I hope to do more than once a week, but I don't know that I can make myself stick to another 365 Project. This way I'll still be doing regular shooting, but I'll have more time to think about what I will be photographing. And, perhaps more time to devote to my website/blog. I invite you to continue following me on my Instagram page to see my 52 Project this year. And, of course, if you haven't already, please "like" my Facebook page to receive the most current updates and special offerings.

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