Life of a Photographer | Behind the Lens

| Sarah Jane Photography | Decatur, Illinois |

What’s it like being a photographer? I’d love that job!

I got to thinking this afternoon about what it means to be a photographer? What it is that I do, that I am. It’s so many things but today I’ll give you a little peak into what being a photographer really is….


It’s catching yourself laughing out loud or even crying at a maid of honor’s (or father of the bride’s) speech even though you just met these people today. 

Its 9:00am – 2:00am work ‘days’ and coffee (and more coffee) and computer screens and looking up to see it’s 5:26pm and you’re not sure you ate lunch today (nope, sure didn’t). 

It’s batteries and CF cards. 

It’s Photoshop and Lightroom. Successware and ProSelect. Quickbooks and ROES. 

It’s first dances and last calls. 

It’s 1099, W2, 941, LLC… LCD, PCP, 90210 what?!?!

It’s fixing dress crises with string and a safety pin with a few flustered bridesmaids.  

It’s remembering to capture the shot when you see how they look at each other for the first time on their big day and you’re smiling ear to ear with tears in your eyes. 

It’s a growing stack of Photography Magazines and Marketing Books you long to read.  

It’s hiking 2.5 miles carrying 10lbs of camera gear to shoot where the couple had their first date. And then… hiking back. 

It’s being fearless when you’re terrified. 

It’s working week/ends (wait, the week ‘ends’ huh?)

It’s granola bars, beef jerky and coffee. 

It’s 5 foot ceilings and wood panel walls and making beauty happen.

It’s confidence and self-doubt. 

It’s the responsibility and the honor of being a part of so many chapters in so many lives. 

It’s taxes and accounting. 😦

It’s pretending for today that there are no taxes or books to keep. 🙂

It’s prices, and profit, and COGS and labs and packaging and printing and business cards and marketing and sales. 

It’s seeing a woman transform in front of the lens. From shy and unsure to powerful, bold and confident. 

It’s being there, not to make the moment, but to make it last… forever. 

It’s comfy shoes and still sore feet. 

It’s seeing the world differently than the rest of the world. 

It’s working to be invisible to make our clients visible. 

It’s humbling. 

It’s workshops and forums and groups and conferences and learning and learning and learning…. just to keep on learning. 

It’s beautiful light at twilight that makes you want to pull over just to watch the way it touches every surface as it changes. Soak it up, it’s a fleeting moment and you’ve got the gift to see its true beauty. 

It’s racing the sun. 

It’s racing that rain cloud. 

It’s runny noses and sticky hands; feather dusters and peak-a-boo.

It’s whatever it takes. (and it takes a lot)

It’s more batteries and CF cards. 

It’s friends and family. 

It’s 2 GB… then 16GB then 500 then 4TB… then more harddrives and disks and online backup and fireproof safes and off-site storage and fear of the crash. 

It’s emotional. Its powerful. It’s life, captured … forever. 

Its new, every day.

It’s being a part of a person’s entire life from beautiful beginning to devastating end. ( 

It’s passion and love.


Being a photographer is about so many things… It’s easy on a daily basis to become overwhelmed with the to do list and trying to do the best and provide the best to each and every one of my clients. It’s sometimes a continuous game of catch up as you complete one list another has sprung up behind it. Today, I was not overwhelmed by these things but rather with the beauty, life and love that is my job. 

It’s work, yes, it’s all the things listed above and so so many more. But at the end of the day, it’s not images on a page. It’s memories and legacies. It’s family and friends, heart and sole. Its laughter and tears. And it’s what I love. 

Are you a photographer? I’d love to hear your additions to the list as you know I forgot a LOT… I’d love to hear your comments on the post! 



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