Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Photography Babble.

It's common knoweledge that the photography market is completely over saturated. Everywhere you look, there is a photography blog, or tips & tricks, or outfit suggestions or .... you name it, you can find it in terms of photography. As super high-quality cameras become more accessible, so the list of "photographers" grows.

And with the super crazy growth of the photography market comes a few issues.

First of all, how often have you heard people say things about how everyone wants to be a photographer or how new photographers just want to sit around and learn everything without doing any work? I've heard it a lot & it's disheartening. Because here's the deal, I don't care if you have the best, biggest camera with the highest ISO capability & blah, blah, blah ... if you don't have an eye for composition & a love for creativity, you're not going to get a good photograph. Sure, you will get a good picture with that camera set on manual but you won't get a story captured - you might not even get something people want to hang on their walls. So, I would venture to say that even more important than camera basics, is an eye for composition & design - one can learn camera basics - one cannot learn how to have an eye & love for design. I think it's intrinsic.

So that judgey stuff I can deal with even though it can be really annoying and sometimes creep into my head a little too much.

What's hard though? Is that so many photographers are really friggen good (and even those people are working every day to be newer & better) & camera equipment, computer software & education are really, really expensive. I love photography, like a lot. When I capture a photograph that tells a story or when I get the perfect light in someone's eyes, it's like the best feeling in the world - it's art. Yet, I find myself teetering every single day on continuing to try to make money off photography & just stopping. I could do photography just for fun but without kids of my own, I really have no subjects to play with & if I offer to take pictures for free, everyone wants to do it & setting up, plus shooting, plus editing takes a lot of time. A lot of time. But, if I truly want to get competitive in the market, I will have to spend around $5,000 for equipment & classes and a lot of time, neither of which I have right now. Also, just trying to set one's self apart as a photographer could be a full time job on its own.

This might sound like me just babbling - it kind of is - but this is something I honestly think about almost every day! And I know I'm not alone in this. There are surely others of you who feel & think the exact same things. What are your thoughts??


Anonymous said...

Ali - You hit this on the nose. It is what you want it to be. Someone told me once that Professionals built the titanic, and and AMATEUR built the Ark! So there ya go! It is what it is. Art... not too specific, not too technical, just clean and simple. :) You are doing great by the way!

Jenni@Story of My Life said...

I think this is an excellent discussion, Ali. Photography and "breaking in" can seem really overwhelming when you're just starting out. Been there, done that, still doing it.

I think you're totally right, though, that intrinsic talent is a must. It was something I didn't know I had until I just threw myself out there and started shooting. Not saying my skills don't still need honing, because they absolutely do, but I have found that composition is something that comes naturally to me, and that's one of the biggest hurdles. I don't think it's necessary to have the biggest and best equipment when you're starting out, though. You can do wonders with an entry level DSLR with a really good lens like the 50mm 1.8 or 1.4, neither of which are that expensive. I think it's just imperative to learn to shoot in manual and learn some basic photo editing skills with something like Photoshop Elements or Lightroom. While you're saving for better equipment, you can do $50 1/2 hour to one hour session and only promise people 15-30 images, so you don't spend a ridiculous amount of time editing. Do as many of these sessions as possible, because the experience you get is PRICELESS. I feel like I learn something major and make big progress in every single session I shoot lately.

Marketing yourself is also key. Don't be afraid to use every single avenue available to you, and have a place to send people to see your work, even if it's just your personal Facebook page. Oh, and believe in yourself. I've heard that the market is saturated, too, but I let that slide right off, because I know I have something great to offer and I'm not afraid to work my ass off to build my business. And I have had zero trouble finding plenty of work lately. :) (we'll see if I still have this much work when I'm charging a little more for sessions, though... right now I'm only charging $100 per session!)

Just my thought/advice/babbles. :)