The Business is Photography?
At our last K&M AirAdventure a few weeks back, I had arranged with one of my favorite editors, Chris, to have a “little contest” amongst two of our very talented students. It was kinda simple, they just needed to take a photograph and write a 500 word news brief about the Soldier Tree Memorial dedication and the best would get published. Both “contestants” had an hour flight with the Texas Flying Legends Museum’s Spitfire MkIX and Harvard. From that and doing some homework on their own, they had to come up with the ONE photo (all I would permit to be submitted, talk about pressure) and text to submit to Chris at Flypast magazine. What you see here is the “winning” photograph though both were winners because they accepted the challenge at the risk of rejection. And while this was a contest I had arranged, it was really a real world lesson about the business of photography. Because it’s about craftsmanship, storytelling and so much more wrapped up in a single slice of time mounting up to a fraction of a second!
In following up to yesterday’s post and flood of ensuing emails, it would seem that understanding what a photograph must contain to build a business is quite the mystery. That could be a big issue! I’m using Eric’s photo as a simple example to illustrate my point. It’s a simple, clean photograph appealing to the magazine’s taste that tells a story (you might read that fifty times until it sinks in). It has very nice light, is tack sharp, communicates action well, a background that could be England (where the magazine is based) and puts one of that countries favorite aircraft up close and personal. That’s a lot wrapped up in one click but that’s what it’s all about, times a couple thousand. In the desire to become a “professional” or want to “make money from your photography,” do your images come up to this very basic standard? Then if you want to continue on and grow your photography business, do your images excel past this basic standard? There is an old saying in business, “You can’t sell from an empty cart.” So in business the question is not if you have ONE photograph that meets these standards, but that you have hundreds or thousands, enough inventory to keep a business moving forward. In asking the question if you should put your shingle out saying you’re in business, understand the principle cornerstone of the industry. The business is photography!