See what I mean?
Look at all those people taking pictures. There are six smartphones that I can count and I think a see a seventh hiding behind the blue umbrella. That’s a lot of pictures made in just a few minutes. That’s a lot of uploads to these folks’ favorite social media. That explains why various social media talk about such high numbers of uploads.
It’s also a lot of noise. Not a lot of signal.
I mentioned to a Storyteller friend that the marginal to good pictures posted online was at least 80 to 20%, which is an old business ratio. Truth be told, it’s probably about 97% of posted pictures that make up the marginal side. There are so many pictures being posted each day that it is almost impossible for the good ones to be seen.
What to do? What to do? What’s a wise man to do?
If you are trying to build a career these days it’s tough. You can use various tags as a couple of friends of mine do to alert the gatekeepers to your new work. With luck, they’ll see it.
You can build a community, like many book authors do. Hopefully, enough people will see your work and may want to do a project with you.
You can work at your photography in such a way that it becomes unique and go old school by sending emails and other reminders like postcards to your selected gatekeepers. The warning here is simple. Don’t do it too often or you become a pest.
You can buy mailing lists. That’ll get you breadth but they may not be current. It’s a shotgun approach.
You can do what I do. Target about ten companies with whom you really want to work. Combine everything above and try to develop conversations with them. Don’t be pushy. Be yourself and show them work that fits their needs. Of those ten — remember the 80-20 rule — you’ll be lucky if two of them want to work with you. And, that might be in the year after you started your campaign. The cool thing about this form of relationship building is that visual gatekeepers will take you with them since they change jobs frequently.
A couple of other issues.
Don’t be competitive with photographers on the scene. Help them out. Good street cred is as important as anything. Besides, the only person to compete with is you.
Understand that even if you take a mind-blowing picture, there might be 20 other pictures that are just as good, or good enough. And, it’s likely that you’ll never know it. Don’t worry about it. I go out there because I enjoy it. The work that puts kibbles in the dogs’ bowls isn’t anything like this. Even if you do something else to pay the bills, come out because you have a real passion for it. That means all the subjects you enjoy photographing.
This picture. This was as intentional as it comes. I’ve been talking about pictures, picture quality and the numbers of people producing pictures for a while now. And, how people take them. I started looking for pictures on the street that could illustrate my words.
I suppose I found it. I knew that I wanted to have some subject in the foreground. The two women fit that nicely. The rest came from keeping my head on a swivel. Like a bobble head.
Yep. A bobble head. That’s me.