Friday, November 28, 2014

Some Things Ain't the Way They Used to Be

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Before I say what I have to say today, an FYI on something free to download. It's the TLS Digest. What's a TLS Digest? Well, the TLS FB page, (aka The Light Side) is a terrific photographer's forum-style page on FaceBook. It's mostly comprised of British photographers but I don't hold that against them. The guys who administrate TLS decided to transform some of the really good threads there into a periodic digest and make it available to, well, to everyone. Check it out!  You can download the first TLS Digest, a free PDF, by CLICKING HERE.  Also, if you're a Facebook user and you think you might want to join TLS, here's the link to the page. It's a closed group with more than a few very accomplished (and helpful) photographers participating, as well as plenty of shooters who are there to share and/or to learn. As it's name suggests, The Light Side is mostly focused on all things lighting... without taking itself too seriously.

Anway, here's today's post...

The world of professional photography has dramatically changed in recent years. Duh, right? These days, mostly because of new technologies, many more people are interested in photography then ever before. Not only that but many of those who have more recently found interests in photography can produce images that are quite good. Often enough, awesomely good!  I'm often blown away by the quality of photographs I see coming from hobbyists.

Not only are many of those newer-to-photography folks able to produce great images, but many of them have (or are trying to) turn their passions and skills in photography into something that generates personal income.  Nothing inherently wrong with that. But here's the deal...

These days, becoming a working photographer -- you know, one who gets paid to shoot -- has so much less to do with their photography, i.e., their skills, talent, and the pictures in their portfolios, and so much more to do with their abilities to market and brand themselves that the photography itself seems to have become a less important trait or factor in their abilities to become working photographers.

Do you know or know of any photographers whose work, in your opinion, isn't so great and yet they seem to have work, paid work, and clients or customers coming out their ears?  Guess why that is. Yep. Marketing and branding.

None of that is to say you shouldn't work hard at becoming a good photographer. But if you're doing so at the expense of also learning to become a good or great self-marketer, well, odds are no one is going to notice how terrific your images are, leastwise in terms of seeking you out so they can start giving you tons of work. It just doesn't work that way. In fact, I'm not really sure it ever worked that way.

I do know that ten, fifteen, twenty or more years ago being able to produce work that truly stood out counted for more than it does these days.  Whether that's a good thing or not depends on who you are.  If you're a shooter who routinely produces average, pedestrian work, but are really good at marketing and branding, it's likely a good thing. If you're a photographer who regularly produces terrific, even awesome photos but you kind of suck at marketing and branding, it's probably not such a good thing.

I'm mostly writing about this stuff today because my email's "in box" has been cramped full of Black Friday offers for deals on gear, software, instructional programming and more, but I haven't seen anything offered that deals with helping photographers become better self-marketers.  That's not to say those products aren't available. They are. But I guess they're not sexy or popular enough to waste a Black Friday on.

The pretty girl at the top is Jamie. Snapped it on a standing set in a loft studio in down-town LA. Used a 5' Photoflex Octo for my main, plus a medium strip box behind her and to camera left for some subtle edge lighting.  Converted to B&W with Photoshop's simple tool for doing such things. Plus, I added few other digital ingredients to it. If you read this blog somewhat regularly, you know I'm partial to converting images to B&W in various ways.

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