It’s About Time

I’ve been slacking again.  On the blog that is.  I’ve been getting my other site with my photography work finished and completely stepped away from this blog.  But life is good, and when life is good I often forget to write about it!  I’ve been getting all of my ducks in a row and making my new business plan and just feeling pretty motivated.

One thing I actually kind of pride myself on is living by my philosophy of “Money is easy to come by, time isn’t.  So spend your time wisely.”  I know we all need to make money to live in this world, but I have only had 3 real jobs in my adult life.  And by real jobs I mean where I had to be somewhere at a certain time in the morning and couldn’t just take off on a moment’s notice for a day or a few weeks.  I worked at a warehouse when I was 19 for 10 months.  That was barely a real job, but I had to work 6 days a week and be there at 7:30 AM every day.  I mean I got to pull pranks on my boss, so that is partially why it is barely a real job.

I also worked for my dad, while he is a slave driver and probably the hardest worker I have ever seen, I am his son and knew how to work him.  Not a real job even though it kicked my ass every time I worked with him!  I delivered Pizzas for four hours a night when I was in college.  I averaged about $25 an hour or more, so I kept the job for 4 and a half years!  It was seriously easy work, had some very attractive waitresses to flirt with and the owners treated me like family.  I only worked 16 hours a week and paid my rent, car payment and had money to go out!  I was also taking photos on the side so that helped.  The only time I really stopped taking photos was in the mid 1990’s when I started playing music almost full-time.  My band played a ton of shows which is also why I just didn’t want a job that would cut into playing music.

When I moved to Florida (for four years) I worked at a carpet store for about 5 months, I was promoted to manager but I had to quit.  The owner was a thief and so were some of the people I was working with.  Sorry, I’m not writing checks for stolen property.  Technically this was a real job as I had real responsibilities.  There is my 2nd one.  After this job, I started my own business.  I was a handyman.  I ended up getting approved by the city to work on historic homes in Orlando.  This was fun.  Most of my days were about 3-6 hours of work, very rarely a full week.  This is what happens when I make my own schedule!  This could have easily turned into a real job, but I moved back to California.

I moved back to California in May of 2005.  I got married in July of that year.  I coasted by picking up side jobs and the occasional photo gig.  Then in December I got a job working construction.  Within two months of being there I was promoted to lead carpenter and was one of the top paid guys working there.  This job lasted just over a year.  This was a real job, but it was a fun job working with a great group of people!  The only reason I left was because someone made a major mistake and it cost the company a ton of money and work.  While some guys were laid off, some were going on unemployment, I chose to leave because I couldn’t get enough hours and I knew other people needed those hours more than I did.  I still had side jobs and photography to pay my bills.  This was real job number 3.

Since 2007 when I left this job I have only worked for one other person aside from myself, and that was just part time when he needed help.  Now I take photos, I even drive Uber!  But I still spend my time wisely.  I refuse to keep a job I dislike.  I refuse to work at something I do not enjoy doing.  I love playing music, I love taking pictures, I love having most of my day to spend with my wife, my pets and doing whatever it is I like to do.  I probably should care about money more than I do but over all of this time there is one thing I have definitely learned.  I can always make more money, I cannot make more time.  I’m 44 and I love life!  I don’t worry about tomorrow, I don’t regret yesterday.  I live now, I live in today.  If you’re not happy, do something right now that makes you happy.  I can make all of the business plans I want, but if I don’t take care of myself today I cannot take care of myself tomorrow.  You know what you need for you just like I know what I need for me.

I didn’t plan on writing all of this down this morning, it just kind of came out.  Hopefully anyone reading it can find their own little bit of inspiration from it.  If anything, just take a moment to enjoy something for yourself today.

