I hear that a lot.
It shoots out of the mouths and into my ears from bellyaching photographers and it clutters the mind while reading an on-line post somewhere.
If photography is dead, why do publications like Sports Illustrated, National Geographic and Wired magazine produce amazing images each and every month? Why do companies spend thousands and thousands of dollars to create images of their products?
If photography is dead why is it that an estimated 200,000+ photos are uploaded to Facebook per minute (that’s 6 BILLION a month) and over 16 billion photos resided on Instagram? I understand that a large amount of the photos are pre-consumed food shots with a crummy filter slapped onto them, but step back and think about those staggering numbers and imagine how many pixels are being pushed across the Internet on any given day. Think about that and tell me again that photography is kicking the bucket.
Photography is not dead, photography has never been more important than it is today. The value of photography has dispersed and the game has changed, if you are not keeping up with the shift, that blame falls onto you.
This post wasn’t created to give you ideas on how to change your business structure or fix any of the underlying issues. This post was created to inspire those negative voices to stop complaining and do something about it. Gain some gumption and make it better for you, leave the whiners in your dust.
Shooting for free
Another cringing statement I hear spew out of the mouths of camera operators is how shooting for free is ruining our industry. If you are complaining about people shooting an assignment for free or for next to nothing, it sounds like it is time to move on. Pick up your gear and work into a new subject, hone your craft and elevate your own value. If your primary objective is to grow a business, don’t wallow in a pool of talent that you are above. Elevate and raise your own worth.
It’s going to happen, over and over again no matter how many times you frump your brow, write a disgruntled blog post or take to Facebook. It will never change. It is time to pick up your camera and move into something else to create a living from. If you don’t like the fact that people will shoot a concert for free, time to move onto something else. Wondering why a local coffee shop won’t pay thousands of dollars for your work? Time to market elsewhere. Free is never going to change, don’t fight it, better yourself and look for greater opportunities.
Low hanging fruit
If your business model is aiming at low hanging fruit, why would you be surprised to find out someone out there will be willing to do it for less. Why are you surprised when the client chooses the free competition over you? You cannot make a living on low hanging fruit, it will never pay the bills. If you are aiming at trying to raise a mortgage from a few local boutique shops, you are sorely mistaken. Aim your sights higher; take down a large client you never thought you could, raise your own bar up above the rest so that the low hanging fruit becomes scraps that other less talented photographers fight over.
The rules have changes and value has been dispersed. The fact is photography has never been more important than now. Learning to make a living with a camera has changed, the industry has changed, bellyachers have not…
I look forward to your responses.