What transforms an average photographer into one able to land high-paying campaigns? Surprisingly, it has little to do with fancy gear or technical skills. In this great video essay, an experienced pro photographer and educator argues that developing a distinct creative voice and specialty is the key ingredient propelling artistic greats to the top tiers of success.
Coming to you from Scott Choucino of Tin House Studio, the video makes the case that standout talents like Annie Liebovitz share an identifiable style, making their work instantly recognizable. This stems from their rare ability to translate individual life perspectives into images showcasing a bold and consistent point of view.
Rather than prioritizing tricks for perfectly diffused lighting or trendy post-processing, Choucino urges his audience to embark on an introspective journey figuring out their core experiences, interests, and personality. What childhood memories or cultural influences make you view the world differently than mainstream shooters chasing conformity on Instagram? Once self-knowledge is obtained, the next milestone is determining your ideal subject matter to photograph that aligns with your story.
By niching down into specialized domains matching your background, you can develop mastery and thought leadership sought by commercial clients. Meanwhile, injecting visual flares echoing formative life events helps distinguish the mood and style of imagery. For example, reflections on growing up working-class surrounded by junk food inspired Choucino to integrate these themes into his vibrant, texture-rich food photography, fueling advertising assignments from top brands. Embracing your authentic self is the smartest path to success in an increasingly crowded industry. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Choucino.