This photo is from my front yard, palm trees and snow capped mountains today. 🙂

Palm Springs by The Average Jim

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Being Flexible

Last week I had a fun shoot with Sarah.  We had been talking about it for a very long time and finally made it happen!  She is a Yoga instructor and unfortunately for me, she is moving to LA.  We finally got to shoot and she is an excellent subject!  But now she will be in another town, and in Southern California, 2 hours may as well be another state! I’m kidding of course, but we did have a great time during our short shoot!

My last post was about me finally working out a little, well I am still doing it!  I have not noticed a difference yet, but I’m sure in about 6 months from now I might notice a little.  Of course I am eating better and working my way more and more into a vegetarian diet, sometimes even vegan!  This is huge for me as I grew up on steak and potatoes!  But I feel so much better, like all the time!

I am not a health freak by any means, I am just doing what I can to feel good as much as humanly possible!  Not just physically but also mentally.  I won’t get all political, but I don’t like factory farming so I try not to buy food which contributes to that.

Now my goals are pretty simple, work out a little more, eat better and maybe try to get at least one more shoot in with Sarah before she moves to LA!

Sarah by The Average Jim

 

Beach Bum Body

Today I started to mildly work out again.  Nothing too crazy!  A few years ago I started doing the P90x workout and it really was not for me.  I just don’t really have the desire to be that in shape.  I probably should have the desire a little more than I do, but I guess this is why I’m starting small this time.

I am doing a 30 day workout challenge, it’s pretty simple so I won’t go into all the details, partially because I don’t want to be embarrassed by how simple it is and I want to stay somewhat motivated!  But I figure if I can’t make it through a 30 day challenge then I might be in trouble!  So far day number one was easy!  Isn’t day one always the easiest?

With all of the time I spend behind the computer and sitting on my ass I really need to do something to get back to being at least a little active.  I blog a lot, I answer a ton of emails every day and it seems like I am on the computer way more than I used to be but I still do the same thing!  I can’t say it is all bad, I get to edit photos that I have taken, talk photography, music and whatever else I want to talk about.

Plus since it is still January I have plenty of time to get my beach body in shape!  Here is a photo of my friend, model and an amazing personal trainer, Sydney.  I’d hire her to train me but she would kick my ass in the gym! 😉

Sydney by The Average Jim

El Gato Classic in Palm Springs, CA

This past weekend I got the chance to hang out at the El Gato Classic in Palm Springs.  This is a killer event for anyone who is into skateboarding!  So many of the old school guys were there, skating the pool at the skate park and on day two still killing it on the vert ramp.  I felt like I was watching old skate videos with my friends as I was able to see Christian Hosoi and Tony Hawk on the same ramp again!

Eddie Elguera, the host of the event and who it is named after, is a seriously nice guy and just wants to give back.  As I watched this event from a journalistic point of view, I saw Eddie himself being a fan!  Taking photos of the bands, the other skaters and always making time for the fans!  All of the skaters were happy to sign skateboards and t-shirts and just hang out with the crowd.

This was a fun, family friendly event open to all and it didn’t feel like I was a bystander.  These skaters and everyone who was part of the event treated everyone like family.  I would hear someone talking to a skater about a video they saw them in or a ramp or pool where they skated together back in the day and no matter who it was they loved to hear and share their stories.

I had a blast and can’t wait for next year! Here are some photos I shot.  This event brought back such nostalgia for me that I really wanted to shoot it the way I remembered seeing images in the magazines 25+ years ago!

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Think Kindly of Yourself

I have kind of made some changes in the way I do things recently.  More of going back to the way things were a few years ago.  Taking photos because I want to, hanging out at the beach or in the desert or wherever simply because that is where I want to be and what I wish to be doing.

Over a year ago I made an agreement with myself to simply focus only on the positive.  This is much harder than it seems!  Even today I have already had to tell myself to not let the negative get to me.  The trick is in knowing the negative will show itself, but how you react to it is the deciding factor.  I have not perfected this trick yet, but it really makes every day life so much better!

