Photography 101: Tough Love and Going Beyond


Stephen F. Dennstedt

I know I’ve bombarded you with a ton of photography posts lately. But, hey, I love photography and photographers. And look at the subtitle of this blog: International Photographer Wandering the Globe. I define myself as a photographer, writer and world traveller. So this blog is my vehicle to share those interests with you. I might add lifestyle to those interests—I lead a pretty interesting life. I’m including a long video (Podcast) with a provocative title: Are Pro Photographers Going Extinct?

There are many of you who dream of being a full-time photographer. It was certainly a lifelong dream of mine and now I’m doing it. However the reality is much different from the dream and I think today an aspiring photographer needs to have their head screwed on straight before making the leap to full-time. The business of photography is changing as is the aesthetic of photography. One aspect deals with the art of photography and the other deals with making a living. This new digital world we live in has changed everything for the Creative (a person who creates for fun or profit).

Creatives in general have always found it difficult to make a living with their art, be they photographers, writers, actors, dancers, artists or whatever. It’s the nature of the beast. But in times past there were always job opportunities at large companies for talented Creatives. For the most part that is no longer the case, large companies don’t keep Creatives on staff. It sucks but it’s the truth. Creatives are mostly freelancers today, with all that name implies: no safety net in the form of salary, benefits, pensions or security.

This video is tough to watch (tough love) as it tries to answer the question: Are Pro Photographers Going Extinct? My friends Tony & Chelsea Northrup at Northrup Photo put it together and I think they did a pretty good job. I don’t necessarily agree with all of their conclusions but they’re pretty smart folks and definitely clued into this new digital world we find ourselves in. I think there will always be a need for talented visual artists but we might have to re-think our approach. Again, this video is specific to photographers but might give other Creatives some food for thought too.

Resist the temptation to become depressed and instead view this video as a challenge. As traditional revenue streams dry up new revenue streams come into existence. As still photography becomes less and less lucrative video photography is taking off. I know good photographers who are making their money by teaching others through workshops and online tutorials. Others have become YouTube sensations like Tony & Chelsea Northrup and Matt Granger. I have two friends who are professional photographers utilizing drone and GoPro technology in their product offerings.

I suspect some of you are missing my travel and lifestyle posts (and the occasional rant) and I’ll try to include more of those in the days and weeks to come. I am intentionally refraining from political rants as there is plenty of that on Facebook now and I don’t need to add my 2¢ worth. As I write this current post I am in the small beachfront fishing village of Celestun in Yucatan, Mexico. The Trade Winds are blowing gently, the sun is shinning, the temperature is about 85°F and the beer is cold. In the meantime give this video a look. Adios amigos.


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