This post was originally written as part of a series of assignments for my Introduction to Social Media class at Algonquin College.
Back in 2009 I was starting to zero in on the kind of images I really liked to make: portraits and fashion photography using off-camera lighting. I had been experimenting with off camera lighting for a little while, having purchased my first flash the year before. In the latter half of the year, I even flew down to Atlanta, Georgia, for a photography and lighting workshop with Zack Arias, a photographer I had been following for a while. And that’s where I met Glyn Dewis.
Glyn is a man who knows how to hustle. When I met him he was just starting into photography same as me, but whereas I was just dipping my toes in and trying to see what’s what, Glyn already had a pretty strong vision for what he wanted to do with it. He was there not only to do the workshop as a photographer learning about lighting, but also to take notes and gather ideas for doing his own workshops. I remember at the time thinking that that seemed maybe a little overly ambitious for someone who was really only just getting in to photography. I think in my mind, the kinds of people who gave workshops were photographers who had been in the business for years and years. It just seemed so out of reach.
I wished him luck, though, friended him on Facebook and then headed back to Toronto. Things I had learned at the workshop definitely improved my lighting game, and it began to show in the images I was producing. But while my work was getting better, and as much as I enjoyed being a photographer, and would have loved to make it a more full time endeavour, I didn’t really know how to do that. Or maybe I just didn’t have the hustle.
Meanwhile, I started seeing more and more updates from Glyn in my Facebook feed. He already had an incredibly distinct voice as a portrait artist, and was cranking out great work. If I had been paying better attention, I really could have learned plenty from Glyn about utilizing social media to build up a career. He started blogging about his shoots, and has always been incredibly generous about giving behind-the-scenes insights into how he was achieves a specific look or effect.
In the years since I first started following Glyn, I have watched him grow his brand again and again. He went from doing his own workshops in his hometown of Oxford, England, to speaking and giving workshops at photography conferences around the world. His work has been featured on a number of magazine covers, and he has even published several best-selling books. He hosts a regular podcast, posts on his various channels multiple times a day, has been lauded for a recent photo project he launched photographing the UK’s remaining World War II veterans, has sponsorship deals with a number of photography-related companies…
My career in photography never did come about, but that’s because I have just never really known how to promote myself like that — I don’t have that kind of hustle. Glyn does, and it has been utterly fascinating to watch, and to very occasionally wonder: what if I did?
Who’s hustle game do you really admire, or feel inspired by, even if you know you might not be able to achieve it yourself?
Facebook: Learning to admire the ones who can start off with the same toolset, and just leave you in the dust. https://bit.ly/3djpbJg
Twitter: This week: admiring the ones who make it work, even when you can’t. https://bit.ly/3djpbJg