Saturday, August 10, 2013

Calling vs Career vs Calling?

As some of you know and I guess the rest of you do now, I felt a calling to the ministry when I was 15. I struggled for the next 4-5 years about how that calling would manifest itself. For now I believe it is a calling to missions. Hence why my wife, daughter, and I currently live in Guatemala. However, my senior year in college I bought my first DSLR, a Canon Rrebel xt. It was tiny and all plastic and was awful at anything above iso 400. But it helped me learn photography. I could go out and shoot 300 pictures and then go sit down and look through them and figure out what I did right and wrong.

First wedding I ever helped shoot. Canon Rebel xt & 28-200 f/4-5.6

Since then I have gone from a kid who loved to take photos to a amateur photographer to a serious amateur to a professional. I graduated from my little rebel xt to now shooting a 5D Mark 2 with about $2500 in lenses, flashes, modifiers, etc.

I figured out after a while that I could make money taking pictures. I thought "wow people will pay me to take picture? This is great, it doesn't even seem like work!" Which is unfortunately the very mindset that a lot of young photogs who undercut the industry prices and deliver really awful results, but thats a topic for another post. 

I did photography as a hobby for the longest time, taking a paid gig here and there. I was also still pursuing ministry as my day job. I finished college started working on my masters degree (which I am 9 classes from finishing praise the Lord!). After I got married I started shooting as a part-time pro (which I personally believe is where the majority of the industry is heading because of a combination of the economy and the accessibility of DSLRs.) I really got into wedding and portrait photography in 2012 shooting 4 weddings in 5 weeks and 7 weddings total that year. I love being a portrait photographer. It is my niche. I shoot weddings like a portrait photographer. The photo work I do here in Guatemala I shoot like a portrait photographer. I love off camera lighting and great texture backgrounds. I love the reaction of clients when I deliver their photos or showing the photos on the back of DSLR to the little kids in the villages after I take their photo. I love being a photographer. The good, the bad, and the ugly that is all apart of being a pro. 

But this brings me to the point of this post and the angst that I am currently going through. Lately have been wrestling with my love of photography and my calling to ministry. 

I miss shooting on a regular basis. I miss meeting clients. I miss hunting locations. I started going back through my photos as I am preparing to sell off some of my gear to invest in some new pieces. The more I looked the more I began to think, "man, I'm pretty good at this." Not in a bragging "look how great I am" way but in a "I think I could make a living" kind of way. But the struggle still remains of how a calling to ministry and a career in photography match up. Is it a bi-vocational type of thing? Do I mesh the two into a media ministry that works with smaller organizations who cannot afford quality material (which I have been working on). Ministry is evolving and growing outside the box that used to contain it. But I don't know. So I continue to pray and seek the Lord about it. I will keep you updated as the Lord leads. 

For now I continue to shoot when I can. Serve with Clubhouse (which I love what I am doing with them). Grow as a leader, photographer, minister, husband, father, and christian. 


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