It was a busy week here at Tori Soper Photography beginning with a 3-day convention at McCormick Place for Routes, a major aviation summit that brings together senior representatives from a large range of airlines, airports and tourism where they meet, plan and conduct business for new global ventures. With over 3,000 delegates, 300 airlines, 800 airports, 200 tourism authorities and 10,000 pre-arranged meetings expected, we were looking forward to the challenge of capturing it all.
Chicago had been working with the team from Routes for several years to pull this all together. So, of course Mayor Rahm Emanuel had to make an appearance and get the grand-tour from the city’s Commissioner of Aviation. With so many meetings planned during the conference, my colleague and second-shooter, Fritz Geiger and I had split up to make sure we could cover it all. But as soon as Rahm made an appearance, we joined the other 10 photographers working the tour and played photojournalists for the duration…unintentional elbowing included.
With a collection of tourism authorities from across the globe, there was quite a bit of entertainment as well. From Mariachi bands and Irish dancers at the over-the-top, incredible Chicago booth to tribal drum and dance troupes from South Africa.
The conference came to a close with an awards ceremony and party at the Field Museum, complete with a welcome serenade by a marching band, a concert by Earth, Wind & Fire and a fireworks display over Lake Michigan. Admittedly, as many times as I have photographed events at the Field, this was most definitely one the best I’ve seen yet.
A big shout-out to comfortable shoes, my buddies Fritz and Whitney for helping out with all of the photography and to the Routes team for the invite to cover such an awesome event!
My little buddy Charlie Parker and I were out for a long walk through the forest preserve today and having had a few days off, a rested mind and some time on my hands, I was remembering when I started off transitioning into Commercial Photography. Plenty of ambition, just enough naivete and a very rough roadmap of where I wanted to go in this career.
I didn’t walk into this completely blind as I had done plenty of interviews with established Editorial and Corporate Photographers to learn about their take on the industry, the art of Photography and the possibilities for someone just breaking into the field. It wasn’t very encouraging…..not in the least. So, as is typical, I ignored the warnings, the opinions and doomsday forecasts and just did my own thing.
Thankfully, I have learned a few things in the process of 15 years and not only about the techniques and craft behind photography but also about the business and really quite a bit about myself as well.
And here’s the unedited, spontaneous list of 100 things I have learned as a Commercial Photographer:
Never throw sand in the sandbox.
An expensive camera with all the bells and whistles does not make a good Photographer.
And probably the most significant lesson that has come from these years of learning, shooting, making mistakes, perfecting my craft and adapting to the ups and downs of this business is that you don’t go into Photography to be a rock star, to become rich, or to simplify your wardrobe with cargo pants and black t-shirts. You do it because you love it and cannot imagine doing anything else.