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Why I Took A Photography Break

Even though I have always loved photography and even graduated from the Photography program at Algonquin College, there comes a time where you say, "you know what? I think I need to just take a break for a while". Well, that was me. Sort of.

It all started when, I thought, I got the job of my dreams after graduation. It took me a while to even GET a job in field, doing with Photography, and when that happened, I was SO excited and couldn't wait for that new chapter in my life to start. I had just gotten out of a long term relationship and I wanted a fresh start in life. So getting a new job and trying to follow my dreams was, what I thought, the best thing to do at the time. So I headed out and applied every where and any where that had photography positions available.

Life was starting to look up. I got a job! In a portrait studio! I was going to be the manager, and everything was going to be amazing form now on.

Boy, was I wrong...

I was hired during the Christmas rush. Customers were flowing in, and there was hardly any down time. I was busy, the studio was busy, and it was great. I was working with the best people, some of which were in photography college, and we all had a great time. Then the studio started to slow down, the studio wasn't doing so well, and they fired a few of those good people, and others quit. Soon enough, it was just me and 1 other person running the studio. And I never got the official "manager" title I was promised when I got hired.

The studio went into a recession, got rid of most of their district managers (mine included) and no one talked about my "supposive" role, even though I worked 40 hours a week, did all the paper work, dealt with the customer complaints (and let me tell you, everyone complained about everything), and 95% of the time, I worked alone. Eventually, I had a nervous breakdown. In the studio. Alone.

I called my district manager in tears. Told her I couldn't do this anymore and quit. She came to the studio the next day and tried to help me through it. She made me feel a little bit better, so I decided that I was going to try to stick it out a little bit longer, hoping maybe I would get that manager raise and official title, and that maybe the studio would do a bit better, and the customers wouldn't be so mean.

Higher ups were called in to try and help bring in more business, , but it didn't happen. They even finally gave me the Manager title and the raise! Or what I, again thought, was the official manager, and a raise.

When I got my next pay with my manager raise, I looked at it, and went, huh, this can't be right. Nope. It was right. A whole 87 cents more than minimum wage. NOT EVEN A DOLLAR.

Cheap bastards. So, I sat down at the computer, opened up word, and typed up my resignation letter.

The next day, I called up my manager, and officially told her I was resigning. I told her I was sorry, but it wasn't worth going home every night, crying, and having no energy to be coming into a place I loathe so much. The customers were never satisfied with anything, all they ever wanted was their "Free Photo" with their stupid coupons, and never EVER purchased anything. I was sick and tired of the higher up management saying "Our numbers are bad, I NEED to do something to improve them, and I NEED to go out and find people to come into the studio for a FREE SESSION". *and they don't know why they weren't making any money *eye roll** I didn't even bring up the raise. At this point, I figured it wasn't even worth it.

She thanked me, was very disappointed I was leaving, but understood why.

Why did I take a break from photography? Well, that is why. Having customers come into your studio, have a great session, or have a terrible session with their 3 year old screaming child saying "I DON'T WANT TO DO THIS!", and then proceeding to say to you "I could have done this at home". Well, why didn't you? I couldn't take the terrible people anymore, after I did, what I could with the really terrible equipment I was given.

What I have learnt from all of this was to cherish was you have around you, don't take anything for granted, and never, NEVER EVER, let someone tell you, you can't, because chances are, they are 100% wrong and you can do anything.

Being a photographer has been my dream since I was in high school. I have loved it for a very long time. I can't wait to start this brand new chapter, and can't wait to get out there and make the world say "WOW!".

So the moral of this whole jibber-jabber? People can be a-holes. And don't work in a department store portrait studio.

XO Leesa

“When I have a camera in my hand, I know no fear” – Alfred Eisenstaedt

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