1st March, 2024
A few months have passed since my first visit to Green Connect Farm, where I excitedly volunteered my photography to capture the essence of this remarkable place. Little did I know that this experience would lead to an exciting opportunity–a paid photography job for Community Resources, the company managing Green Connect. In this blog post, I want to share my reflections on how this transition from volunteer work to paid work at the same location interestingly altered my creative process.
The journey began when Community Resources contacted me to book a paid photography job for their annual report and marketing materials at Green Connect Farm. I must admit that I didn’t expect my volunteer work to turn into paid work in such a direct and swift manner, but it thrilled me that it did. Their email came with a specific and detailed shot list, giving clear directions about the photos they were seeking.
The difference in approach between my volunteer work and this paid assignment immediately became clear. During my initial visit, I had the freedom to roam and explore the farm at my own pace, capturing moments as they unfolded naturally. It was a more spontaneous and unstructured process, driven by my personal connection to the farm and its inhabitants. I took an incredible number of photos and spent hours doing so. The editing process took some time, but I wasn’t on a very tight deadline, as it was spontaneous volunteer work, not anything specific.
In contrast, the paid job came with a tightly curated shot list and specific objectives to meet. Community Resources had a clear vision for the photographs they needed, which meant my creative process had to adapt accordingly. We followed the shot list as a guide, and spent less time on site, taking fewer photos but standing by the task at hand. The editing process was a lot easier and more efficient because I had a brief of what Community Resources needed. It was a really interesting contrast to observe in myself and my process.
The Impact on Creativity
While the creative process for both volunteer and paid work took place at the same location, the change in context influenced how I approached photography.
For the volunteer work, my focus was on capturing the farm’s overall ambiance, the animals’ personalities, and the vibrancy of sustainable farming. I had the privilege of having enough time to wait patiently for the perfect moments and let the scenes unfold in a natural way.
The paid assignment required a more methodical and results-oriented approach. I had to ensure that I met the specific requirements outlined in the shot list, which required careful planning and execution. This shift challenged me to work efficiently while maintaining an adequate level of professional quality and creativity.
As I navigated this transition, I continued to realise the importance of finding a balance between creative freedom and meeting client expectations. This is an ongoing journey of concept for any photographer. While the volunteer work allowed me to explore and express my passion for photography freely, the paid job presented a dimension of responsibility and professionalism.
The volunteer work had given me the freedom to capture candid moments, like the chickens pecking at my camera and the pigs playfully making a mess of my jeans. It was about capturing the soul of Green Connect Farm, the unscripted and spontaneous beauty that unfolded before my lens.
On the other hand, the paid job required me to follow a carefully curated shot list, which included specific angles, subjects, and compositions. There was less room for spontaneity, but it challenged me to think critically about each shot, ensuring it met the client’s objectives and took the photos they needed in my own way.
Ultimately, I learned that finding a balance between these two approaches was crucial. While adhering to the client’s requirements was essential, I also had to find moments of creative expression within those constraints. It was about merging the structured and the spontaneous to create compelling visuals that told the story of Green Connect Farm effectively.
Learning and Growth
Throughout this journey, I couldn’t help but reflect on how my skills as a photographer had evolved. The transition from volunteer work to paid work at the same location provided a unique opportunity to compare and contrast my approaches.
In my volunteer work, I had the luxury of time and the freedom to experiment. I could spend hours with the chickens, patiently waiting for that perfect pecking moment. The satisfaction came from capturing the farm’s essence in its purest, unfiltered form.
In contrast, the paid job, while still rewarding and relaxing, required some level of efficiency and precision. There were specific deliverables and deadlines to meet. It required me to adapt to the client’s vision and objectives while still infusing my unique style into each shot.
Experiences such as this challenge me to become a more versatile photographer. It reinforced the importance of adaptability and versatility in the world of photography. I’m learning to appreciate that every photography opportunity, whether voluntary or paid, contributes to my growth and skill development.
My journey from volunteer work to paid photography at Green Connect Farm has been a rewarding and enlightening one. It highlighted the versatility and adaptability required in the world of photography. While volunteer work allows for creative freedom and personal connection, paid assignments bring structure and specific objectives.
This experience serves as a reminder that every photography opportunity, whether voluntary or paid, contributes to my growth as a photographer. I look forward to continuing to capture the essence of Green Connect Farm, now with a deeper appreciation for the multifaceted nature of photography and the unique challenges each job presents.
In the end, it’s the combination of both volunteer and paid work that has enriched my creative journey, making me a more versatile and skilled photographer. Whether capturing the spontaneous moments of chickens or meticulously composing shots for a client’s brief, each experience contributes to the evolving narrative of my photography career. Green Connect Farm remains a place of inspiration and growth, where my camera and creativity continue to thrive.