When you can no longer call yourself "a photographer."

For the last twenty-five years I've wanted to be called "a photographer."  My self image was that of a professional photographer who spent his time solving visual problems and taking my client's creative concepts and translating them into photographs. I've made a good living doing it. My idea of a great job was being asked to shoot a conference in Monte Carlo and then hopping a flight to Rome to shoot some portraits for a large corporation and then  dropping by London for some additional imaging on my way home.  And for a good long while I got to do just that.  Of course it was all mixed in with countless head shots in various studios and makeshift studio spaces, annual reports in wastewater treatment plants in the middle of nowhere and lots and lots of shots of products against white sweeps.  In the off hours I shot "art" for myself.

But when I woke up this morning the label just didn't fit anymore. This morning I'm packing and doing pre-production on a television commercial I'll be shooting this afternoon/evening.  I spend more time blogging than actually shooting with a camera in my hands and I've spent at least as much time writing books in the past three or four years as I have on location. I've earned as much money writing presentations as I have doing head shots.

Our profession is going through profound changes and it's never, ever going back to the way we used to do things. It can't. The simple bread and butter stuff we used to do to "fill in" financially around the edges is gone.  More and more agencies are pulling photographers in-house to do the day to day stuff and that leaves only the bright, brilliant creative work for the freelance people. And not all of us can be brilliant all the time. But in the agency world long term counts for nothing.  It's all about a great execution of the flavor of the day.  In a real way, the best and the brightest can only stay in place with constant re-invention and constant marketing.

I have friends who've been waiting for the market to "cycle back through..." but there's no cycle to the creative product, only destruction and re-creation.  And the re-creation has to be genuine to work.

I'm checking on the crew.  Calling the make-up and hair people for last minute confirmations.  We're shooting "green screen" so I've revisited what's worked and not worked in the past.  I'm a little, tiny bit nervous because we've never done a green screen project with the new LED lights. I worry that we won't get enough coverage or that we won't be able to control the spread but I know we can deal with it.

I'm shooting with the Sony a77's. I like the feature of the EVF.  Maybe not all still photographers have warmed up to the EVF's yet but for video it's pretty great. You can check your focus via focus peaking and get a good read on exposure and clipping. No need for Zacuto or Hoodman loupes.  For playback we'll run the HDMI out into a separate (and much larger) monitor.  We're splitting the audio signal at the mic mixer.  One feed will go into the camera and the other feed will go into a Tascam digital audio recorder. Ben will be monitoring and riding levels on the Tascam.  The camera will go AGC.

I think we'll be able to use the sound from the camera, even though it will go through the camera's auto gain control, because each take is three seconds or so.  Just long enough for a brief line from an actor.  Not enough time or space between words to make the AGC circuit "pump."  But if it does we'll have clean, sync-able back-up with the Tascam.

We need to be prepared to move quickly this afternoon.  We get the location from 3:30pm and we need to be out by 6:30pm.  We've got two actors and a list of shots to get. We're still waiting to hear from the editor about whether he's decided on 60fps or 24fps.  I like 24 but he'll be editing down for TV so it'll all end up at 30fps.

In the recent (pre-2008) past I'd probably be sending out some new mailers and cruising through the Summer. This time around I've got a novel that's begging to be put to bed, a new book about portraits that needs to get started and several other television projects.  Not sure I could even make a living doing what I used to do....solely as a still photographer and I'm not sure I want to experiment and see.  I'm sure there are still lots of profitable niches left but every time I talk to an art director they tell me about shooting an ad in pieces with Canon Rebels and iPhones and putting it together and massaging it for a week in PhotoShop.  These aren't little "mom and pop" shops, these are ad agencies with multinational clients.  They all have production departments. The usually have two or three employees who are avid photographers. The companies have budgets for whatever gear they want.  Let's face it, it's not that hard to get a usable photograph these days.

Something special? That might be harder but the reality is that ad agencies make their money by speaking the visual language of the masses. They shy aways from stuff that's too forward and too modern. They really do a lot of bread and butter.

I don't do kid's sports (other than a few shots for the swim club) but that's another area that was once quite profitable and it now going through a similar process. Photography is the world's biggest and fastest growing hobby and the last time I was at a soccer game in West Austin there were dozens of moms and dads sporting Nikon D3s cameras and big white or gray lenses. They'd rather photograph their own kids... And every dad or mom with a camera loves to share. Do I blame them? No, at Ben's cross country meets I'm one of the dads, front and center, white lens at the ready.  Would I buy a picture from a vendor?  If it was one I couldn't get. Maybe.

