A million blog posts, articles and youtube videos promising to lead your photography business to success.
A success measured in Likes, Shares, Comments that ultimately translate to leads, sales and bookings. The basic idea is the same to all these strategies: follow for follow, like for like, comment EVERYWHERE and create yet another useless lighting tutorial as a blog post or video.
The argument is that by doing so you will get more followers, get your work out there, maybe get picked up by a company to be their spokesperson. Monetisation of your youtube channel, of your Blog, of your work. Passive income, big bucks, internet fame. Great right? I don‘t think so.
You spend most of your time on social media trying to gain a following, you then proceed to share your know-how and your techniques (so anything that makes you unique in the first place). The way I see it, most photographers nowadays try to make it in the social media/advertising game and lose perspective. When do you create? And what about your followers who create..the exact same thing as you? What makes you special anymore?
I believe that in the prospect of a quick and easy buck we have sacrificed a lot of what made each and everyone unique as an artist. I see Instagram and Facebook groups (let’s call them photography clubs of our time), talking and posting about techniques which then the members all learn and copy… leading to account upon account with the same aesthetics, same Lightroom presets, same fucking pictures.
Don‘t get me wrong, sharing knowledge is good, teaching is good. I just don‘t think all people are qualified to be teachers- especially if they are just trying to get to the same level as the guy whose tutorial they‘ve just watched on youtube…and are trying to emulate.
Then there is the photography business owners, who again followed the 5EASYSTEPSTOYOUROWNPHOTOGRPAPHYBUSINESS article… Which is fine if you had a personal style, something you bring to the table. Most don‘t and they just end up hurting the business as a whole. Low prices, offers, special discounts and all that for lousy pictures most of the time.
Just because someone has a large following or a lot of customers who post „OMG you re like the best photographer EVER“, doesn’t always mean they’re actually that good- it just means they‘re the one folks could afford. An artist or businessperson who values their own work never sells themselves short.
But sadly it‘s a sign of our times too. People go for discounts instead of quality. Few appreciate , or have learned how to appreciate good work. When you offer people crap photos in a nice box with minimal cost..you‘re an amazing photographer. If you post a picture of your coffee mug alongside your Mac, you‘re an influencer.. (I could write a lot of these, equally as bitter).
What‘s my point in all of this? I think our responsibility as artists and/or business photographers is to produce great and unique work. Create and inspire people and maintain ethical handling of our business. Don‘t fall into the whole marketing trap. Have a sense of who we are (and most importantly who we are not).
Be fucking original for a change.