What’s your word for this year? You know, the word that you’ve chosen to write on a sticky note and attach it to every mirror, journal, and fridge for the year? Maybe you haven’t tried this yet, but let me tell you, it works. Each year, my pastor asks us to choose one word we are believing for God to work through for that entire year in our lives. Last year, I chose the word, “Hope”, because, well, as you can imagine, I was going through a time in my life where I was needing some. For the entire year, the word “Hope”, showed up in some way, every day, either on a shirt someone was wearing, in my Instagram feed for an inspiring meme; I even watched a TV series where the name of the town was “Hope Valley”. It was just little ways God was reminding me not to give up on it. He would provide it. He did. In a bigger way than I was even imagining.
As I was in the passenger seat of the car, driving down the interstate, wondering if I should write about my word this year in this article, I looked out the window to see a billboard with the word, “Opportunities” in big, bold letters across it.
That. Is. My. Word. OPPORTUNITY.
God simply blew the top off the box I had tried to put Him in last year, because let’s face it, even in our biggest imaginations, we still can’t fathom all of the exciting and amazing things God wants to pour into us, and I couldn’t wait to see what He would do next.
We, as photographers, get some pretty unique opportunities in our line of work. If photography was in the Marvel Universe (sorry, DC, but I’m Marvel all the way) our superpower would be we get to freeze time. (10 points to whoever can come up with a cool superhero name for us.) We have the OPPORTUNITY to capture and preserve life changing moments in people’s lives, historical events, and so much more.
How? Below are some ways photographers can create opportunities to photograph outside of wedding and family shoots…
Join or create a Photography Team at your church. See my earlier articles in WM for how to start a Church Photography Team.
2. Local Social Media Outlets.
Contact through their Instagram accounts or emails and let them know that you are available to shoot events in your area for them.
3. Local Bands.
Reach out to them to see if they need updated shots for their EPK (Electronic Press Kit), Show Posters or a photo shoot for their own Social Media Posts.
4. Charities / Non-profit Organizations.
Every Nonprofit needs updated photos for their social media and web pages. It is a great way to get to know people and to donate to a great cause. Just make sure and get permission from the organization before you start photographing any event or place.
5. Local Business.
Notice the emphasis on local yet? Joining forces and supporting local businesses and organizations is an important part of not only sharing your gift, but also doing exactly what God asked us to do… Love Him and Love Others.
Now, think about what your word is for this year. Have you got it? Ok. Hold onto that. The reason I chose the word, “Opportunities” is because I wanted God to move in and provide more amazing ways for me to use the gifts that He gave me in photography. I want opportunities to teach other churches and organizations how to start their Photography Teams, I want to travel and shoot more tours, bands, concerts, and music festivals, to shoot behind the scenes of a movie, and to be published more (specifically in Rolling Stone). All of these are great goals and aspirations for what I want to accomplish. But, then a pastor said to me, “Okay, now that you have your word, stop thinking about that word for what you want God to do with it in your life.”
Wait. What? But that’s what I thought I was supposed to do? That’s what this whole article is about!
He said, “Instead of thinking about what God can do for you with your word, allow God to use you and your word to do a work in others. It’s not about what opportunities God can provide for you, but what “Opportunities” can you provide to others?” (Insert emoji with the big wide eyes here.)
Two commandments He gave us: Love Him and Love others. That’s it. He does the rest.
Just be obedient. Seek Him first. Then all of those “things” (a.k.a. Opportunities) will be added to you.
That’s the opportunity. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime.
Above all else remember, project The Story, and don’t stop shooting!