Photography SuccessSubmitted by Michael on Thu, 2011-01-27 10:30

The climate change in the photography business landscape

Let’s say from today on you are going to shoot excellent images - just like the grand masters of photography did. The masters you probably admire. How successful would it make you to be as skillful as they are?

It’s tempting to think that we can get successful in photography by doing it like our successful idols did it. But nothing could be further from the truth.

The rules in photography business have change fundamentally over the last couple of years. People, who began their success story years ago started from a completely different place compared to new comers today.

But with a bit of understanding of how the photography community is structured nowadays, it’s easy to see new paths to success.

I wish you good light!
-- Michael



Related Links:
This video on Youtube: Climate Change in Photography Business


Great observation and very well stated!

Thanks Will, I'm happy to share this sort of observations.

I agree to what has been said. There is a vast difference in the technology available in today's times and the one that was available when the people we idolized started with photography.
compressed air dryer

Yep, and the great transparency introduced by the internet is what really made a difference in photography. Nowadays amateurs can show how good they are and potential customers can compare them to pros.

How strange, how exciting!
But (unfortunately) just true!
I am fully on your track.
What is the consequence?
It is not the education (school), it is not the equipment, it not not just the opportunity to make 'CLICK'. It is the imagination, the vision, the mentality that creates exceptional photos.
OK, now I got it.

Thank you, Michael, for sharing your considerations.


Exactly, Manfred! And it's the your focus on the one style that you like best!

thanks for telling abt changes that took place in the world of photography. great post!

Maybe I missed it, but what was this Climate Change you talk about? What was the event?

Don't worry, the great mare in the sky makes sure that all ponys will survive happily. It's just the dinosaurs amongst the photographers who are currently dying away in times when clients searching for passion instead of muscle.

May the Great Stallion and Mare in the sky bless you with strength and virility Brother Michael!

Thanks Michael,
Once again Great insight. I'm reminded of a youtube video where this older photographer was explaining that if a model is comfortable then she is not posing...Dino!

Hahaha, yes, I mean, OK, sometimes I lead my models a little bit out of their comfort zone. A lot of times it is exciting for them and afterwards they feel really great because they now have wider boundaries. But I would not recommend making anything that is really "umcomfortable" for the model :-)

good luck bro:)very nice blog and awsome theme

Spot on!! I am aware that I am being a dinosaur, and have been aware of that for a while. Your explanation has made this much more clear.... Thank you very much.
Now I have to find time and the means to break away and get serious.
Love all your work
Cheers Simon (Australia)

Hi cousin Simon!
Awesome - since you understood the big picture you will for sure make it. I hope I can contribute a bit here and there with future blog posts.

I'm really interested in your post on starting a successful photography business. I believe I've seen your first video on this topic but I have not seen any others to follow up. If I'm not mistaken you said you would be posting videos on it every forth Thursday of the month? Is there any that I've missed since the first one? If so how do I get caught up? Thank you.

The films in the photography marketing program were not very popular on this blog. So I replaced this program by "Photography ideas". However, recently I had to care a lot about my family and did not post new videos in that one either. But that will change soon.

Can you tell me, what is your next big question regarding starting a successful photography business? What is the next thing that you would like to know in order to get where you want?

I think the next big thing for me is my clarity on how I get from now to goal. I want to run a full service photography studio.

Awesome! Let me understand two of your objectives a little bit better:
a) What is the good thing for your about running a full service photo studio? What is the "why"?
b) How much money are you intending to make per month?

My answer to both of those questions would be I have not looked that far into it...I'm trying to really set myself up for success...Is there any advice you can give me? I do know that I want to be published, I'd like to produce a calendar, and that I'm very interested in stock photography.

If you have not looked into that in detail, then now is the time. If photo studio is your goal, then just imagine how your ideal day in that business would look like. Imagine it. Feel it. And check what it it is that you are really after.

When you ask "Is there any advice" then what I understand is "is there any GENERAL advice...". Sure there is. Boatloads of it. But remember Alice in Wonderland?

Alice: Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?
The Cat: That depends a good deal on where you want to get to
Alice: I don't much care where.
The Cat: Then it doesn't much matter which way you go.

However, here's my general advice:
Make it a REGULAR HABIT, make it a RITUAL to work on your portfolio. If you do a "Sunday Portfolio Shoot" every Sunday, then this is very likely to help you a great deal. It's super important that this is
a) a habit
b) regular

This is what separates top achievers from the others. For a top sports athlete it is a habit , it is the way of least resistance to do their exercise routine each morning. They would NOT schedule anything else in that timeframe because it is "taken" by their routine. They don't need to think about it anymore, they just do it. Over and over again. This is what brings the huge compound results.
Do it like a champion, make it a ritual.

