Photographer Indy Sagoo Shares What It's Like To Do A 365
Hello all! So, this would be my first entry in the blogosphere. You could be reading this many places so I’ll quickly just say hello and welcome to a work in progress photographer, on his way to landing commercial work in both photography and retouching! You can stalk me at www.indysagoo.com and @indysagoo on Instagram.
So, it’s the evening of January 1st 2018, the first day in a year I haven't had the urge to run to Photoshop and prepare something to post the very next morning. You see, I just completed a project 365. Whats the big deal you might ask? Well, its not. It was an important exercise, which I think everyone who is a creative that is learning should do.
The rules were simple, a picture every day for a year, BUT they had to be fully done and dusted images. Aka, gone through photoshop and retouched fully, no BTS, no phone pictures, no #NoPhotoshop, done, legit, no excuses. To compound this, post production is long when your community of retouchers are perfectionists and it rubs off.
So, to the point. Was it worth it? Yes. Would I do it again, maybe. Do I miss it? NO.
Why it was worth it.
So to shortcut my backstory, I came from a completely unrelated background into being a freelance photography purely by choice after deciding 26 was too old to not be doing what I loved. (I hold mixed feelings on this view now I read it back). Combine this with the 10,000 hour rule and the fact I was a complete unknown, in a new city with relatively few contacts and zero agency experience, I had to get my name out there.
At first, it was easy. I had a few shoots with friends in the bank, Sunday became my edit day and like that my week ahead was sorted! … And then needing to get an actual income kicked in. For those of you who are freelance reading this, you KNOW the feeling, the doubt of whether or not this was a good choice or not, the comparisons to your more successful friends, convincing yourself ‘sure they’re secure but clearly not happy!’, when some of them actually are. Not having any business experience. The. List. Goes. On.
Luckily I had a break come through in the form of an ecomm retouching gig which wasn’t taxing creatively and then other short term projects miraculously appeared and helped me get along.
Enter the power of Instagram! So at the start of 2017, “its going down in the DM” wasn’t a common phrase to most, but it was starting to be a religious tool for me. That, combined with the hours being spent into the middle of the night editing, started to pay off to what was to become the start of a decent looking portfolio. Over time, more tests, better talent to work with and before you know it, you’ve become the free house of testing and infinite resource. Yes my friends, imbalance had become my middle name.
You remember all the material about #hustle, #grinding, #go until your eyes bleed! Yeah… don’t. You’re useless if they don’t work. Deadlines are mostly imaginary, so really… go sleep.
Importantly, say no when you cant do it. You’re not letting anyone down. Its pixels, they don’t bite. Ok maybe they go red and die from time to time but you get my point. If someone takes offence, well offer to help as much as you can within your available bandwidth. If they STILL get offended, well, they have issues, best to move on to better clients.
Now there’s a bunch of adventures that happened through the year, but for now I’ll focus on the overall project 365. (I’ll do other written pieces, lord knows if you made it this far you’re enjoying this)
The conclusion was as anticlimactic as it comes. In a blessing/curse mentality I hit post on my last one and…. Nothing. No feeling of achievement. No “ah I can relax now” vibes. I was stumped.
Then… it hit me. I had outgrown my goal. It had no actual impact on the world around me other than to want to be current and in the feed. I was supposed to what, congratulate myself on doing my job? This felt… strange. Congrats are for above and beyond, not the bare essential.
More conclusions followed. Happier ones I might add.
Id got to at a point where I was happy with the standard of work and so the main aim of my project had been completed. I’d done it without realising. I’d done it! I looked back on my Day 1 vs day 365, it was DAY vs NIGHT in terms of just upping the game in every areas. Light was better, post production was better, just every single aspect. That was the stark contrast I needed. The entire purpose of this project was to fast track the hours being spent into the shooting and editing process without it being paid for by clients. As I heard Stephen Curry say, “overload yourself in training, so that the game is easier” (or words to that effect). After realising the moment had already passed, the confidence arose in waves.
So now here we are. So, what next? Now its time to stop using “im busy on my insta post for tomorrow” as my excuse and time to get doing things. To the aims!
1: Bring in the client work and get represented.
- Listen, I’m a creative and I can talk for days. I do however need a business equivalent so any agents who like my work, hit me up! There’s plenty where that came from.
2: Document & diversify.
- Time to stop being a faceless photographer and get seen. On every platform. The world is not going to knock on your door and say “Hey! We saw you take our money!” Ok well sometimes this does happen but essentially, be in sight and in mind and dabble in areas outside of your usual working area. It’s the little moments which create the big waves.
- 3: Find the next plateau.
Its easy to think “Ok I’m happy, so now why go further? Its time to set the goal higher. The goal now is brand related, not just “end product related”
Now, I’m aware I type the same way I talk, so I’m hoping this made sense, that it was fairly entertaining but most importantly, that something resonated with you and bridged the though gap you were having to shift it to a positive place.
There will be more of these, more so now I’ve actually put this out there and there isn’t any excuse not to!
Buckle up, enjoy the ride and yeah! Lets see where 2018 brings us!
P.S All associated talent have been tagged in the descriptions of the files, so if you love their look, go give them a follow!