[Business] Dane Sanders Talks Creativity With Trey Ratcliff

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Dane Sanders at WPPI while we were in Las Vegas. If you don't already know Dane, he's a wedding photographer who web chats with some of the industry's up and coming photographers. Trey Ratcliff of Stuck In Customs fame sat down with Dane to talk about creating unique and artistically strong content for the web.

Trey Ratcliff is a travel photographer who specializes in HDR imaging, but Trey is also a very smart businessman. His site Stuck in Customs is an enormously popular photo blog and Trey's networking on Google+ is also quite noteworthy. If you are interested in Trey's views on HDR and business vs creativity, listen to the first half of this interview. However, I thought the conversation got really interesting around the 40 minute mark when Trey starts making the argument that the content created and shared on the web in the next 5 years will be more mature and of higher quality than the content currently being created.

While I think it's impossible to argue that the quality of content coming out of the top photographers in 5 years will ever decrease in quality, I'm not sure if the majority of content shared will necessarily be more mature in nature. Case in point, the MEME What People Actually Think I Do....now the 3rd largest post in Fstoppers history! What do you guys think? Is the content that is shared the most going to increase in value or perhaps will content actually decrease in substance?

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Bogdan Radu's picture

 I have a hard time seeing HDR photography (as is used today) increase in value over time .. quite the opposite.

 Why is there such hatred for HDR? I know there are bad/overdone examples out there, but there are some stunning HDR photos.

I just don't understand why all HDR photography has to be tarred with the same brush.

I think the confusion is over HDR and tone mapping a photo to death. Trey does the latter. He has some decent shots but few and far between and most of his non-'HDR' stuff is mediocre to bad. He is not a good photographer as much as a good self marketer.

Photography is becoming ike writing, once everyone had typewriters (or blogging once everyone had PCs) and music once everyone had guitars - the vast majority of people with the tool will not be able to make a living with the tool. There are studio musicians who reliably craft quality work, masters who stand out, and so on.

"Value" comes in a lot of flavors. The market will pay less for quality the more quality is available - so simply making a quality product is becoming less valuable in photography. Popularity is has value; people are often drawn to popularity more than they are to quality.

Music, which is further down this path than photography, shows us that the machine and market elevate both Adele and Beiber. Likewise, writers make a living working for trash magazines and the New York Times.

he hasn't shot a wedding in years.

Dane's picture

Hey Scott... that's not true.