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