In today’s world of digital photography, you basically have two types of photographers: those who are trying to impress other photographers, and those who are trying to impress photo buyers. Do you know which one you are? Do you know the difference?
Really what it usually boils down to is whether or not you are actively making money from your photography. You see, photo buyers have very different needs and interests than other photographers. Where as photographers place an emphasis on technical perfection, photo buyers on the other hand are looking for images that tell a story and capture their attention.
This isn’t just the editorial world either. For those not familiar with the term editorial, I mean magazines, newspapers, and print medium general. This is also the fine art world, advertising agencies, and private clients. People who are buying photography, especially those whose job it is to buy photography, are doing so for a reason, and that reason isn’t simply technical perfection.
Go down to your local bookstore and take a look at your favorite magazines that feature photos of the natural world (not photography related magazines) and do the research for yourself. What will stand out to you very quickly, especially with magazines like National Geographic, are that the photos gracing the pages of those magazines are vastly different the ones that everyone strives for on photography forums. The difference? The photographs ability to tell a story or convey emotion.
In this photo, you will see that the image is not technically perfect. The shutter speed was too slow to completely stop the action, the horses are somewhat soft, it was back lit and had to be processed somewhat in order to bring out detail in the subjects. This image does not fall under the standard technical excellency that most photographer’s are looking for in their images. With that said however, the power of this image is undeniable. It conveys a message. It tells a story of the clash between two Titans. The blur of the action actually helps to show you the power and explosiveness of this fight. This is a highly salable photograph.
The next time you are out in the field photographing, ask yourself…. Who is it that you are trying to impress with your photos? You will find that your workflow and creative process might just change dramatically with this one simple question.