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Six Reasons That Great Photos Alone Won’t Make You a Success
Posted By Jim Pickerell On August 12, 2010 @ 11:04 am In Business of Photography | 9 Comments
When you are a self-employed photographer, reaching the level of earning enough to support yourself and your family is difficult. There are thousands of struggling and aspiring pro photographers out there, all searching for that elusive key to success.
Some commentators will tell you that the key is simply to shoot great photos. For example, here is what Marco Oonk of Fast Media Magazine recently said:
I firmly believe that despite the “democratization” and “commoditization” of the stock photo industry, there will always be more reward for great images. By “great” I mean images that fill a need and do it superbly … There is still, and always will be, plenty of money to be made.
I totally disagree.
Certainly, as a photographer you should try to produce the best images you know how to produce, and you should always be striving to improve the quality of your images.
But just because an image is judged to be “great” by your peers, or because it wins awards, that does not mean customers will pay more for it, or that you will sell more of your work.
Photographers may spend more time in pre-planning, use better models and more expensive sets, and generally spend more money to produce a set of images. But that does not mean customers will pay more for them.
The Agenda of Stock Agencies
It is in the interest of stock agencies to make you think success is all about producing more and better photos. They constantly ask for “more and more” and “better and better.”
Do they do this to help you be successful? No, they do it because it does not cost them a thing. They have no investment in the production costs.
Following the advice of stock agencies may or may not increase your sales — but it will certainly increase your costs, and quite possibly reduce your profits.
Photography Business Realities
So before falling for the line that shooting lots of “great” images leads to commercial success, keep in mind these six basic principles of the photography business:
Despite growing demand for images, still photography as a profession is taking a serious hit — and not just because of the current recession.
Those in the industry who say that the photographers who continue to produce “great” images will succeed are just kidding themselves. Or, as in the case of the stock agencies, they are telling you what you want to hear because it benefits them.
The truth is, those considering entering the photography profession today need to carefully weigh their options. The pictures you produce have to be good, but that alone is not nearly enough. Beware of the temptation to spend more and more and work harder and harder without a corresponding financial result.
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