As for me, I do some assignment work, though less than I used to.
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I also strive to photograph only those things I know I can photograph well, and those things I am interested in photographing. Be suspicious of any photographer who denies that they were influenced by photographers who preceded them. Eugene Smith, Harry Callahan and David Burnett shaped my work (as well as the entire history of photography since that is what I studied in college).The PEN cameras and the Media One software are something of outliers compared to their mainstream competitors, but they solve my problems more effectively and efficiently than any other technology out there.I have blogged about this here and here This is the dirty little secret of professional photography.Most recently, I have been doing a mix of multi-media, stock, assignment and teaching.Since the market is continually changing, I am evolving too. The photo-gear industry is built on selling the latest technology/software/cameras, which is not inherently a bad thing.The most successful ones are those who can consistently get their work to say what it is they want, even if they cannot articulate what that is or how that happens.As for me, much of my work is stock photography and mainstream magazine photography, but in the best of all worlds, I create photo essays, which are sets of images that tell a story from my own distinct point of view.Most people do not like to talk about this, but if you learn how the pro that you admire actually makes their daily income, you can appraise them and their work more clearly.Today, the more revenue streams you have as a photographer, the more likely you are to make it in the ever-more-competitive marketplace.Needing to make a living, I became a newspaper photographer, then a magazine photographer, and ended up doing in-depth photo essays.When that market disappeared, I started doing stock photography.