Shooting commercial advertising fashion and lifestyle is exciting. I’m a high-energy and creative person, so it enables me to express what I see in each image and create something unique for each client.
Here is the reality: as I write this almost 30 million Americans are unemployed. Will they get their jobs back? Time will tell, but I'm sure we can agree that 30 million people will not go back to work immediately. Some businesses will never recover. There will be long-term unemployment. That news alone is concerning to any business owner. If your customers are unemployed, how will they afford your products or services? Fair question. So, that leads us right back to the headline. Is professional photography dead?
Magazine publishers will have you know that print as a medium is changing: there are more localized and niche magazines than ever. If you are paying close attention to your market, you'll see that while the industry has changed to accommodate the growth of online journalism and other publications, it isn't gone! Don't give up on the possibility of being published, but also don't discount highly-popular blogs, online magazines, and other publications. They vary in their reach and shelf life, but there’s no reason to ignore the power of print.
At the start of my journey, I stumbled and made mistakes as we all do… but those mistakes were all part of a steep learning curve. For the first 10 years of my career, I exclusively did private portrait commissions. That experience was invaluable in that it taught me how to deal with children of all ages. It’s difficult at the best of times to connect with a child who considers you a stranger, and to draw out the uniqueness in each child within a very limited time puts huge extra pressure on that connection.
Not so long ago I was paralyzed by limiting beliefs about my talent, my abilities, and my business as a portrait photographer. I made excuses as to why x photographer was successful, consistently booked, had a greater following, and why I did not. Always finding comfort by filling in the blanks with which obstacles (finances, equipment, knowledge, time restraints, or life circumstances) were holding me back from being the artist, creator, and business owner my heart longed for.
Choosing the right strobe for your needs is not only a question of budget but how you intend to use the strobe. The criteria and features desirable for studio strobes differ from those designed for location use, and vice versa. That said, strobes designed for location use can be used in the studio, and studio strobes can in some cases be used on location. So, if you can only budget for one type of strobe, don’t worry. Keep in mind that every strobe involves a series of compromises, and there is no one strobe that does everything and does it well. That’s why there are portable strobes designed for location work and larger, more powerful strobes intended for studio work. Each has its pluses, minuses and place.
There is a recipe in everything we do as human beings, one that incites some type of emotional response no matter where we are and what we are doing. It involves the senses—whether a single one or multiple at the same time. In the artistic realm, part of the goal is to generate a response based on a recipe that engages sight. This requires a process that will make your vision come to life—from formulation to actualization in creating images that inspire and elicit joy when viewed.
This is your business. Your company. Your future. You must be confident in your vision. You cannot build your company on someone else’s vision. Think about it. As a photographer, when clients come to me with their Pinterest vision boards, I typically hand them back. Why? Not because I am trying to be obnoxious, but because that was not my idea. I can’t execute on someone else’s vision any more than another photographer can execute on mine.
Inspiration doesn't just arrive on its own. It must be triggered, and there are a lot of different things that can help with that. Working on visual taste and general understanding of art is also important. Try to spend some time looking through the art of any medium, and analyze on a daily basis why it is good and what people like about it.
High-volume photography is one aspect of the industry that seems both intriguing and daunting to a lot of photographers. I will go over why I want to photograph it, the basics of setting up team and individual images, and how to organize your day and files as you jump headfirst into one of the most profitable dollar-to-hour segments of photography out there.