Three times a week I get up really early and head to gym where I meet my trainer, Simon. I’m a creature of habit and this has been a part of my routine for many years. With the amount of junk food I consume, I sometimes wonder what I’d look like if I didn’t do this.

A couple of weeks ago, Simon mentioned that he’d be training to compete in the Ironman Classics – WP Naturals Body building competition.

The competition was on the weekend and I went along with my camera during the morning session to snap a few shots. As I stood watching these athletes, I couldn’t help but think about the similarities between them and photographers. Stay with me here, I realise it’s a bit of a stretch, but hear me out.

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Everything begins with a decision to try. That’s Simon in the picture above competing on Saturday. Any other day of the year, of course, he is in good shape. He trains. He eats well. He is a walking advertisement of his business. Thing is, many people train, very few however, compete.

Similarly, many people have a camera – Pretty much anyone with a cellphone these days. Not everyone makes a business out of taking photographs though.

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When you choose to compete – Be it in body building or photography, you have to put yourself out there. You know there are going to be others pretty much just like you, but you have to believe that you have something to offer. Something unique. Something that stands out.

The process of making something ready.
In the body building world this would relate to getting the correct eating plan & sticking with it. Talking to dieticians. Finding a training program that maximises effort and recovery times. Consulting experts on posing techniques. Absolute dedication required to see the results you need. No work = No results.

In photography its dedication to the craft. Learning. Practising, again and again. Educating yourself on the technical aspects, understanding the basics, implementing them to produce a result you were trying to achieve. Reading. Listening. Watching. Attending workshops. YouTube tutorials. Books. Talking to industry leaders. It’s a never ending education. No work = No results.

Body builders get judged on competition day. The result of months of effort is judged within minutes.
Wedding photographers spend months, years, honing their craft and then have a few hours to bring it all together.

Sacrifice becomes a part of life. Obviously in terms of money, (equipment isnt free 🙁 )but most importantly in terms of time and relationship building. The time that used to be spent with friends and family is now reserved for something else, so balancing it all becomes a bit of a juggle.

I was listening to Simon chatting to one of his other clients about their diet. He was also training for the competition and because he’d added an extra apple to his daily intake, he hadn’t reached his weekly goal weight. If an apple makes a difference, you can imagine a braai, or drinks / dinner, etc, is out of the question on the wekeend. Socialising in general, becomes a problem.

Wedding photographers feel it too – Weekend time is dedicated to work. Hold on social life, winter isnt that far off, I’ll see you then 😉

Of course you can use this analogy with pretty much every profession. Work = Results…. And It’s so worth it when the results are in and you make the Top 3. It’s so worth it when a couple says Thank You. It’s exactly what I wanted. It’s so worth it.

What struck me most on Saturday while watching the competition was that most of the audience doesn’t realise the behind the scenes work those body builders put in, to get those results. If you’ve ever tried to stick with an eating plan or diet, you’ll know, it’s not easy to pass on the sugar, bread, butter, chips, fizzy drinks, milk, etc, etc, etc… It’s hard work to be disciplined. To train.

Drop me a line : if you’d like to see a “Behind The Scenes” of what goes into a full on training / competing schedule. I’ll see what I can do for you.

In the meanwhile, here is a behind the scenes of Darren Bester Photography. It will take 30 seconds to scroll through what’s been hours and hours of days, weeks, months and years to build a brand – Which I continue to work on… I’m attending a workshop this weekend and I can’t wait to implement what I learn, because it’s all so worth it.

Like I said…. I’m basically a body builder.

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