Thank you so so so so much...I will use this advice and gain some clarity...I appreciate you and all of your advice, videos, techniques, and experience. I would like to share some of the work that I've done inspired by your videos. Where would I upload my images so that you can critique my efforts?

I don't have image upload as a function of SmokingStrobes. But how about if you upload it to flickr or picasa? Then you can post a link over here.

Picasa will soon be rebranded into Google photos. It will be one of the supporting services of Google Plus. My feeling is, that Google Plus will become huge. It will be one of the marketing channels for you in the future.

Hard to get my thick German accent? Here's the transcript!

Hello fellow photographer how is it going, I am Michael Zelbel and in this video, I would to introduce you to a typical mind set in photography and I would like to tell you why this mind set is completely wrong and why it might even kill you artistically if you have it. And the reason behind all of that is big climate change that happened in the photography landscape a while ago and which basically changed everything and you need to know certain things to survive artistically in these times of change you need to be aware of it. One thing that is important for instance is to understand how severe the change was, what changed in photography and that is the equivalent between a change from an ice age to a let's say, tropical weather condition. It was big thing that went on in the recent years and you need to know at least the basics of it in order to adopt to survive. And I would like to start and have a quick look at technology because that is something where most people see and follow the change but I would say nothing big has changed in camera technology over recent years, I mean yes, we now have digital but this doesn’t change too much, this is not the big game changer, so I would say technology is not a driver of this climate change, at least not camera technology, now probably the internet is bigger part of the camera is not, it is only a very small part in what I would call the big picture or let us call it the big map, if it is climate change, let us have a look at the map and see where there are whole continents which now shift it together or which are falling apart. And this is where I would like to have a look at photographers, as photographers ourselves and 2 the continents in the past were amateurs and professionals, people really like to distinguish between those 2, amateurs were the ones who were photographing out of pure love, they didn’t make money it was just hobby and then there was the professionals who had a good education and who earn the money and this distinction is no longer relative, it is completely blurred, it is not use to distinguish between the 2 because nowadays thanks to the internet, the amateurs have all the information they need in order to shoot really, really professional photographs and they don’t need formal education anymore, they can do it and on the other hand, buyers and customers, thanks to the internet again, they see who on earth, who on the whole planet is capable of doing, of shooting outstanding photographs, whether these are professionals or amateurs, they don’t mind, they are after the best photos., so in this distinguish is no longer valid anymore which one is and here is a word how I see it at least, I see there is a big group of what I would call guy withcamera or GwC and those are people who have expensive DSLR camera and they do not have a big goal or artistic ambitions and they are just snapping holiday photos and the like and they are really happy with that. They see it as a really low level hobby and they are fine and then there are the architects of vision, the AoVs and those are the people who really love what they do and they have an artistic goals, so to speak, they want to move something and they have a signature, a style of their own which they communicate clearly in their portfolio which they show to the world and with that they are search for a niche in the industry and publishing a portfolio mostly online which are completely fits into that nature. They are quite successful, they got an audience, they are earning the money nowadays. And then there are what I would say the dinosaurs, these are usually people who learn photography as a craft, they have good education, they have excellent skills, they could do great things but they never learnt to adapt to this climate change which happened, so they try to play the game by the old rules which doesn’t work at all, which means the customers are running away. They are mostly bitter because they see the architects of vision or what they think are the amateurs actually, they see then eating their lunch and they are starving they can’t pay their rent, so these are the dinosaurs and these is the species which will go extinct soon, they wont survive in the climate today. So what does that mean for you? What I would like you to do is to decide for yourself which category are you in currently, are you the guy with camera and you don’t want to have bigger success or are you an architect of vision, so you are carefully crafting your portfolio with your signature style and you are carefully marketing yourself or are you a dinosaur you really learnt it and now you can’t find customers anymore. Decide which category fits best for you and then please decide do you want a transition, do you want to switch between categories and if so I would also like you to have a critical look at your role model. Pretty much everyone of us is looking up to big photographers which is a good thing but when it comes to being successful, I would like to check are they pre-historic big dinosaurs meaning they have become successful in the past and got big and now they are so big, so well known that they are still so successful but in the old fashion way and if that is the case, then by all means look at them artistically but don’t try to mimic them, don’t try to copy the way that they became famous because that is the road to success because probably it doesn’t exist anymore. The climate change has dropped the continent which that road was on and nowadays you could replicate it anymore, no way. What you want to do is take the architect of vision role, that is the only thing that brings you to success nowadays and this is what future videos in this program will be about and so we will take a look what the architect or vision road is specifically for you, so tune in to photography success in the future, we will take a look at that but in the mean time, don’t try to do it exactly like your old fashion role models did it. All right that is it for today, I hope that I brought you at least a little bit of clarity or one or the other fact that you didn’t have so far and until next time, I wish you a lot of fun with your success, your photo shoots and I wish you good light!

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