I was letting the photo industry get me down, letting my living situation get me down and it was affecting every part of my life.  One day I just woke up and decided I wasn’t going to let the negative get to me anymore.  It is what it is and I need to enjoy my life.  Talk about making a major change!  Business got better, my personal life got better and every day got better and still gets better!

I didn’t find God or anything like that.  I just found my own perspective and chose to only allow in the positive vibes.  The negative ones can stay outside!  On a fairly recent trip out to the Salton Sea and Salvation Mountain I saw a message painted on a little building.  This also helps me keep things positive….. here is to new adventures!

Think Kindly of Yourself

Walkabout

Whenever I get frustrated, or if I ever feel like I need to change my pace or make any change in my life I always think of someway to go on walkabout.  Now this doesn’t have to be any grand gesture, it can be as simple as taking a walk on the beach, maybe going on a small road trip or even just taking the afternoon off.

I am definitely one who believes in taking time out from daily life and I truly enjoy the journey on the path of self discovery.  Life is about learning and growing, at least to me it is.  So if things become stagnant do something to bring at least a little bit of change into your life.  Change is good!  Of course don’t go out and quit your job just because you read this….. unless that is what you really want to do, but that choice is yours!  And maybe knowing that you have that option and you are in control of that choice can help guide you in your thoughts.

Life is full of options, it is deciding which options to take and which ones to let pass you by that is the difficult part.  So for now, I’m on mental walkabout.  It will come to me, it always does.

Monique by The Average Jim

Just Be Happy!

So many people say in the photography industry that it is about who you are not what you do.  There is a person out there who claims that anyone can do what you do, but you are what makes it different.  I agree in some ways, yes the secret ingredient is you.  But not everyone can do what you do.  You are the one with your vision.  You are the one who sees the world through your eyes.  Nobody else sees things the way you do.

I like the life of a beach bum, I don’t need to make a lot of money so I don’t really try to.  I make what I need to live and enjoy the rest of my time.  But that is my goal, it isn’t a goal for everyone.  Some people want to make lots of money, some want to have lots of time, some just want a regular job with regular pay so they don’t have to think about anything but their own life on their time off.  Everyone is different, everyone has a different goal, there is nothing wrong with that.  It is just one more way of saying that not everyone can do what you do because they have different end goals than you.

Yes, be unique, but be unique with everything, don’t assume that anyone can do what you can and don’t assume they can’t either.  Just embrace what it is you do and do it well.  It doesn’t matter what anyone else says, and it doesn’t matter if someone else is trying to copy you.  All that matters is if you can answer yes to the following question.  Are you happy doing what you are doing?  If you said yes, keep on repeating the process.  If you said no, then find out what makes you happy and do that, over and over and over!

Happiness is not overrated!  Try it out, you just might like it. 😉

Lucy by The Average Jim

Social Media and The Beach Bum

Lately I have been talking to photographers about Social Media Marketing.  I think the biggest flaw photographers have when dealing with social media is trying to do too much and not really understanding how it all works.

For me, SEO and Social Media Marketing is something that should be used to build your business or your personal profile, not a combination of both.  And honestly I am talking about being a photographer, not a celebrity and not trying to become famous.  Honestly, I have fewer followers than a lot of people, I don’t tweet as much as others in my industry and I don’t overload the Internet with word vomit just to get my name out there.

Using these tools the right way is actually very easy, but unfortunately there are many out there who tell you that you need to be everywhere and flooding the web with your logo, your brand and your @putyournamehere.  The problem is, people are putting these things in the wrong places!

I was just at a photography convention where everyone was putting their @putyournamehere everywhere saying “follow me” and I didn’t follow any of them nor did I put my name anywhere.  Why would I?  Sure, I have mentored other photographers and I could be getting my name out there to have more people hire me to help them with their business, but I am a photographer first!  I make my living off of being a photographer so I gear my social media towards my potential clients.  Plus, the photographers I work with refer me to other photographers, word gets around.

