Amon Focus is currently the Creative Director for the web series Life is Digital Media. Through filmmaking, portraiture and time-lapse photography Amon specializes in making emotional connections using these disciplines to educate viewers about various places, products and services.
When I first started making a real living as a creative I was more of a motion graphics guy. As I changed jobs, photography was something that seemed to appear more and more in job descriptions. Years ago I took a job creating video/photo content for a tourism company and working with them I learned how to truly capture a variety of subjects in a short period of time. I’ve been a working professional photographer for about 5 years.
My interest in photography has grown over time. Photography was a hobby at first and in some cases it still is. Back in 2002 I was given a 3 Megapixel Canon PowerShot camera as a form of payment for some graphic design work. I let the camera sit up for a few months and then one day I just started playing with it. I loved that camera, I took it everywhere and took pictures of everything. I didn’t care if it was the neighbour’s dog or old furniture on the side of the road, I was just having fun with it. It took a very long time before I started investing in my own gear and working on my own projects though.
I think what makes me different is that I am open to the experience of whatever I’m capturing at the moment. I try to find a personal interest in my subjects, that way I am able tell my story as authentically as possible.
What I find difficult about being a photographer is usually the things I have no control over like the weather. As far as video, one of the biggest challenges I’m often faced with is taking something that is pretty much uninteresting and making it interesting but I love that. That’s where it helps to develop a personal interest in the subject you’re capturing. To be honest, it’s the daily challenges or difficulties that cultivate the love for what I do. If photography or video production was easy then I would probably be doing something else.
What I enjoy most about my job is the wealth of knowledge that it brings to my life. My assignments vary from day to day. One day I may be called to create a video about a fashion magazine’s anniversary party and a week later I’m in a swamp photographing sun bathing alligators. During these various assignments I’m there to capture a moment and I end up learning so many new things in the process. I also meet a lot of great people and experience new places that I otherwise wouldn’t necessarily have a desire to go, but after visiting I realize how cool these destinations can be.
Social media has been a great tool for creating new business. It has given me a platform to get my work in front of an audience who may find interest in my skill set. For example, with Instagram it allows me to take cool pictures without having to worry about technical aspects of photography like F stops, instantly. Instagram has allowed me to socially tap into the human element of common interest. The good thing about common interest is that it creates conversation and conversation can sometimes mean cool business opportunities.
I’ve been using Billings Pro since late 2009 and it makes sending invoices easy, yet they still look professional as well as aesthetically pleasing. I’m constantly recommending Billings Pro to my friends and family mostly because of its ease of use. As an entrepreneur I have enough things to worry about because I wear all the hats of responsibility for my company. Billings Pro is great because it does all the work and I essentially have one less hat to wear. Sometimes I get phone calls for new projects and with Billings Pro I can easily shoot a prospective client an estimate. Since I’m not making these documents from scratch I don’t feel like I’ve wasted my time if a job doesn’t pan out in the end. What I can create in Billings Pro in 5 minutes is more professional and cooler looking than what I could waste an hour doing in Microsoft Excel or Adobe Illustrator. I’m a big advocate of products doing what they’re advertised to do, and Billings Pro does just that. The process is so intuitive and the templates are so clean and modern looking. If I was to buy a template online, it still wouldn’t look as good as the most basic template that Marketcircle has provided.
Because of my line of work I travel a lot. If I’m in a situation where I don’t want to bring my laptop to a shoot, it makes my life easier to be able to bring my iPad. Having the ability to send out an estimate/invoice without a laptop from virtually anywhere is a big plus.
I wish I could go back and tell myself to not focus on the money. The money will come. One of the things I value most is my sanity. If I am stressing about money, I am putting myself in a negative mindset. Even now, sometimes it is worth it to do some pro bono work to gain the experience and help a friend out. Sometimes that free time spent helping someone with a project can lead to bigger paying jobs down the road, and people always remember and appreciate the time you take to help them out.