My take on all of this is grimly optimistic. Just as desktop publishing put professional typesetters out of business by turning all the rest of us into semi-professional typesetters photography, as a profession, is losing the really profitable ground quicker and quicker.  In a sense, we are the Kodak of industries.

I think there will be markets that throw off some money for the next five or so years but the smart guys have already left the industry to set themselves up as publishers, workshop leaders, DVD producers, workshop leaders, Creative Live presenters, workshop leaders, photo expedition leaders and workshop leaders.  What does this mean for you if you are a hobbyist? Not really a damn thing. More people to chat about photography with over coffee or beer.  More really fun gear to buy.  More teachers available to help you make better photographs.  More opportunities to do stuff for free that used to be valuable.

In my business we still advertise and pitch photography.  We've moved from black portfolio cases and glassine pages stuffed with prints to iPads with Retina screens.  We show stills but we also show motion.  We talk about whatever aspect of content creation our clients need.  I am just as ready to help a company with writing spec sheets or a conference presentation as I am photographing their widget or their new building.

Going forward we are entering the era of the creative content provider as opposed to the discrete, dedicated still photographer. It's an interesting way to make a living.  Now you have to be good at more things. A challenge is always good, especially if you can figure out how to rise to it....

So,what are we packing for the video adventure today? Five big LED panels. Two medium, battery powered panels, five small panels as accent lights. A muslin green screen.  10 light stands. Background stands, a whole assortment of Westcott FastFlags, stingers (extension cables), an assortment of shotgun microphones, a microphone boom, a fluid head tripod and a slider, two Sony a77 cameras with an assortment of lenses, a bunch of fast SD cards, a slate, "A" clamps, Two apple boxes, the digital audio recorder and a bunch of water.

Thankfully, all the shooting will be inside, in air conditioning. Only the load in and the load out will be done in the heat.  Once we get this wrapped up it's back to the laptop to finish the final edits on my first novel.  The one about the nervous but intrepid photographer caught up in a web of intrique on a shoot in another country.  It's good. Well, at least I think it is...

Off to pack.  Not bitter, not pessimistic.  Just reading the landscape.

edit: June 27th:  Looks like I am not alone: http://www.bythom.com/gettingbetter.htm


Bold Photography said...

People still need to brand their products. They still need people to be the face of their company. That's sometimes going to be moving (video) and sometimes, still.

This evolution of the landscape isn't a titanic shift, but rather a merging of different technologies... yes, you're going to be a creative content provider - but if I know anything, you'll be the best provider in town...

Anonymous said...

The secret here is that it is not just photography. Every career or trade that used to earn a good living is now a minimum-wage job performed by the lowest bidder. (Except for banking. For whatever reason, bankers make enough money to buy a baseball team even when they are terrible at their job.)

Farmers, small manufacturers, accountants, writers: Everyone who has not been outsourced to China has been replaced by technology. The ones who are left have had their pay cut so much that their chosen profession no longer pays the bills. When was the last time you heard of a teacher saving up enough money for a vacation in Rome?

You don't see many travel agents these days either. They are still out there, of course, but fewer of them. The ones that survive are writing books, blogging, offering vaue-added services, and basically just working for rich people. Sound familiar?

Carlo Santin said...

At least you recognize that the landscape is changing and are open to it. There are many poor souls who do not and are left wondering what happened, complaining about the good old days. I am a high school teacher and change has been quite rapid for us in the last few years especially. Unfortunately, there are many teachers who fail to understand that things have changed, students are not the same nor is the world we are supposed to be preparing them for. Change isn't always for the better, and it can sometimes be difficult to figure out where we are willing to draw the line; what are we willing to change, where are we willing to compromise, what are we not willing to negotiate?

I don't think good service, personal service, changes though. I think any business that can offer that will always have an advantage. People remember good service. They remember good teachers, good photographers, good contractors who have worked on their homes, good restaurants where the food is interesting and the service friendly. These thing do not change.

Unknown said...

Just as digital cameras changed the pro photo business forever, computing power and good coders have changed SFX as well. Now-a-days anyone (including the agency) can do green screen. Green screen software is now a commodity product. Ultimatte, who invented the process, has exited the software business.

