For those of you that are Bears fans, you know that our season abruptly ended on just Sunday night in a disappointing one-point loss to the Eagles. Initially, the missed field goal was branded as a miss and a “double doink” but within 24 hours, it came out that it actually was tipped by an Eagles player so it was then recorded as a blocked field goal….either way you slice it, the pain for Chicago Bears fans and football fans alike was gut-wrenching. My social media was immediately overwhelmed by some pretty terrible things being said about the Bears kicker, Cody Parkey, and my heart sunk. Immediately, I began my own campaign on social media to give the poor guy a break (#prayforparkey) then quickly realized how I often feel like him as a photographer.
Cody Parkey is a guy who plays football, makes a decent salary and has practiced all the skills needed to be a kicker. Sounds simple, right? Not so fast… So much more goes into being a kicker in the NFL than just kicking a ball through the uprights. Let’s start with his professional life. We have the weather (wind, rain, snow, sleet, bright sun, etc) then we have the field conditions (slippery or wet). Then we have the mechanics of proper kicking technique which probably include orientation to the uprights, the step approach pattern, the position of the foot in relation to the ball, and the snap and hold by other team players. Imagine thinking about all that while hoping that the ball holder catches the ball and places it just so and having a mass of big dudes (aka: special teams defense players) running at you at full speed and attempting to ‘get a piece’ of the ball as you kick it. On top of all that, you have the other ‘doinks’ you’ve experienced throughout the season, Bears fans (football fans and media, as well) cheering for you but also doubting your abilities and the pressure of feeling like an entire season of football and the hopes of a Super Bowl appearance on your mind. Then you have everything you are experiencing in your personal life on top of that. I don’t know about you but that seems like a lot of pressure on one human!
You might be wondering if I’m just a rambling die-hard Chicago Bears fan at this point but please…just another paragraph…or two!
As a photographer, I often feel pressure to fulfill a variety of roles, albeit on a much smaller stage and scale, but nonetheless, the pressure is there. Most people see photographers and think ‘must be easy to show up and click a few pictures’ when in reality, there’s so much more. I’ll admit, I was a bit naive myself when I first entered the field. I quickly learned how valuable a variety of skills is in this industry. Not only am I expected to be a photographer (the person who takes a picture) but there’s pressure to be a business woman (knowing my CODB, accounting, tax rules, etc), technology guru (image sizing, metadata, gallery particulars), graphic designer, marketing expert, and a fashionista (an area I’m learning to grow in for sure)! There are the expectations and unspoken rules of every industry that others in the field know if they have been there for any length of time. These are simply the surface things and there is so much more. When I look through my viewfinder at you, I’m thinking a million thoughts: What are my settings? Will I achieve the look I’m going for? Is the tree coming out right behind their head? Where are everyone’s hands? Is mom’s skirt or dress sitting nicely? Is there a glare in dad’s glasses? Does everyone look like they love each other? Will this head shot convey warm and approachable to clients and perspective employers? And that is just the beginning of the questions I have running through my mind.
In any field, it is easy to look as an outsider and say, “oh, that’s easy” but in reality, there are elements of every job and position within companies that require specific skills…or at least a willingness to learn while on the job. What are some of the things you didn’t expect you would need to know how to do in your current job?