Let’s face it we all know the photography business is a tough one–no real surprise here. The state of commercial advertising photography is a challenge. However, being the forever optimist I see and witness many terrific opportunities… that are missed. So a better question is, “What is the state of your photography”?

To state the obvious, they’re too many of us and not enough projects. Okay, got it. What to do then? It’s about perseverance and commitment to the craft. I think many photographers have gotten lazy. Not lazy-lazy, but it seems that many have forgotten what it was that motivated you to become a photographer. I think a reality check is in order. It feels, in some cases as apathy of spirit–dangerous stuff. Yeah, it’s hard, no doubt but where’s the fire in the belly that was your guiding force when you started out? You must find that fire again and embrace it with all the passion your spirit will allow.

The way we do business has radically changed and will continue to evolve. That change must be embraced on all levels. We can’t sit around and lament about the glory days of our business–that’s bullshit, it’s just stifling to the spirit.

If you’re shy please go work somewhere else. Long gone are the days “I don’t network”–good luck to you, and bye. I heard it said more than once, “I just want to shoot photographs.” That’s pretty cool if your last name is Rockefeller.

The most striking thing I see is missed opportunities. When photographers call for advice on a job I immediately get them to understand the most important piece of the process is to connect with the Art Producer, Creative Director or Editor. Connecting is where the next job and longevity in this business lives. Clients expect great imagery from you–that’s a given. The question screams, “How do I get the next job and the one after that”. You must learn the art of connecting in its purest form.

Remember, and this is of paramount importance: all the folks from the creative side of our business wanted to be you! Think about it, nobody goes to art school saying, “ I want to be an art director on the Clorox Toilet Cleaner account.” Nope, they wanted to be photographers, illustrators and directors just like you. The same goes for the art producer and editors: they wanted to be photographers, art historians, gallery owners or studio managers.

Point is, your potential clients inherently and so desperately want to be around folks like you. Engage them on varying levels–there’s many ways to do it. This, in my mind is the sweet spot of “state of our industry.”

Embrace the idea that you’re special (after all, your mother told you so) and convey a spirit of unabridged enthusiasm. That feeling is contagious to all around. That is how you grow your business in a crowded marketplace.


Frank-Meo, photography-business