Over the past five years, I've sought the advice of far more established professionals, listened to industry experts, talked with buyers and art directors, and read various magazines, websites, and blogs. With respect to a path toward advertising photography, the general consensus I took was roughly:
- Make lots of photographs
- Shoot the kind of stuff you want to get paid to shoot
- Develop and hone your style
- Enter contests
- Refine your list of potential buyers
- Market to those buyers with postcards, emails, phone calls, personal visits, and whatever else you can think of
- Go through editorial to get a name
- When you get a job, don't screw it up too badly
This has been my general plan for a couple years, and I'm executing it as well as possible. So. Maybe I've been reading too much A Photo Editor, but recently I've been noticing a couple of things:
- That list of items above, as a framework, has a lot more detail that needs to be filled in.
- There's some possibility that the above framework might not work for me. Or for me now. Or any more at all.
From that point-of-view, I find myself wondering: are the following items opportunities or threats?
- "Everybody is a photographer"
- Magazine evolution/death
- The long tail
- Online distribution
- Copyright degradation w/ new generation
- File sharing
- "Free the net"
- Orphan works legislation
- Internet audiences and their characteristics
- Increasing work-for-hire arrangements
- Licensing arrangement degradation
- Intellectual property ignorance
- Social networking sites
- The Economy
All I know at the moment is that I can't truly predict the future status of any of these items, but I can gather data and try to establish a productive attitude toward all of them.