An odd thing that’s happened over the years as film has transitioned over to digital and the rise of social media has had a huge impact on all our lives. Most photographers, including most of the ones that work with real clients, are shooting based on what they believe other photographers will think of their images. And, well, you really shouldn’t.
It’s easy to understand how photographers can slip into this mode on social media when most of our “friends” are also photographers. We like to see those numbers tick up and adoration from our peers, but it’s not necessarily helping you pick up clients. This video from Chrystopher Rhodes at YCImaging explains why.
It’s a mindset that most of us have probably slipped into at some point. Even if just a little bit. And it can happen to us even if we already have a few years of experience under our belt. We’re shooting based on how well it will be received by other photographers online. But the simple fact of the matter is that all the things we value as photographers (rules of thirds, lighting ratios, etc) don’t really matter all that much to most clients. You know, those people who let us actually pay the bills, keep a roof over our heads and food on the table?
When did it become more nervewracking to deliver a project on the Internet to complete strangers than it is to deliver a project to a client that’s paying big money?
Why do I feel this?
Of course, you should still learn and understand those rules and how to shoot technically accurate photos so that you understand the reasoning behind them. And if you’re struggling, definitely ask questions and experiment. But it’s your choice to break those rules when you wish. Nobody else’s.
And when you’re shooting, whether it’s for yourself or for your clients, it’s your vision that counts. If it’s for you, the only person you need to keep happy is yourself. And if it’s for a client, then they are paying for your vision. They’ve seen your work, they like it and that’s what they want. They don’t want what some random other photographer on the Internet’s wants you to make. If they wanted what the other guy says you should do, your client would’ve gone with the other guy instead.
So, stop shooting to appease the anonymous masses on social media. Shoot for yourself and your clients and share that on social media. It will allow people to find you for your vision and not what you think will please your peers.