I’ve been a professional photographer for over 35 years. While some may look at that sentence and think I must surely be “over the hill” – others may look at that and say “wow, she must have been doing something right, to stay in business that long”. I suppose, it all depends on the outlook of the person.
Personally, I truly believe that the secret to longevity in any career field is to be open-minded as to how they define themselves. One thing I have never done is define myself by the tools I use. Just because one has expensive camera gear, it doesn’t make them a “professional photographer”. If that was the case, then who are you if you have a camera that happens to shoot both still images and video?
I’m really amazed when photographers define themselves by the tools of their trade. I think with the way things are going in terms of how technology continues to affect our industry, if a photographer defines him/herself in such narrow terms – it’s the kiss of death.
When technology enabled me to explore video production without having to make a prohibitively investment in expensive “tools”, the creative part of me wanted to take full advantage of those new opportunities that were coming my way. After all, I’m a storyteller and I shouldn’t have to limit myself to one medium, but rather choose the
right tool (camera) to use that best tells the story that I need to tell. Sometimes that means delivering the message in video and sometimes the story is better told with still images.
Because I was an early adaptor of video (at least from a still photographer’s point of view), many of my peers equate me with just shooting video. Many assume I’ve abandoned still photography, which couldn’t be further from the truth. The real truth is, my clients see me as an imaging professional, who is able to deliver their message with the medium(s) that is best suited for the job. These days with print publication giving way to electronic delivery, clients are delighted that I am able to fulfill their needs because I am proficient in both video and stills and most times they need both.
My curiosity for exploring a variety of mediums and tools has not only kept me in business – it’s kept me from getting jaded and stale. I am a photographer. I am a director of photography. I am an imaging professional and am thrilled to still be in business at a time when we have so many tools and options in how we are able to deliver a visual message.
One Reply to “Photographers – Grow or Die”
Thanks Gail, great post…