Are You Working Hard to Be an Average Photographer?

I am in Arizona and the sunrise this morning was quote colorful. I kept thinking that I should have been out there to shoot it. It certainly would not cost me anything other than the time to go out and shoot. And I love to photograph!

I often ask myself; just what should I photograph or create that will earn me some money? Should I rise early every day, or most days that I am here, and go capture the sunrise? It is impossible to predict what might be discovered and immortalized in a digital file from a click of the shutter.  But one thing is certain: you won’t capture any great images if you are not out there!

That’s the goal: great images! Great Images that sell! But just what is a great image for today’s market? The bulk of what you see seems average. So I ask myself again: what should I photograph that will make a great image that sells? Should I go ahead and go shoot sunrise, not for the joy, but for my business? I am often torn. My career includes many episodes of feeling guilty when I saw something and I was not out there to capture it. That fear of missing out.

But not anymore! With business so challenging these days and traveling to photograph rather costly, photographing the desert sunrise for the joy does not happen often for me.  And it makes no sense to photograph sunrises for my business. Anybody can shoot a sunrise or sunset that’s half decent. It seems everybody has shot sunrises and sunsets! The internet is loaded with them. I remember my stock agency telling me 20 years ago; “no more sunsets.”

For photographers with business ambitions in mind, sunsets might not be a subject to spend money or time seeking out. Every photographer in business most likely already has sunsets and sunrises. Do they make money off them? If so, they are very lucky.

However, this is not just about sunrises and sunsets. It is about average landscape and nature photography that falls into the same category: over supply and lack of demand. Many photographers work very hard at capturing average subjects in an average way. The same scene taken from the same vantage point, taken on an average day. As we know, effort does not translate into money. It matters not how hard it was to get the shot. How far you traveled to get there or how much it cost. None of that matters.

What matters is that you are not in business to create images everybody loves. You are in the business to create photos that a few need (and will pay for). If you keep that concept in the front of your mind, you will start thinking about subjects that are in need and the images that would meet that need.

So quit working so hard to be average!

Please leave a comment if you have thoughts.

Related Posts: 5 Tips for Creating Worthless Photography, Photographing With A Purpose


2 thoughts on “Are You Working Hard to Be an Average Photographer?”

  1. I feel the same way, fear of missing something, I love shooting bird photos but the market is saturated with them. It very hard to make even a little money with them, I guess just haven’t found my niche

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