5 Ways the Photography Community Can Be Better in 2020

5 Ways the Photography Community Can Be Better in 2020

Every year, we all take steps to grow as photographers, but maybe it's time we start growing as a community. Here are some things we can all stop doing in the new year to grow positively together.

No More Gatekeeping

We have to collectively stop thinking there's a hierarchy of real photography. Shooting film doesn't make you better than DSLR shooters. Shooting on a DSLR doesn't make you better than a mirrorless user. And shooting mirrorless doesn't make you better than an iPhone photographer. We're all photographers using our own favorite mediums to shoot what we enjoy shooting. Stop looking at everyone else and snickering, and start looking at what you're doing. The best thing you can do for photography is be inclusive of everyone no matter what they do or what they shoot with.

Stop Talking Bad About Clients

Campaign work for Remilia Hair. Don't worry, Remilia. If you're reading this, I'd never talk bad about you.

Remilia Hair | Models: Ava King and Yuri Mori | MUA: Agnes Barnat

We've all been around gossip, but what we all need to realize is it's better to hold that in than let it out. You never know who it's going to get back to or how it makes the person on the receiving end feel. At the end of the day, the negatives heavily outweigh any potential positives from gossip.

Every day, I see on Facebook groups or other photographer's Instagram stories complaints about models, photographers, and clients. It might make you feel better to get it off your chest, but going that route only makes you less trustworthy to other potential clients.

No More Complaining About Social Media

What do you think you're accomplishing by complaining about it? It's not going anywhere, so stop complaining and start trying to understand it. For many photographers, it can be the best part of your marketing mix. You might not be getting millions of followers, but you don't need millions to benefit from the powers of social media. You just need to understand how you can maximize it for your own business.

Stop Thinking You Know Everything

This year, the two areas I wanted to learn the most was commercial color grading and hair retouching.

Remilia Hair - Models: Ava King - MUA: Agnes Barnat

We're never done learning; there are always things we can do better, and as soon we get complacent, we start to drop off. The more you learn, the better your chances of staying successful.

Stop Caring What Other People Are Doing

We all need to stop looking over our shoulders and measuring ourselves by what everyone else is doing. Others' successes often have nothing to do with us, and we can't control what they're doing. The only thing we should worry about is what we can control. And if someone is succeeding, we should be happy for them, not jealous.

This new year, let's not just work on our photography, but ourselves. Being part of a community, no matter how big or small, comes with personal responsibilities. We all could benefit from being more inclusive and positive to one another, even if it's just back and forth online. 

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Tony Clark's picture

So much truth on the list, I've always felt that talent wins most of the time. As I sit here waiting on approval of my estimate for a large project, it's hard not to complain about clients. Perhaps I need to work on patience this year.

David Justice's picture

I'm right there with you, but I'm really trying to keep it to myself. You never know if it'll get back to the person/team and you NEVER want that.

Stoopy McPheenis's picture

Brutal honesty can be a good thing in business and art. When I stopped being nice, my income level went up and my stress level went down. Nowadays, I just tell it like it is and my clients expect it. :)

David Justice's picture

What we’re talking about are 2 separate things. You can be honest with a client, but they can still be a pain. That doesn’t mean you go behind their back to talk about them.

Stoopy McPheenis's picture

I don't have to do it behind their back, because I say what I need to say straight to them. If they're a pain, I tell them. If I say it to someone else too, I don't worry about it getting back to my client.... Because I've already said it to them.

Kang Lee's picture

The worst photographers are the ones that think they know everything and can't get better

David Justice's picture

I think a lot of it stems from being constantly surrounded by people willing to tell you whatever makes you happy or people not skilled in photography. If you listen to those outside voices telling you you're great, you're going to believe it. But if you don't know that you shouldn't listen to untrained voices, you're going to fall into that trap. Nothing you can really do about that.

T Van's picture

Number 4 is the only relevant one.
If you actually subscribe to that, the first 3 suggestions can be ignored as you'd be caring about what other people do.
Your situation is unique to you and you alone.
What works for you isn't necessarily going to work for anybody but you.

S M's picture

This is a great list!

I think it’s important for someone to quit comparing yourself to others, and rather be inspired by others. Your clients hired you for your look, not someone else’s.

Richard Carlson's picture

Well written. As a amateur, I am generally turned off seeing articles or postings criticizing clients or "uncle bob" taking photos and all of the other complaints. Live and let live .. and move on instead of dwelling on something. A person will be much happier for it. Every field of work has issues. Complaining about them always just looks bad.

Fristen Lasten's picture

Stop the Canon Fuji Nikon Panasonic Sony etc. wars. The best camera is the one you have.

If you don't have anything nice to say, say nothing.

Deleted Account's picture

I have no idea; however, I do give a small grim chuckle everytime your community drives an experienced photographer out of of the community - the last one I noticed was Rob Mitchell a couple of days ago.

Keep up the good work kids.