When I first started doing larger scale photo shoots, I had a bevy of fellow young photographers looking to assist me on my various projects. Around this time I had taken the job of photo editor at a local magazine, which gave me the opportunity to meet with and work with a multitude of up and coming shooters.
I saw a tremendous amount of artistic diversity during this time frame, but one person seemed to stand out. It was this young female photographer who had zero experience, no technical know-how, no equipment, and yet with this really dinky point-and-shoot camera; took some of the most breathtaking and well crafted images of her travels abroad.
Her unique eye and ability to capture details that most would overlook was unparalleled. You’d swear she had decades of experience creating these professional images. I immediately took her under my wing as well as hired her at the magazine. I’d load out my gear to her and kept her shooting as much as possible.
It was not even a year working together before she was booking her own advertising campaign shoots and was getting paid very handsomely to do her art. Today, she works professionally in Los Angeles as a photographer; still doing work that would take your breath away. Yes, she had a unique artistic eye, but it was her passion that fueled her. It was her passion that led me to hire her, and it was her passion that kept her successful.
When I think of her, someone else often pops into my head. It was another young photographer who assisted me briefly. I remember being very impressed with this guy’s true talent in lighting and composition. He really knew how to take gorgeous images. I immediately hired him at the magazine and recall an interesting conversation we had when I took him out to lunch one day. He told me he wanted me to hire him to work with me on my biggest client I had at the time. I admired his boldness in asking that, but something was missing.
Unfortunately, our working relationship was extremely short-lived. He didn’t last long at the magazine; partially because he didn’t want to take most of the assignments that I was offering to him. But mainly because one day he openly insulted my work to one of my clients. I don’t remember ever talking to him again and shortly after that I had left my position at the magazine and was starting my other career in marketing.
However when I looked him up recently, I saw that he had put down his camera a long time ago and had not since picked it up.
He had undeniable talent. That talent count have opened a lot more opportunistic doors for him. In hindsight, I feel that despite his talent, he lacked the passion to pursue photography as a career. This is most likely why he moved onto other, more suitable, ventures.
The same thing can be said for models who have the passion to do hard work, the passion to be persistent, the passion to create their own success.
I also see models with extreme levels of talent that have short-lived, if any, careers.
So if you had to choose, would you rather have passion or talent? Both can lead you to success. But only one will keep you there.