Be Different or Die

Back in the “good ol’ days” of photography, all you really needed was a nice medium-format camera and a few business cards.  That pretty much set you apart from the parents with cameras.  My oh my, how things have changed!  The camera no longer sets you apart from your clients.  Heck, some of my clients have more expensive cameras than even I use.  Believe me, it isn’t about the camera.

It isn’t about the canvas either.  In the past, only professional photographers could get something printed on canvas.  Now you can get it done at 100 different places online.  The products no longer set you apart from your clients.

What is left is the image.  This is the one area where you can still set yourself apart from the common person with a camera.  They might have a nice DSLR, but they don’t know how to pose or control light.  That is the big problem that will soon face all the people who don’t know lighting and posing – and just call it “photojournalism.”  Unfortunately, photojournalism isn’t a fancy word for sloppy.  Once all the parents figure out they can take these unposed, snapshot-photos themselves, that is exactly what they will do.

I can tell you for a fact that no parent is going to take the time to learn how to use lighting and posing to create classic images.  They aren’t going to spend the hours and hours of time to learn the nuances of Painter to create beautiful paintings.  They will only do what they can do with ease.  That is why it is so critical for photographers to work on their craft.  Create images that are head and shoulders above what anyone with a DSLR can create.  You have to offer something different… something better.   If you are just offering them something they can do themselves, you will soon be out of business.

So take a class, head to the museum or study with a fellow photographer.  Take your game to the next level and you will be in a better place to succeed as an artist and businessperson.


  1. Larry: You hit the nail on the head with this. It’s what I have believed for quite some time. It is THE reason so many ‘photographers’ (new and experienced) feel threatened by the DSLR tidal wave. They rely totally on the camera or the equipment to carry them. Only the true artists or those who continue to hone their craft day in and day out with passion will survive and have clients seek them out for their originality because it separates them from the pack.

  2. Sarah

    Larry – You are so right. Anyone can pick up a camera, stick it in AUTO and shoot. They might get a good photo! But they don’t know WHY or HOW. 😉

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