My job mostly consists of shooting and editing senior portraits for about 8 different high schools in our area. I have personally seen every senior from those schools either in person or on my computer screen. Probably close to 2000 kids. My eyes are going to be really happy to see the last one off in the beginning of December. One school left, and thank god they aren't a huge class.
I've been going through training for other events in the meantime (school activity stuff, mostly), and while I enjoy it, I do have to say that it's "boring." I only put that in quotation marks because it's not really boring to me, but it's the "boring stuff." I love to do conceptual pieces, but that's not something that brings in money for business. Neither is travel photography. It's pretty much all portraits all the time, and I'm definitely okay with that because who knows where I'll be in the next few years? Will I still be doing this gig here? Will I open my own studio? Will I be traveling around the world, snapping for NatGeo (oh, that would be a dream come true!)?
There's a lot to the business side of photography for which I think far too many photographers don't prepare themselves. As someone who worked in retail for as long as I did, I can sell pretty much anything. I could probably sell a steaming pile of crap if I find a pretty-enough box for it. But most photographers just deal with the artwork side and not the selling. That's where I can really appreciate my boss and his abilities.
But when it comes down to it, running a photo business means making a concession--either become a starving artist or get yourself into a "boring" routine (never truly boring, but not as fun). My boss and his father before him have been running the company for over 40 years, and that's because the company markets to high school seniors (highest priority), business/publicity, and weddings. There's not a lot of abstract or artistic prints being sold by us (really, there's none), but that's because they're not safe for steady income and we're too busy doing the safe stuff.
I'll repeat myself, though: it's never truly "boring." I'm never a fan of the customers who are already beautiful but don't see it and demand "less chin" or that god-awful plastic-smooth look for their skin. But I do become a sort of masochist for those difficult jobs where a family member needs to be inserted into the group portrait or when a box of old slides comes in for scanning. In fact, anything older than the 80's should never be labelled "boring." They are FUN.
Restoration work is probably the most fun I have at work. It's a challenge that pushes me to keep the original integrity of the subject matter within its timeline while updating it for modern use. I've worked on a couple on my own outside of work, so I'll post those next so you can see what I've done. But they are by far the most fun I have at work, and I sometimes wish I could do that all day long. But again, a business needs to survive, and it thrives on stability. I have a lot to say about the photo industry in general, and I would love to share more. Got to go in for my shift now, but will try to post that restoration work I did later today.