LIFE LESSONS Why the right time is not to­mor­row, it's now!

In the Moment - - Contents -

AF­TER YEARS OF WAIT­ING UN­TIL SHE WAS GOOD ENOUGH TO GIVE HER DREAM JOB A CHANCE, SARAH PLATER CAME TO A RE­AL­I­SA­TION

Be­fore I tried to make a liv­ing from be­ing a photographer, I wanted to wait un­til I was per­fect. But I knew that any shoot I did wasn’t go­ing to be per­fect, so I kept wait­ing un­til I felt more con dent about get­ting it right rst time.

I worked in a pho­tog­ra­phy stu­dio as a teenager, but then fell into a mar­ket­ing role. I pro­gressed in that ca­reer, but ev­ery Sun­day I would dread the start of an­other week. I looked en­vi­ously at other peo­ple who were mak­ing their liv­ing from their cam­eras. I flirted around the edges of the in­dus­try, writ­ing for pho­tog­ra­phy mag­a­zines and co-au­thor­ing books. Then I would re­turn to my day job, feel­ing stuck and mis­er­able again.

At the end of 2017 I came across an in­sight: ‘con dence comes from do­ing’. I re­alised that it was point­less wait­ing to feel con dent be­fore I made my dream a re­al­ity – I would never feel ready. Like most things, pho­tog­ra­phy isn’t a ta­lent you’re born with, but a skill you work at.

So, af­ter a decade of anx­iously wait­ing in the wings, and with the sup­port of my hus­band, I opened my stu­dio doors. I was terri ed but also ex­hil­a­rated. I prac­tised. I cre­ated a lot of por­traits that weren’t very good. I did free shoots, then cheap shoots, then prop­erly paid shoots. My ra­tio of good shots steadily in­creased.

I’m now fully booked most weeks, and have clients who love and value what I do. I don’t ob­sess about per­fec­tion any­more, in­stead fo­cussing on in­cre­men­tal im­prove­ments: mak­ing each el­e­ment of my busi­ness work, and then mak­ing it bet­ter. Im­per­fect ac­tion beats per­fect in­ac­tion ev­ery time. And in less than a year, my dream came true, be­cause I stopped dream­ing and started do­ing. Sarah Plater is a pro­fes­sional por­trait photographer and au­thor based in Bices­ter, Ox­ford­shire. She has co-au­thored two books on por­trait pho­tog­ra­phy, crowd­funded a book of sleep tips for

in­som­ni­acs and writes reg­u­larly for mag­a­zines. Find out more at www.sarah­plater.com

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