I wanted to share a little inspiration with you today. A photographer and his blog that I have been following from a short while after he started it. The reason I decided to share it today is that I ran across a very short video that I am shocked I have not seen before. It’s not new.
Some of you may already have followed him for a while. Even so if you haven’t watched this particular short please do so. In my mind this person is one of a handful of photographers that epitomizes how you may want to approach your photographic endeavors, especially if you either make images for a living or aspire to move in that direction.
The reason that I think this is that it is extremely clear from this video that Scott Schuman shoots what he loves. He shoots what interests him in a way that he wants to. This is exactly the opposite tactic of shooting things that you are not interested in, don’t love, and especially in a way that does not mesh with what you want to be doing. That might be a strange thing to hear for those of you that don’t make a living with a camera but I assure you that the vast majority of shooters out there compromise on this in far to large a way. I did in the past and it sucked.
The punch line is that he built and audience - a lucrative one at that. He did this buy building an audience of consumers more so than he did “clients”. The clients came because he appealed so much to the consumers the clients were after. I am sure that his endeavors have not been absolutely pure but I would have to say that they are probably balanced to a better degree than others would care to admit.
The other thing that can be gleaned here is how to build a business in the 21st century as a photographer. Well at least one way, let’s call it the “cut out the middle man” approach. In the old world you sold work to people that had an audience - they were the ones that owned the channel. You either did that or you sold your work to clients that bought space on those channels that guessed your style might speak to the eyeballs owned by that channel.
As we all know - you can speak to those eyeballs yourself. You own the eyeballs. Scott owns a bunch of them. That’s what gets him the commercial client attention. Wow. Shoot what you love, in a way that you want, and make a living at it - brilliant.
I don’t shoot weddings. Not because I look down on wedding photgraphers - that’s silly. There are fantastic wedding shooters out there. Talk to Jose Villa, you can tell he loves weddings. His photos are fantastic. Not because I cannot do it. I probably could. I don’t shoot weddings because I am not interested in weddings. Worse, I don’t like weddings. While I could probably deliver competent work it certainly wouldn’t be inspired. I tried that road. That road sucks. It has caused me to take years to regroup, to even think about photography and image making again without complete disgust.
One more thought just to be clear on this. Scott probably didn’t set out to be a “street photographer”. He may not have ever use that term to describe what he does. It’s funny how when his name comes up in certain communities there is such controversy and argument back and forth that he is not a proper street photographer because of x, y, and z. Of course there is always the counter argument that he is because everybody is “allowed” to do it their very own special way cause we are all different and wonderful. Both sets of these idiots miss the point entirely. He is not out be any kind of proper street photographer. He shoots what he is interested in. He does it in a style and manner that suits him. It’s about the subject dummy.
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