Friday, November 16, 2012

Passion And Attitude In Photography

A woman meditates peacefully in the middle of a busy crosswalk full of business people rushing to and fro.
With all the change around us, having a good attitude is essential for success in photography; Having passion can make for a good attitude.

Attitude Is Everything: Passion Vital
A photography career is not for the feint of heart. Everywhere one turns there is the constant bombardment of change, and change is threatening. Change offers the promise of possibility but comes in the form of a maze that can lead us on countless dead ends wasting our time, resources and initiative. But then, staying with what we know, refusing to venture from our comfort zone, can be a recipe for disaster as well.  To keep putting energy into such a chaotic and often disheartening industry requires a good, no make that great, attitude.

Pushing Into New Directions
Because I have a passion to succeed I am constantly working on my attitude, and keeping a positive attitude facilitates me in pushing myself into new directions.  I have ventured into motion, put a ton of effort into my website (and, of course, done a lot of blogging), tried my hand at lifestyle photography, and am now experimenting with mobile device camera photography (using my iPhone 4S for Blend’s Memento collection). I keep thinking it would be a great idea to harness 3D to combine with my photography as well, but I just can’t motivate myself to undertake that big a learning process…yet.

The Potential For Burn Out
In this new stock photography environment, to succeed financially, you have to produce…and you have to produce a LOT!  Now exactly what a “lot” is depends on a lot of variables including what kind of work you do and what kind of distribution you have. The problem with producing a lot is the potential for burn out. How do you produce enough without turning a creative endeavor such as photography, into drudgery? You have to have passion and a great attitude.

Stock Photography And Passion
I had a conversation today with a fellow photographer who used to shoot a lot of stock, but has pretty much dropped out of it for the past few years. I was encouraging him to get back into it…but he says he just can’t face the ideas of shooting stock anymore because it bores him to death. He has lost his passion for the game.  To succeed in stock you need passion. It doesn’t necessarily need to be passion for photography. It can be passion for success, passion for earning money (yes, there are still some photographers making really great money in stock photography) or a passion for some other motivating force. In my own case I love making my images, I really enjoy having money, I like my photography community, and there isn’t anything else I want to do…which all adds up to it’s own kind of passion.

Attitude or Passion
That brings me back to my iPhone photography. In a recent blog post “Why I Hate Instagram” I shared my reluctance to use my iPhone to shoot stock photos, but I also know that a better attitude, an attitude more likely to help my career, would be to embrace the iPhone as a camera. My passion to succeed has helped me adjust my attitude. While I am finding that creating good images with my iPhone is a bigger challenge than I thought it would be, I am actually starting to enjoy it.  Forcing myself to have a better attitude always pays off in one way or another…though rarely it seems in the way I expect it to.

A "Commercial" Camera Phone Stock Collection
BTW, for those who want to try earning revenue via mobile phones stock photography you might want to check out Blend Image’s Memento collection. They (I guess I should say “we” since I am a part owner) are putting together a collection of “phone photography” that will stand apart in its strong commercial applicability. If you are interested just check it out at the Memento landing page.


Anonymous said...

John: I love stock photography and your work has inspired me! Currently have a contract with Getty and love it....can't wait do this only for a living....i will get there! Currently at approx. 1500 images with Getty, need to get to about 3,000 before I can quit my day job

John Lund said...


Thanks! Sounds like you are on track!