At one time a green screen had to be perfectly lit, now software will save you from splotchy lighting.

Editing has changed too. Not many pesky rules left. The 180 degree rule is passé, 30 degree rule ??? never heard of it.

Time marches on!

c.d.embrey, someone old enough to have actually used blue screen with film and green screen with NTSC TV.

kirk tuck said...

One of the first commercials I worked on in 1984 was done on blue screen because all the ad projects back then were on film. Everything changes. We're rolling with the changes. But I refuse to give in on the 180 rules. I like to know where everyone is supposed to be....

Unknown said...

So do I, but the sad fact is things started to change years ago. In the early days of movies it was very easy to confuse the audience with inappropriate line crossing, now not at all. At one time watching motion was special, now we are inundated with moving images. And the way people watch/understand motion has changed.

My pet peeve is screen location (everyone has their place, left,center,right). If the long shot has a group of three people talking, then in the close-up they need to be in the same position. The person on camera right should be on the right side of the screen, not the left. And we see people who should know better ...

BTW I'm starting to like jump-cuts, although I disliked them in the past 8-0

Anonymous said...

Are we all to become Cubicle Monkeys? Give up our passions? Let someone else do photography/videography/film projects because we all drink the coolade and believe that there is no place left in the world for us? I personally understand how frustrating it is out there, since it seems that everyone now owns a dslr and is now a "professional" because they have a few paid jobs a year (myself included, even though I would not call myself a professional----not yet :)

I personally am open to learning more about shooting film/video projects with a dslr or compact system camera (like the Sony Nex 5N), and also getting photography jobs as well....maybe even doing portrait work with a MF Film system...something different to stand out from all of the others with their huge dslr rigs with attached flash and diffusers?

I do not want to think of a world where we all have to take jobs where we are all overqualified, to pay the bills...

kirk tuck said...

Jettiltonphoto, I think we're in the middle of a destructive cycle that sweeps away past conventions in so many fields. I have friends who are doctors who've seen their incomes drop, lawyer friends who are constantly networking and looking for the next job and tons and tons of over 40 ad people who've been axed to make room for cheaper, less qualified people. We are experiencing something that is similar to the dustbowl/depression of the 1930's where our country made a profound shift from a majority of people working in agriculture, living in rural areas to a mass migration to big cities and industrial and then service jobs.

The world is flattening out. It has nothing really to do with our passions or our expectations. I've watched photographer after photographer try to open a traditional mom and pop portrait studio in Austin. They no longer exist. The department stores are the last remnants. Tastes change. Markets change.

When people write about photography for the the web they give a rosy impression. Why? Some want you to spend money with them and promise to "teach" you how to become a professional. Do you wonder why, if it's so lucrative, the teachers aren't out there trying to make a living at their craft? No one wants to read about the vast majority of paying jobs. The article would go something like this: "I arrived on the location and set up some white seamless across the client's conference room table. I put a light on either side with small softboxes. We photographed sixteen products (boxes) against white. They will drop out the backgrounds. We finished. I converted raw files and sent them a small bill...." No, we want to hear people like Chase Jarvis seduce us with the idea that every shoot is glamorous with hot and cold running babes in tiny costumes and Ninjas running everywhere. We're all surrounded by teams of assistants and the the budgets are limited only by the stratosphere.

That sells workshops and videos and subscriptions but it isn't what the business is about. Sorry. Invent your own job. Do it your way and see if you can sell it. Sadly we can't be like the kids in Lake Wobegon. We can't all be above average at everything...
It's enough to be good and happy.

kirk tuck said...

P.S. there's nothing glamorous about packing and transporting a hundred pounds of lights, a bunch of heavy duty light stands and all the assorted crap it takes to do this right. There's hours of packing and charging batteries and loading cars and unloading cars and unpacking and repacking for what will eventually be 30 seconds of video....

Graham Dew said...

A really interesting article Kirk that I reflected on during my train ride home tonight. There are parallels with what the computer and word processing did about 25 years ago. When I started work as an engineer, there were many people employed as technical writers or secretaries who wrote up reports. Some companies had whole departments involved in the creation of words. You don’t find them anywhere these days. Reports, scripts, articles still need to be written, and are, but now it’s done by people who are for whom it’s become just part of the job for the engineer, salesman and journalist. There are still the authors, playwrights and poets struggling out there, in the same way that there are photographers who want to be artists. Thank you for sharing your insight into the creative industries.

