What Writing Has Taught Me About Photography


https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=2MfDr5_0YtALT1q00Photo by Rana Sawalha on Unsplash

I have written several times about how my years of photography have helped my writing, both in how I approach it and how I market it. But lately, I have discovered that how I am now approaching my craft as a writer has helped me be a better photographer.

Thinking back, I believe both crafts and the global pandemic came together in the perfect storm. Let me back up a bit and explain how I got to this point in both pursuits.

As I do most years, at the end of 2019, I reflected on the past year and made some choices of things I would change in 2020. I had plans for both, but with no idea of what was to come, I didn’t have a clue how well my ideas would pan out.

I will go into more detail on how my writing evolved in another article but suffice it to say, I was able to get more creative with it. This, in turn, led me to write longer and better quality articles than I had in the past for the content mills. I actually found myself, you know, thinking about what I was going to write — what a concept.

Independent of that, I had a several-month hiatus on travel and photoshoots planned and was going to use that time to work on my portfolio. I had a backlog of about 2,000 images I had never processed, plus I had a plan of going back through all my old photos and finding some I could improve on. My skills as a processor and the technology have changed greatly in the 16 years’ worth of images on my hard drive.

By the beginning of March, I put effort into two new writing sites and was well on my way with my photography project when the world tilted on its axis. The Covid-19 pandemic struck, causing two things to happen, both of which affected my work. A halt on travel meant that my hiatus of new photography was going to run longer. Much longer. Added to that, I was going to be spending at least an extra two or three hours a day at home.

These changes allowed and encouraged my writing and photography plans to grow and flourish. I began writing even more articles focusing on both quantity and quality. This process made me think more about how I approached my writing and where and how to market it.

That, in turn, led me to give some serious thought to my photography. For years, although my quality has improved dramatically, quantity was what ruled the day. The competition in the markets in which I sold my work grew exponentially, and I had to throw in a lot of work just to tread water. I still enjoyed it, but it was becoming tiresome. Plus, while the money was still good, I wasn’t really doing it for the money.

So, I decided to stick with my original plan, but working toward a different goal. As I write this, I have completed the 2K backlog of images and am about 75% of the way done with the re-processing. That, along with my limited ability to get out and shoot, changed my whole approach to photography. At least, from a business standpoint.

My increased enjoyment of writing has led me to follow the same path with my photography. Do less. Do better. Have more fun. And if I can make a buck at the same time, that will be nice. I haven’t actually begun this stage yet, but as I write this, I am planning a short photoshoot soon. It will be interesting to see if I can adopt this new mindset, or if it will take practice.

First, instead of submitting all of my images to a dozen stock agencies, I will be paring that down to two or three. These three not only represent the bulk of my income from that sector of the market, but they are also different enough that they give me a broad reach with my images.

When I began the journey with stock sixteen years ago, I would produce and submit five images a day, five days a week. Over the years, that has fluctuated and grown to the point where I recently submitted as many as 30 a day, seven days a week. That is slowing down, and when I finish with my current project will come to a halt.

My intention in both my shooting and processing is to focus on much fewer but higher quality images. My intended rate of submission will fall drastically, perhaps as few a one a day. I’ve been doing this long enough to know that quality does not necessarily equate to income, but I will enjoy the process much more.

Secondly, although my results have been iffy in the past, I will pursue the fine-art side of things with more intent. Instead of just throwing images that are too arty for stock on the fine-art side, I will take a measured approach and spend more time with those submissions. Hopefully, this will lead to better sales in what could be a lucrative niche.

And finally, there is that other thing. I’m not sure what that other thing is yet, but I can feel it coming. I am looking forward to seeing where it takes me. At the very least, I hope to come back from vacations with dozens rather than hundreds of photos. Last year, I completely changed my gear from Canon to Fuji, and this led to a different mindset in my shooting. That combined with the current changes, makes me feel like I am on the brink.

Of something.

I’ll get back to you when I figure out what that is.

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I am a writer with over 16 years of experience and hundreds of articles. I write about photography, productivity, life skills, money management and much more.

Alpharetta, GA

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