The Future Professional Outdoor Photographer is………

…a storyteller!

You have certainly heard, maybe even said it yourself; anybody can take a picture! While that has always been true even before digital, the level of high quality photography is more prevalent today and easier to achieve. Why is that?

It is a combo of many things. Digital technology has made the ability to capture and process an image very easy. Software has brought many tools for interpreting a RAW file into a unique personal vision for the photographer. The web has brought us the greatest learning tools ever known. It simply is not that hard to learn how to create wonderful photography.

Yet one thing has always been there challenging professional photographers. It has been there from the early days of film to the today’s digital world. It is the biggest roadblock to success in photography.

Maintaining a current business model!

This business has changed dramatically and will continue to evolve. And if you wish to evolve with it you need to look at this business in a whole new light.

The still photo is no longer the means to an end it once was. Simply capturing an image and waiting for it to be licensed in any form is a much longer wait than it once was. While still photos are used more than ever, the income that once came with an images use is stretched thin, if existing at all.

The future

The future is the storyteller or as someone suggested on another site: the broadcaster. The future belongs to the photographer who uses images, motion, words, audio, and web skills to broadcast the story to the world. The future is telling stories and the best story may not be told with just one frame.

Photographers need to educate themselves on storytelling and any tools that help tell the story better. They need to offer a bigger package than simply the ability to take great photos.

As a storyteller, or broadcaster, photographers need the ability to look at the story waiting to be told and determine the best way to effectively tell it.


When you think about the web for example and all the images and videos, this can be a guiding light in how you promote your business. If you do workshops as one example, creating a storytelling video  that shows a location you held a workshop and includes short testimonials by students along with some narration and text on what they learn in your workshops, can be far more convincing than words and text alone. Post it on YouTube and embed on your site shares with the world.

If you wish to promote an editorial story to a magazine, explore whether they have a digital version of the magazine and offer to include video clips along with photography and text so they can produce the mobile version of the story that includes those stills and video clips.

During the evolution of photography, stories were told with multiple images in many of the well known magazines and that was it. Delivering those stories is vastly more sophisticated these days. A still image once promoted the car in the magazine ad. Today, and in many cases, a still image and a video clip promotes the car in the mobile version of the ad.


For some the idea of video, audio, and forming a story is a big roadblock. It is scary to venture into areas unknown. But the future will require the still photographer to go where they have not gone before, simply to stay in business.

Just like learning digital technologies and image processing a decade ago, was new and daunting for many, moving into multimedia will be just as daunting for many.But do you have a choice?

As Joe McNally was recently quoted: “…….I think the future is vibrant, it’s just going to be very different from mine.”

Have any thoughts? Please leave a comment.

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