John Bour said...

I have been working as a producer of commercial and corporate films for almost 3 decades now. Started out as a photographer, and picking photography up again after a 15 year break. My experience is somewhat different from yours and from some colleagues here;
because of he enormous amount of mediocre and bad pictures out there, people tend to recognise and value a professional photograph more than before. I actually get more clients, because they compare the amateur/wannabee/uncleBillwithDSLR/cousinwithiPhone to pro-photo's. This is true for portraits, and certainly for corporate work. Same thing is happening in video. All the shaky blown out stuff in YouTube makes it easier for us to point out how pro-video should look. I'm based in Sweden, but work world-wide. Needless to say I'm optimistic.

Ron Nabity said...

There are three kinds of people: those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who say, "What the hell happened?"

Realistically, I'd like to split my time, respectively, 60%, 35%, 5%. Sometimes, I'm not so fortunate.

There are still plenty of problems that cannot be solved by the inexperienced everyday GWC (Guy/Gal With Camera), and that is usually the differentiation that matters to the client and makes it worthwhile to them to pay for dependable work.

Eric said...

You're doing far more to adapt than most of us ... but then you've enjoyed a pretty good level of success up til now. I've reached the age where I can say "screw it, I'm an artist" and go on starving slowly.

I can shoot movies, and might, once in a while, consider doing so ... but I find them intrusive for the kind of work I do best, so I guess I'm doomed.

Thanks for a thought-provoking article.

kirk tuck said...

It's funny that the day I write this article I get three clients from three cities asking for bids. And another client trying to book me for October... Weird.

Ben and I packed the car and headed to our video shoot today. He ran sound (awesome job) while I ran camera and directed. Neither of us had to edit so we did a lot of takes, just to make sure. It was fun. The downside was the sheer amount of gear we trucked around in the 109 degree heat.

I want to emphasis that I'm not whining about the changing markets I'm just saying that change is happening and it's inevitable. We need to learn to accept it and then deal with it !

John said...

I always try to chime in when this topic surfaces occasionally and John Bour, thank god, echoes my experience exactly. I'm 41 and I've been a commercial/corporate photographer since 1996 or so. Things have certainly changed drastically over that period, but in many ways I feel MORE secure now than 5 or 10 years ago. Certainly from a revenue standpoint I earn well above what I did 10 years ago - probably double. (That's not to say I don't cringe a bit every time I read one of these type posts - wondering how I can downsize before the crash!!)

And I have attributed some of that to the same exact comment made here by John. Ten or fifteen years ago, we were competing with all legitimate professional photographers. Different styles all, but while the number of competitors may have been smaller, they were all REAL, established professionals. It seems that it is much easier to differentiate yourself now as in many cases we are competing, or being compared to, folks who really aren't professional photographers.

That's not to say that a non-professional photographer can't make great photographs. To me, the difference is an established record of visual problem solving to the point where the client KNOWS that you will deliver. There is big difference between making a great image here and there and a record of producing when you HAD to produce.

An analogy related to golf. If me and Tiger Woods had the same lie from 165 yards, I, as a 5 handicap or so, could probably put a ball closer than Tiger 1 or 2 out of every ten. I could occasionally even beat him on a hole. Does that make me a professional golfer? No - he would beat me 1000 rounds of golf in a row! It's about the ability to deliver consistently and under pressure that sets professionals apart from hobbyists - be it photography or golf.

Photography, unlike golf, is a very subjective thing. It's not that easy to demonstrate your ability to deliver, especially if you haven't been in the pressure cooker for a while to point at your record. Photographers need to find ways to demonstrate that ability to produce. But for those that do in fact have that track record of success, I think the ability to separate has increased as the general level of the field has decreased.

To close the analogy, golf has a very efficient system of measuring talent and restricting the professional tour to only the best of the best. The differences between any pga professionals are minute. The photography field is like professional golf, but with zero requirements to compete! Anyone can buy a couple cameras and call themselves a professional photographer. Some are very good. Many are average and many more just aren't that good at either photography or satisfying clients. If the professional can not demonstrate differentiation between him/herself and the inexperienced folks competing for the job, then maybe he or she is not that good??

kirk tuck said...

As a counterpoint I must say that living in Austin is very, very different from just about any city I can think of. We have more photographers (and really, really good ones) per square mile than anywhere outside of NYC. And we have more engineers, etc. with higher incomes who have the world's greatest equipment and the desire to also participate in the mix.

