Can you give me a big-picture view of business? How do you spend your working life? Day by day, week by week? How has that changed as your career evolved?

JS: I spend more time than I would like to admit in front of computer- sending emails, retouching work, updating my website, biz dev, YouTube rabbit holes, making calls, sitting on Zooms, PrePro, blessing recipients with PDFs, invoices and WeTransfer links. If I have an assignment coming up, the preparation starts a couple days before- getting lighting concepts dialed in, ideas for locations and concepts plus moods as well as color palette. The day of a session, my only focus is making photographs, being present and enjoying the time. If I’m dipping out for a 10 day personal work trip, then my out of office reply is on so that I can concentrate on making the most of my time developing the project. The big change for my career was when I started using a calendar and understanding the need to be more thoughtful with my time- this took a while for me to figure out…

CC: Similar to Jared, I spend a lot of my time in admin world. My weeks look different depending on current project timelines and upcoming shoots. This can mean I’m scouting, pulling references, and producing one day, picking up equipment and shooting the next, in post/retouching/billing the next, or I can be spending one or two days creating a treatment for an upcoming bid. I still do most things I did at the beginning of my career now besides estimating, negotiating. My agent also helps a lot with marketing and outreach. When I first started out, I didn’t have any boundaries between work and my personal life – I felt as though every waking hour not invested in furthering my career was a lost opportunity. I realized that wasn’t healthy nor true. I find that my task list is never-ending but what’s changed as my career has evolved, is the balance between work and rest to avoid burnout and prioritizing the important but not externally urgent tasks (personal work) that are investments in my portfolio, alongside the urgent and important tasks (client work) and letting the rest fall by the wayside.

EG: Every day is very different. Some days it’s building a creative deck all day. Others it’s just sitting around and trying to focus on invoicing and other office stuff. Some days I blow everything off and play tennis. And then on production days it can be full gas all day and night. The more rigor you can bring to your day-to-day practices, the better. I’m not great at discipline and rigor . . . so I try to make up for it by really focusing when I actually sit down to do something. It’s not atypical for me to stay up until 3 or 4 in the morning just trying to build my network, researching, or blowing out some ideas.