I would imagine the population of photographers is greater with those still trying to find their personal style, in comparison to those who have already establish the type of photography they want to be known for.
Friends and family identify you as always being the person with the camera so there’s an instant assumption that photographing “anything” is what you do. Initially you”ll feel compelled to go with the flow but the question is whether that’s all you should be doing.
I think being adaptable and having the ability to extract the most compelling moments of any mundane situation are both qualities that every photographer should have but there’s going to be an moment in your journey where the label of “being a photographer” is going to have to be replaced with you stating what type of photographer you see yourself as.
To me, photographing is absolutely fun and when it stops being so, that will be the time you’ll see me not doing it anymore and the explanation behind it would probably be that I’ve been photographing “things” that didn’t appeal to me.
I’ve done a few paid favors for friends shooting parties and other special occasions but the excitement for it is nothing comparable to shooting when I’m out on vacation exploring places, people and culture. I don’t feel the obligation to have to photograph what I see. The inclination is sincerely there already.
So what type of photographer am I? I wouldn’t yet say I’m a Travel Photographer but I must admit that I find satisfaction in people recognizing my work as such. I think good photographs strike the balance between inspiration and information perfectly and if just one person draws enough excitement from a photo that will get them to book a ticket to wherever I shot it, then I feel I’ve delivered.
Have I found any monetary value for the type of photography that I love? Aside from the selling of prints, not really, not yet and that’s where I’m currently at. I’m not really focusing on trying to be different, I’m focusing on being me and in shooting what moves me and not what others automatically expect me to do just because I own an expensive camera.
In a recent interview, 20-year old commercial photographer Joey Lawrence said “when you look at a picture, there’s 2 things that should be going on in your head. What does the picture say about the subject and what does it say about the photographer.”
As a viewer, when I look back at my own work I instantly say to myself “man, this guy likes to travel” and it’s not that I sought out to craft this image for myself, it’s just something that developed gracefully and you should eventually expect to notice a theme in your own photographs so as to determine what paths to take in your career.