There will always be outliers who, because of circumstances germaine only to their situation, will out perform the market or have more success. But I must say that my sample comes from talking to top people in our field throughout our region.

Some countries and some areas of the U.S. lag the changes that begin in highly technical markets and spread outward. I'm happy for your successes. I think your playing field is far, far different than the one here or the ones in other successful cities in the U.S. Play it as long as you can.

The real issue is not that we are competing against amateurs without a shred of talent, rather the issue is that everyone's game has been raised to at least the "good enough" level.

I'm a little perturbed at the constant implication that the folks who are seeing radical declines in their businesses just don't have the chops to compete with amateurs. The people I include in my sample group are well known names and people who have been at the top of the game overall for at least a decade. Your measure of success may be quite different.

Some people imagine they are doing well if they consistently earn $50K a year. Others who've worked in the region of $500K a year have a different story to tell. It's all relative and it's all contextual.

I personally think you aren't looing at the big picture but at an anecdotal situation with a self-reported sample of two.

Tiger Woods. What the fuck does that have to do with working photographers? I don't presume you are consistently bidding against Steven Meisel or Annie Leibovitz. We're talking here about the overall market of commercial photography.

Believe me, we know how to differentiate. Sometimes the market doesn't give a shit.

If I only did thousand dollar jobs I probably wouldn't think the market had changed. If I were routinely doing $10,000 jobs I would know the market HAS changed. It's all a matter of perspective.

Unknown said...

Be glad you don't live in Houston, one of the few places in the world where you can have 100% humidity, without rain.

BTW it was 74 degrees today in coastal Orange County. ;-)

Ron Zack said...

Your comments about the changing world of photography, are, I think, one sector of many that has been tremendously impacted by the democratization that is taking place through technology.

In looking at the very broad retail landscape in general, it's amazing how many stores that we used to take for granted are leaving the landscape, never to be seen again. Mom & Pop camera stores: quickly becoming extinct. Book stores of all kinds: declining sales and very bleak prospects for the future. Record stores: no one even uses any sort of media any more for music, it's all downloaded. The same is quickly happening with books, and video, and just about every single media that you can imagine. Department stores also seem to becoming a thing of the past.

But even consumer electronics, unless it's big stuff like TV's and large appliances, people are flocking to the 'net to buy that stuff. Even the big box retailers like Best Buy are having a hard time of it. Only places like Costco and Sam's Club will have the diversity to keep selling electronics along with one gallon cans of tomato soup and ten pound bags of rice.

If manufacturing is gone, and traditional retail outlets are declining, then where, exactly, do people get a job? Even the restaurant business doesn't seem as diverse as it once was.

Grocery stores, large, diverse chain stores (Target, Wal-Mart, Walgreens, etc.), trendy grocery stores like Whole Foods will certainly survive, as will the McDonald's and Burger Kings. All that stuff where the Internet has little impact, and people are feel like they are getting real value for their money.

It used to be, not all that long ago, if you were willing to work, regardless of your education or background, you could make a very nice middle class existence for yourself. But now you need a college degree just to make a little more than minium wage, if you can even find a job, which about 50% of current grads cannot.

Even call-center type customer service jobs can be easily outsourced to places like India and Ireland and other countries where it can be done much cheaper than the USA. Let alone programming, engineering, legal work, etc.

It's not just photography where the creation/destruction cycle is wreaking havoc, it's across all sectors of the economy. But the thing is, there's a whole lot of destruction, but not a lot of creation going on. Whole categories of business and retail are crumbling, being taken over by a tiny handful of Internet superpowers who can handle just about everything.

We've reached a level of efficiency so tremendous, that human beings have become, perhaps more so than ever, a liability.

But, though this seems quite negative, there is still a lot of room out there for what I call the content creators--writers, film makers, actors, etc., who truly know what they are doing, and have a passion for it. Yes, the instrumentality and the technology has changed tremendously, but there is still a need for those who just know how to create, regardless of the tools used in the process of creation.

John Bour said...

"I'm a little perturbed at the constant implication that the folks who are seeing radical declines in their businesses just don't have the chops to compete with amateurs."

