The unspoken pressure of being a professional photographer

I have been behind a camera professionally since the start of my wedding photography career while still in college in the early 80’s.  One thing that hasn’t changed, is the expectations placed upon me at most every major event that happens outside my professional track.

Before the internet came along, whether I had a camera along or not was not a big deal.  Sure, I’d show up to the 4th of July picnic and some well meaning Aunt or Uncle would ask if I brought my camera along to record the day.  Ok, I usually did, but the pressure wasn’t unmanageable.  Fast forward to this instant shoot, post, share, tweet, blog generation.

April 15th this year featured a rare lunar eclipse, commonly referred to as a “blood moon”.  I chatted with several photographer friends and we all agreed, we SHOULD get up in the middle of the night and SHOOT it!  Why?  Because we love photography and have a passion that overtakes our every thought?  Maybe we’re just astronomy nuts that just can’t miss it, or, or, or maybe we’ll feel guilty if we don’t!  I have one (smart) photographer friend that got up, went outside to see it, and went back to bed.  No camera, no pressure.

Yes, I left home at 1:30am on a star filled, windy, very cold night to setup all alone in a field, fighting the elements, trying to figure out the technical requirements to be ready to capture the moment.  Here are a couple of my favorites from the effort.


Like most of my other camera pals, I of course came back home and cooked up an image or two so I could be one of the first to post.

It was fun to field a long list of nice comments, and hopefully it in some ways helps me with increased bookings in the future.  I truly do enjoy photography and am happy to share my “snapshots” of how I see the world.  On behalf of all my professional photography friends and colleagues, I beg you to support them professionally whenever you get the chance to do so.  We all sincerely hope you enjoy our photography from the many slices of the lives we lead, but all need to increase our client and revenue base doing what we do best!

If you like the work you see posted from a photographer you know, go crazy and contact them and inquire about purchasing a print of the shot you triple liked, shared and told your friends all about.  The best post I read during this lunar show was posted by my son:

“Best I could pull off on my iPhone, but still super awesome to see in person! For photographs where the moon is actually red and clearly in the sky check out what my old man and his space boy sidekick have to offer. They’re the real deal when it comes to this photography deal! — with Dennis Zerwas Jr and Barry Howell.”

In closing, if you have an incredible life event in your future, consider hiring that photographer who you otherwise might just hope “brings his or her camera”.   We may not even accept the pay, but it sure would be nice to be asked once in a while.

I take tens of thousands of images a year professionally.  I work hard at trying to get out to photograph things just for me (and the rest of the world if I choose to post them :).   

Find me at   Call me anytime to discuss your next photo shoot!  651-426-0232

Until next time,


Barry Howell-Picture Place Photography-Minnesota, USA