As a photographer, I like to follow the field online to keep current on the newest techniques, gear and to see what other photographers are doing. It’s very interesting for me to see what advice other people have, particulary about showing your work.
A common theme I’ve seen from others is to label the type of photographer you are and focus on that area. If you typically shoot landscapes, just focus on show casing your landscape photography. If you like shooting concerts, only show your concert photos. If you like photographing animals, only present your animal photos.
I understand the idea ~show only what you want to be known for. That way, perspective clients and buyers have a snapshot of who you are as a photographer, and what you can bring them, as a buyer. But I think this approach can be myopic and limiting.
I am known as a concert photographer, and 90 percent of my work is from covering music. I love it, but I don’t pigeonhole myself or my art by only focusing solely on concert photography. Some of my favorite and best received photos have been landscapes and portraits. As a photographer, I want to constantly challenge myself and try new approaches to the medium I love so much. I don’t want to get into an artistic rut by only focusing on one type of photography, even though it is a type I thoroughly enjoy. Yes, it’s important to master your primary area of photography, but it’s just as important to go outside your comfort zone and try something new.
Another piece of advice that is hotly debated online is whether or not to participate in a photo a day project. Detractors say it’s too easy to get bogged down and post lousy images out of obligation. Your reputation as a photographer will suffer if you stray from your primary focus, they say. Better to stick with what you know and don’t bother. However, proponents argue participating in a photo a day project can help you shoot outside your comfort zone and encourage you to constantly think as a photographer. I’m a big fan of photo of the day projects.
I started a photo of the day project back in 2013 and called it 365 Days of Awesomeness. I wanted to challenge myself to see if I could go a whole year taking a photo every day. It turned out that I couldn’t. My 365 Days of Awesomeness tinkered out in the Fall of 2013, mainly because we were moving and I was without my camera for some time. But I thoroughly enjoyed the idea of it and relaunched the project in 2015.
I’ll be honest – it is at times difficult for me to post a photo every day, especially on the days when I have a gig right after work. Last year, I completed the year, but there are several Throw Back Thursday photos and I’ve been known to post almost a weeks worth of photos at one time. But that’s OK because I’m constantly photographing something and my project has evolved into a visual social diary. Yeah, some of the photos may not be technically good but they give the audience an idea of who I am. As a photographer, I want people to not only know my work but also know a little bit about me. In honor of the Leap Year, this year’s project is called 365+1 Days of Awesomeness and of this writing, I’m behind three days.
If you are interested in photography and are just starting out, throw yourself into it. Try macro, try landscapes, try portraits. It is through trial and error that we discover what we excel at. But, when you discover it, don’t limit yourself. Hone your skills but get out of your comfort zone by trying something new or different. Participating in a photo a day project is a personal decision but don’t flat out reject it because you are afraid of either not finishing it or damaging your reputation by not devoting 100% of your time to your chosen photography style. The secret to success in photography is having a love of photography in all its vast interpretations and genres. And to keep on shooting.
If you are interested in my 365 Days of Awesomeness project, you can check it out on Tumblr here