This is not what I am implicating. I just would like to put things in perspective. Everybody has a cellphone with a camera, but not everybody is a competitor for us 'real' photographers. All the crap that is being produced makes it easier for us to stand out. In my experience the playing field is not levelled down to 'just about good enough'. There is a constant need for quality work, both in video as in stills. As a filmmaker I see many photographers starting to do video too. They have a HDSLR..but does that make them a videographer, or a competitor? No, on the contrary. Video, its specific lighting, storytelling, editing, use of music, narration etc is a whole different ball-game. And all the stills-turned-video photographers messing up make it easier for my clients to differentiate between good and mediocre work.
(of course I don't imply that no photographer can produce decent video etc.etc..).
The kind of jobs we do bring in routinely far more than 10.000 US, so my 'perspective' counts, right? :-)

John Flores said...

Somewhere on the Internets there's a guy with a cinema/film/video blog lamenting that his market is being invaded by stills shooters with dSLRs and ILCs. "May you live in interesting times". That's a Chinese curse. How true.

kirk tuck said...

Of course your perspective counts. :-) I think what you're saying though is that the increase in quantity only occurred among people who don't do as good work as "real" professionals and I don't see it that way. I think the tide of technical progress has raised all boats. I see many of the issues of dollar scarcity as being good people (beyond good enough) crowding into a market and radically lowering most fees. More people can do it well. With a greater number of suppliers there's less good work to go around.

kirk tuck said...

Absolutely. But the disrupter is that what he used to sell may have changed. The move from TV (with certain technical standards and financial barriers to entry) to the internet (less production quality required, no barriers to entry). That may be a more profound shift.

John Bour said...

Kirk, I am not going to argue about this, because..you're right. The thing is that in MY business, both as a filmmaker and photographer, I experience the opposite. I wonder if our markets are so different (geographically), or if there are other factors. Fact is, since the plethora of -bad- pictures and video everywhere, say over the last 3 to 5 years or so, I have seen an increase in demand for pro'level work, and an increased quality awareness among my clients.
Keep up the good work, thnx for sharing your ideas!

kirk tuck said...

John, I appreciate your point of view. It's always great to have balance in any discussion. Keep doing what you're doing. It obviously works.

Irenaeus said...

Point taken, but never mind ~ no matter what the Label de Jour might be, just keep on Doing the Work!

Doing the Work is its own reward...

(And I'd be happy to take the first copy of your novel that you sell ~ in paper, if there are pictures, please, and on the Kindle if not.)

All the best,


Joel said...

I love this article. I've wondered how others deal with the change and it's nice to see it from your point of view. I (not being a professional) have very much enjoyed the amazing technology coming out at unbelievable prices. I think the last time I had a professional photographer do anything for my family was my wedding.

John said...

Point taken regarding the different geographic markets. I happen to live in an area with a great deal of universities and health care and they are the bread and butter clients for me. (But lots of photographers are struggling here as well.)

I stand by my Tiger Woods/pro golfer analogy as a way to demonstrate that the primary difference between a professional and non-professional is most often their ability to execute at a top level on a consistent basis. period.

I see many photographers who are very good technically who are struggling a great deal. I think the bigger point here is that maybe those folks want to insist that the clients value what they always valued? I think a dangerous tightrope that commercial photographers walk is the fine line between doing the absolute best job they can do photographically vs. giving the client what he or she wants. In some or many cases, the client is not demanding a masterpiece. They might want a really good image under compromised circumstances without the photographer complaining that the circumstances aren't allowing for perfection.

I have a dozen clients who have told me stories about previous photographers and how difficult they were to work with. In many cases, clients are difficult. But in more cases I think, the photographer is trying to please himself or herself more than the client.

Kirk, you've spoken about this here before. In commercial photography, the number one mission is to please the client. It might not be the best shot you could have made, but if you make the client happy the job was a success. You can be an artist and perfectionist on your own time. When someone is paying, give them what they want.

While you are "little perturbed at the constant implication that the folks who are seeing radical declines in their businesses just don't have the chops to compete with amateurs" I am perturbed at the suggestion that any SMART photographer has already decided that the business of being a photographer is gone. And if a photographer thinks he can survive as a photographer without being a writer, designer, videographer, workshop producer or blogger - that he is foolish or naive? As the other John said, I'm just not seeing it!

For me it's more like this: You can't just be a good photographer - not many clients really care. You have to also be a business person focused on customer service at every turn. That includes sort of being able to think like the folks you work for? To see things from their perspective and then approach the shoot from there? You must combine the photography with the ability to deal successfully with people.



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