Are you spending your time looking to what the other photographers in town are doing instead of the heavy weights of the world?
As competitive as the photographic market can be, should we really be looking laterally for inspiration and/or competition? Sometimes, but it really all depends on the calibre of the work you are up against. Thinking locally can have poor effects on the quality of your work. It’s the kind of approach that means the difference between climbing the ladder alone and riding a window washer’s platform together. The latter (not the ladder) is what I have seen far too often. It creates “clone syndrome”. This is how the low-balling bidding wars begin. When the work coming in all looks the same, it’s really just a matter of cost.
It’s really a strange dynamic because everyone seems to be thinking locally rather than globally. If the market sucks were you live, why not spread out to a better market? Ah! First you need to improve your body of work from a local esthetic to a world wide one. One of the first steps is to review your work (even better, have a pro do it if you know one) and measure it against what you see in the big magazines. (It’s disheartening, isn’t it?) Now with those observations in mind, figure out whats missing in the strength of your work. Is it poor lighting? Bad model casting? The wardrobe? The concepts? If you said yes to any of these, you’re not setting high enough standards to improve your work. So now that you are armed with a better understanding of your work’s shortcomings, take the necessary steps to improve. As you get ready to set up another test shoot, make a conscious effort to aim towards improving the weaknesses. Trying new techniques. Working out problems. Move the light over there instead of where you always put it. After all, that’s why you are testing in the first place, right?
There is a great saying that I think sets the tone for this blog: “Only the poor take advice from the poor, where the rich take advice from the richer.”