Opportunity doesn’t always knock, sometimes it slips in the side door wearing a disguise.

Above: Image, Gina Milicia

When I was a newbie to photography, I imagined opportunity would arrive at my front door, accompanied by an epic movie score, and beautiful lighting. I pictured myself ready, I had all the gear and knew how to use it, and was wearing my best “this is how I get my big break” outfit.

The reality could not be further from the truth. In my experiences, there wasn’t a tadaaa or datadatadata moment like you see in the movies. Opportunity didn’t bother knocking; opportunity used the side entrance. There was no movie score, in fact, opportunity often spoke so quietly that I nearly missed the invitation. Opportunity is a master of disguise, the opportunities I met were rarely dressed in flashy gear and neon lights.

I got a big break in event photography in the middle of renovating my new studio and moving out of my old studio. The studio swap was one of the most intense and exhausting experiences of my life. Relocating was stressful enough but having to move and renovate and keep shooting at the same time was grueling.

I was exhausted, had paint under my nails, in my hair, the stuff was everywhere! I was in two minds about taking on the job because I was under a tight deadline to move and finish renovating and worried about whether I could deliver a high-end product.

I decided to say yes, and somehow managed to find the energy to turn up to a four-day A-list event. It’s incredible what adrenalin and the excitement of a new opportunity can do. Saying yes to that opportunity turned into a 15-year gig!

Just when I thought I had opportunity worked out, it would reinvent itself (like Madonna in the 90s) and sneak past my guard to surprise me with my next big chance.

At first, I found this incredibly frustrating. Why couldn’t opportunity just show up when I was ready? You know, like a Domino’s pizza. All I needed to do was line up my ducks, call “Opportunities-Are-Us,” and the rest is history.

The reality is, my ducks will never be 100% lined up. There is always something new to learn, something just beyond my reach. I couldn’t control when opportunities would show up, but I could ensure that I had enough of a skill set to get me across the line.

So may next year be the year you will capture that beautiful image, meet that fantastic client or start your dream photography job. Here are a few tips to help you be prepared next time opportunity slips in the side entrance offering you your next big break.

  • Keep your photography kit packed and ready to go.
  • Always ensure your camera batteries are charged, and you have plenty of spare memory cards.
  • Try and pack your kit the same way each time. Getting into this habit will help you quickly notice when something is missing.
  • Train like a pro athlete! Training means doing regular drills for focus, lighting, and composition. That way when that great shot presents itself, you will be match-ready.
  • Learn how to use your camera. If you have an hour investigate your camera’s menu options.
  • Shoot regular personal projects that keep your soul full, reflect who you are as an artist and challenge and stretch your skill set.
  • Finally, to quote Jon Bon Jovi, “keep the faith” so that when (not if) opportunity knocks you’ll be ready.

May the next 365 days be filled with amazing opportunities. Health, happiness, and prosperity.

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Gina Milicia is one of the most widely known and respected photographers in Australia. She is the master of capturing that ‘magical moment’... READ MORE

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