Its been tough for me and I come to this with a little bit of stomping and screaming. Many folks-a lot smarter than I, keep telling me I need to do this and do that to increase my footprint on the web and generate more business. A better SEO. Search Engine Optimization. One constant has been to start a blog on my site and this is my first attempt at that and in part, trying to explain why this seems so difficult for me.
Most consider me to be old school when it comes to being a professional photographer. And thats mostly true. I started my first job at a newspaper in 1980 when exposing film was much more critical than exposing a sensor today, when you turned the focus ring to manually get the scene sharp and auto exposure was something no one back then would think possible. I started out as a staff photographer dunking film in all kinds of chemicals and making 8x10 prints using trays filled with God knows what sort of chemicals.
So things have changed quite a bit since 1980. I ended up continuing my career as a professional photographer in Charlotte, NC where I still live with my wife, Barb. The auto-focus I swore would never match my skills is probably better 99 per cent of the time, but I still find myself tweaking the focus on many lenses-especially the longer ones. I dont go and hide in a darkroom to make a print magically come to life, but sit behind a computer and push the pixels further than I could ever imagine-even with my hands deep into a tray of fixer. Digital photo files have so much more detail and information than even the best film. There are no more harmful chemicals. No more enlargers. And instead of having to jump on private planes to cover football games and get back to the newspaper to make deadline, having a laptop and internet connection allows transmitting the files anywhere one of the easiest parts of the process.
Marketing or pushing my work has never come naturally. Thats where the stomping and screaming comes in. Like many, I thought this world wide web thing would be a flash in the pan-something that lasted a short time and then moved on. But this digital revolution has changed everything for really just about everyone and every busibness. There are just so many more opportunities. And I need to push myself to be part of that change.
Because I have always worked for a publication, I've never really had to sell myself-or my work. Thats partly why this is difficult for me and creates that bit of stomping and screaming I mentioned. I am use to handing my work to editors who know me and have come to believe in my work and let them decide whats best to illustrate a story, an idea. And that seems all very natural to me-produce the images and step out of the way. I have always felt it unnatural to go and sell an editor on my work and like most of my fellow photographers, looked down on those few photographers who do.
But things have changed dramatically, and I have slowly come to realize that I might have to change a bit too. I want to change my clientele from a more sports-centric one. I am getting so tired of chasing large sweaty men around fields and courts with my camera. I'd like to help corporations everywhere find their visual branding and create that image that helps them sell themselves. I need to be putting my work in front of corporations who have the challenge of creating a high quality profile and I need more from this website to get eyes on my work. What has not changed for me since day one-is producing the highest quality images.
Marketing myself, as unnatural as it is for me, seems to be an important element to growing my photography business. I might even expand my social media footprint beyond LinkedIn. But, its all new and a bit scary to me. I guess this dang world wide web thing is here to stay. And be sure that through all these years and all these changes, my highest priority has always been the images that I create. You can read up on all my history in the About section of this website, but make sure you look at the images and see the unique, high quality work that I have produced throughout all these changes… all those years.
And I promise to silence all the stomping and screaming and embrace many of the changes that have come because of the digital explosion. A lot less whining, I hope, and I promise to add to this blog on a more regular basis. To make it more informative to folks who want to know more about my professional photography work, the lighting and my work process. I also want to be sure to have some behind the scene photos to help show what I am all about. I might even take a look back at some of the cool people I've had the pleasure of shooting. Stay tuned-I hope it will all be more interesting as it all grows.
Not sure I'll be jumping on Facebook or Instagram any time soon, but… "ya never say never."