Monday, June 27, 2011

An 'Image Creator' No More: My New Photography Business Plan - Part 1

I was pouring through the latest issue of the ASMP Bulletin (American Society of Media Photographers), and there in Director Eugene Mopsik's commentary column, it hit me. Square in the face. The "inconvenient truth", one I have tried desperately to avoid facing for so long, reared its ugly head and looked me straight in the eye.

According to Mopsik,
"Recent changes in the industry, economy, and society have created a perfect storm — the transition to digital capture, digital distribution, the explosion of digital media outlets, the rise of the talented amateur, all coupled with a dilution of effective copyright protection have made it virtually impossible for a commercial photographer to sustain a career solely as an image creator."

Please read that last part carefully.

Virtually sustain a career solely as an image creator.

If true, that, my friends, is a bit of dream-killer. A snuffer, if you will, of one's long-time career goals and lifelong passion. Including mine.

In layman's terms - simply the end. Game over. Give it up. Time to get a real job...

Now, normally someone in my position - a longtime freelancer, struggling but determined to get my career rolling again - would read this "doomsday prophecy" from a knowledgeable industry insider, and immediately get nauseous, light-headed, and quite possibly faint. Or maybe cry a little. After all, who would blame me for taking this news badly?

I had become The Little Engine That Couldn't...

Fortunately, I am a "glass is half full" kinda guy. Not only that, but I can actually see the waiter coming over to fill it the rest of the way. Let's just say I try to stay extremely positive, even under the most stressful and challenging circumstances that life throws at me.

I continued reading...

Mopsik goes on to say,
"While the photography community is working diligently to navigate this new world and take advantage of the enormous new opportunities it presents, the print-to-pixel revolution has been as disruptive to professional photographers as it has been to publishing and electronic media. For many, survival is contingent on the establishment of multiple income streams."

Well, there you have it! Mopsik's dire observation is quickly tempered with a logical and hopeful solution!

I'm saved! We are all saved! Huzzah!

Seriously, it is worth repeating:

Survival is contingent on the establishment of multiple income streams.

And with that declaration nestled firmly in my brain, the "real" truth finally emerged, and I realized it was not inconvenient at all.

Nothing Mopsik disclosed was a surprise to me, let alone a shock. Deep inside, I knew his words were true, and had known for quite some time. In fact, the writing on the wall had taken place literally years ago. At least if you were paying attention...

So, to salvage my sagging career, it is not a question of suddenly taking his advice to heart and coming up with a new plan to "establish multiple income streams", but rather just keep working on the plan that I already have in place. A plan that I'm pretty damn sure will work.

And what exactly is that plan? Well, to learn that, you'll just have to wait for Part 2...