How can you photograph only what appeals to you and still survive economically? Very often, a working photographer will say, “I’ve got to put bread on the table, so I find myself shooting subjects that will pay the bills, and these usually aren’t subjects that are of burning interest to me.”
Making Money by Shooting What You Love IS Possible
Thanks to the Internet, communication has fragmented the world of photobuyers into more accessible targets. Most photo researchers and buyers in the editorial world are specialists. They don’t stray from their specialty because they need to stay with the brand they have established throughout the years.
This translates to more and more potential for shooting what you love and making it work financially. For stock photographers today, there’s a world of opportunity out there that offers more promise than in the past to survive financially while staying with your interest areas.
When you match what appeals to you with a brand in the publishing world (and you surely can do this), you will have gained a foothold in breaking into that specific market.
It may not be easy to match up with the right markets at first, but you’ll enjoy your photography along the way. All the work you do during that time will build a deep selection in your interest areas that you can capitalize on when you capture your markets.
It’s What You Love, Not What You Sell, That Will Be Your Legacy
Here’s something else to think about: When a retiring photographer gives a retrospective, she rarely exhibits her commercial work. It’s always her weekend photography – the stuff she loved photographing, and probably the subjects that enticed her to get into photography in the first place.
Yes, she could exhibit her commercial assignment work – but it would probably be placed in an adjacent exhibit room, visited by few.
Why? Primarily because commercial subject matter and style after 30-40 years becomes passé. Further – why would attendees want to look at advertising and promotion photography? They see it every day. They’d rather be inspired and moved by photography with a vision and spirit.