Here on M-dash I have often written on the importance of style and talking control of one's photography, one's life and career. It is important to be different, to be one's self; not simply replicating the sort of images others have found successful, or indeed trying to repeats one's own previous success. There is a need to be business-like.
As result of following other sites and forums I discovered an excellent podcast Depth of Field: Damien Lovegrove on The Digital Trekker's web site. It provides an excellent insight into building and maintaining a successful career as a photographer. He makes the point that it is about understanding the big picture, personal needs and objectives and the importance of creating one's own photographic style.
He makes many of the same points that I have made, but rather better and with solid examples from his own experience. Damien Lovegrove has reinvented his photography every few years and has used it to keep his passion flowing. He discusses the lessons from his successful career spread across many genres of photography; there is something for every aspiring working photographer. Interestingly he still shoots stock and does not rule out stock photography as a viable source of income. He does make the point that it needs more thought than shooting the same stuff as everyone else.
One of the points that the speakers make is that a photography career is not just about taking photographs. It is about all the rest: the business, marketing, finance and the hard decisions that need to be made. Sound familiar?
Damien Lovegrove makes a very strong point about how gear acquisition syndrome gets in the way of making photographs. He stresses how new equipment takes time to master, and even the time it takes to refresh one's technique when using a rarely used lens. For Lovegrove photography is about the emotion, the moment, the light and the buzz of place and time. It is about the creative process not the equipment.
I recommend anyone who is looking to make an income, full or part time, should listen to this podcast. It might be long, just over an hour, but there is probably as much value as attending a day's workshop. A key lesson is to get out and shoot, the more photos you take, with analysis and experimentation, the better you will get. There is no substitute for experience. Keeping the passion, hobby or career, can be a lifetime's journey.
I will use this podcast to refresh and cahllenge my own thinking on a regular basis, it is going on my iPod so I can listen in dead time, when travelling for example. Damien's final point: "photography as a career is just the most wonderful thing to do… It is not like work!".
For more on Damien Lovegrove: ProPhotoNut