My point is, people think that followers are followers and therefore are potential clients.  This could not be more wrong!  Just because people know who you are, does not mean they will ever hire you.  And I know there will be several people who disagree with me, and that is fine, honestly I like it when people disagree with me.  I like it because I know my system works and I show up in google and am able to target my audience exactly how I want to.  So go ahead and do it differently, all it really does is help me!

The thing to remember is you have to do what is best for you and your business!  There are several right ways, and the only wrong way is the way that doesn’t work for you!  It is worth putting the time in to actually learning who your client base is, once you know who your clients are, and I mean exactly who your clients are, then you can start targeting them.  Until then, you’re just filling up the web with pointless babble.

Emmy by The Average Jim

Inside The Lens

This isn’t the first time I have discussed this topic on a blog, but I have been away from here for a long time and I am finally ready to get back to my beach bum life!

For those who don’t remember, have forgotten or who have not been to this site ever before, I am a professional photographer based out of Ventura, CA.  My main work is fashion photography, boudoir photography and lifestyle photography.  I am also a semi-professional musician and avid blogger.  I have also been called a guru of sorts.  My background in philosophy definitely helps when working with people and especially when I mentor other photographers.

But enough about me, I will be updating my “About Me” page soon enough.  All that matters now is that you know I am a photographer and most importantly, a beach bum.

I was speaking with a photographer friend earlier about the magic that happens inside the lens.  When I work with my subjects, quite often it is just me and the model.  I usually have an assistant for my boudoir clients but those are different types of sessions.  When I am creating, when I am working from that part of my being, I like the least amount of distractions as possible.  Also, when there is trust, we get inside the lens.  It is a place I like to go.  It is our own little world away from everyone else.  No distractions, no text messages, no Facebook updates.  It is just the two of us, understanding the vibe and working together to get the best images possible.

There is a real connection here.  And that, to me, is what photographing people in an intimate way is all about.  The realness, the connection, the intimacy.  Having a friend with you who is blabbering away on their phone in the background is a distraction.  Having an assistant who doesn’t know to keep quite and only do what they are supposed to be doing on a shoot is a distraction.  Distractions take away from the work you are working so hard to create.  So why allow them to happen?

I know there are creepers out there, I know models need to protect themselves.  This is why I say “when there is trust”.  If you don’t trust someone enough to be alone with them, maybe you shouldn’t be working with them in the first place?  If I feel like a model is a little shady, I don’t work with her.  Shouldn’t it be the other way around as well?

This is all personal choice.  I just choose to work with people I trust and have this connection with.  It is the same way I choose my friends and the way I choose my staff.  I trust them, I feel comfortable with them, this is why I surround myself with them.  I just believe in doing the same in my work environment.

Here is the result of being “Inside The Lens”

Betcee May by The Average Jim

Start Today

There have been many things I have been wanting to try lately.  One of them is building custom furniture, decor and maybe even custom doors and windows.  I have a very strong background in carpentry and I would really like to combine my artistic side with my ability to build stuff.

I may have an opportunity in the near future to bring this idea to life, and I really hope it happens!  Tomorrow is the first day of me actually trying to make this happen, so I’ll be keeping some positive vibes pointed in that direction.  I always say there is a way to do what you love to do for a living, it is all about making it happen for yourself.  Nobody is going to just knock on your door and ask you if you want your dream job.

It is like what one of my philosophy professors told me back in college.  He saw those license plate frames that said stuff like “I’d rather be skiing”, his response was, then go skiing.  If you would rather be doing something else then you should be doing something else.  Myself, I can honestly say I am happy with everything I do.  I enjoy being a photographer, carpenter and musician.  I get to work with my hands and be creative, most of the time on my own terms.  I can’t think of any better way to spend my time.

Go out, find what you love to do and if you are not already doing it, there is no better time to start than right now.

The Salton Sea by The Average Jim