There has been an increasing trend over the last few years that many newer photographers have latched onto. That trend is how important it is to tell the story "of" the photoshoot rather than just conducting the shoot itself. I've been noticing a very specific shift in priority from a time when it was all about the final images to a balance between shooting and behind the scene to our modern world where it can often be surprising how often behind the scenes actually seems to be the true product of a photoshoot.
Personally, this is something I resist and will continue to resist. My primary motivation as a photographer is actually creating photographs but it is also something that we, as photographers cannot help but take notice of. Photography has become increasingly driven by social media and the ability to tether a sense of personality to the work has continually provided a marketable advantage.
Behind the scenes content, especially in the form of video, is a tremendously powerful mechanism for building a connection with viewers by sharing the memory of an experience. That memory seems to be surprisingly effective at grabbing the attention of new fans and giving them a compelling reason to continually follow a photographer's work. In a sense, the performance is as valuable as the product. Philosophically, however, is this something that we should pursue? This is a very individual question that is heavily driven by each photographer's own point of view.
If your goal is to build as strong a business as possible then the correct decision is always the road leading to the most economic prosperity, even if it lies in contention with your dreams or desires. Photography, however, isn't a career that can ever be considered a good business decision. It is a difficult road that generally leads to relatively poor earnings. Photographers do not chase photography because we want to be rich. Rather, we chase photography because we love to create photographs.
Should behind the scenes content be created? Undoubtedly, the answer is yes. There is clearly a demand for it which means that someone should fill that demand. The question of where to prioritize that content relative to the photography is a deeply personal one that will ultimately define your goals as a photographer.
How do you feel about the BTS audience? Is this something you feel you should tap into? Is this something you resent? Should it remain secondary or should it become a priority? I'd love to hear how you feel in the comments below!