“Never stop dreaming, never stop imagining cause it doesn’t cost you anything” this line was instilled on my mind after I heard this some 4 years ago in a conference in the Philippines. Eversince, I dreamed of being a photographer, I dreamed of travelling the world and go to places. I dreamed of getting a job that I will enjoy and love.
Just a few months ago, I chased my dream of being a photographer. It was a great milestone in my life as I began to experience what it was like to live as a real photographer. It was a decision supported all the way by my family, relatives, friends, and online followers.
I was thrilled to start working with Lifetouch Canada as a Seasonal School Photographer knowing that I will be exposed to a job that I was really interested in. We only had two weeks of training. After that, we started to go around schools taking photos of students on their picture day.
With the opportunity to work with Lifetouch, I had the chance to meet different kinds of people and work with awesome colleagues, too. I worked with Kurt, our boss, who has been in the industry for more than two decades, if I am not mistaken. He is an awesome person who shares different life stories and experiences, and gives you advices as well. He is outgoing and, in fact, every time I ask him to take a photo of my #ootd, he would always do it for me.
I also worked with Shannon. She is the mainstay photographer of the company for Lethbridge location. She is totally an inborn artist and has helped me throughout my first few days at work.
There’s also Cindy a kind lady who is a like a mother/grandma to me, Alex, Tara, and Rebecca who were all part of the gang. On the first few weeks of training, the company started with five seasonal photographers before I joined in. But then one quit and another one and so on, which was too much for the company as there were a lot of schools that we needed to go to, and time was our main enemy.
Last but not the least, there’s Adam. Adam and I have worked together most of the times, whether it was in or out of town. He is one of the best persons I have met so far and the first non-Filipino co-worker that I always hung out with even after work. Our personalities just click with each other because he is also on-the-go as I am. Working with him was just fun and with no dull moments. He is like a brother to me, a good friend, perhaps even my best friend. He lets me try things which I used to hate or never tried before. He taught me how to play a little bit of the guitar and introduced me to new songs as well. I even learned how to drive fast as he always teased me every time I drove just within speed limits. I even learned how to eat vegetables because of him because he always encouraged and motivated me. This is why it’s too bad that this job has ended. I will surely miss the crazy bonding that we had wherever we went to. I just wish we get to stay good friends forever.
With this job, I got to wear outfits that I never imagined I would wear before, from the usual tones/colors to the bolder and fun ones. It felt good to be able to wear whatever I wanted. It felt even better when the teachers and students complimented me, which always brightened up my day, even if it was just “I love your socks,” or “I love your shoes,” or “I love your outfit.” For me, it was already a reward for taking time to decide and actually research on what to wear every day.
People always thought that, every time they saw my posts, having this job was rad but, hell no, because there were always tough challenges that awaited us every single day.
Yes, I got to travel to different places, in the province and in some parts of British Columbia and stay at different hotels; drove more than thousands of kilometers from Mondays to Fridays, even on weekends, under the best and worst road conditions. Earlier this year, I didn’t drive long distance and hated using my GPS as I always messed it up but, now, just give me an address and I will find it in the middle of nowhere. I can drive as far as I can now as long as I have my coffee, a large fountain pop, red bull or gatorade, paired with blasting music in my car and TomTom, my GPS, who is now my best buddy, although I still get lost every so often. I also tried driving in BC Mountains at night, in pitch black, where I had so much trouble. It was indeed the scariest drive I have ever experienced in my entire driving life so far. Driving early in the morning is a struggle as well for me as I try not to fall back asleep, and just fuel myself with caffeine and music.
Working in a Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry in the Philippines for a year and Hotel industry for more than two years here in Canada accustomed me to being a night person. I stayed up until four in the morning and woke up by noon the next day. But with this job, I had to be up early, drive out of town, and catch early call times. It was pretty hard, at first, but in the long run, it just became natural for my body to wake up early. As a reward, I got to see the magnificent sunrise anywhere I find myself at.
Would you dare to carry more than a hundred pounds of equipment every day? Well, as much as I would love to say “no,” I can’t because I had to. It was a relief whenever the school had a big entrance door and main level building otherwise I would have had to carry each bag one by one, up and down the school premises, with only 30 minutes or less of setup time before I had to start shooting student photos. Here’s more, after taking down the equipment, I would have to drive to another school and set up all over again.
Fun, right? Sarcasm aside, I also think that I lost too much weight this season from all those carrying, plus I didn’t really get to eat good lunch every day because it’s so busy or I just feel so lazy preparing my food for lunch early in the morning, and by good lunch, I mean my typical Filipino meal—with rice and a variety of viands.
The first few weeks and months on the job was totally smooth until the busy days came where I had to shoot half day in one school and drive to another in the second half, and finish everything before the school bell rang. I was able to finish most of the time, but there were times that I didn’t despite my best efforts.
To make things a little bit lighter, I would like to share too that there are some funny things happened to me while working with Lifetouch. Entering a school early in the morning where the alarm went off so loud and all doors locked down. Not really a good way to start my morning but I have to wait for someone to come in to open the door and turn the alarm off. I also tried to hold my pee for a long time and when I can’t really hold it I had to pee in a bottle inside my car, it was gross but better than getting UTI for holding it too long. I also experienced having my pants torn after setting up my equipments and with that I had to put my plaid shirt tied on my waist,it looks stylish but if they only knew I am hiding something.
I admit I have not been the best photographer. I did make mistakes. I disappointed my boss and colleagues and even had Adam cover up my mess one time. I got grumpy when stressed out, but still tried to calm myself down and stay composed to survive the day.
I always believe that every opportunity comes for a reason. Joining Lifetouch Canada definitely was not a mistake. In fact, it made me get to know myself better. It made me a better person professionally and mentally. This chapter of my life may have ended, but it sure is something to look back at when I’m older.