The Great Divides in a Shifting Industry

The end of April is fast approaching. For me that’s kind of terrifying.

Where is all the time going?!

Over the course of the last year I have been studying and researching various photographers across specialties who have found success. I’ve come to notice it starting to split into two very different sectors.

There are many that are thriving through shooting in a more simplistic, documentary-style, candid form. It includes high usage of natural light, shooting straight down (for product and food), and mobile photography.

It’s a sector of the photo industry that is growing everyday and continuing to gain popularity with users, followers, and businesses alike.

One prominent photographer in particular is Dan Folger. Who started out as a 17-year-old high schooler who ended becoming Wiz Khalifa’s tour photographer. And he shoots a majority of his work via a flip phone (a Motorola Razr to be exact).

Equipment doesn’t mean anything. I can go back to a basic camera and shoot just as well as the people who have really good equipment. It’s about being creative and having a good vision. It’s about doing something different.” -Dan Folger

Many are building a thriving business via their social media followings on Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and the like. The ones that command tens of thousands to millions of followers are seen as “Influencers” and many businesses have been targeting those with specific followings to market towards via paid or sponsored posts.

Other photographers to check out in this sector of work: Grady Brannan, Nesrin Danan, and Matty Vogel (the first 2 of whom have toured or are currently traveling with hip hop artist G-Eazy).

Did I mention that a lot of these shooters are in their early 20’s? Many are self-taught.

Snoop Dogg chiefing it up at his 2nd annual wellness retreat in Seattle this last Sunday.

Snoop Dogg chiefing it up at his 2nd annual wellness retreat in Seattle this last Sunday.

This area is a popular one for the younger generation and it makes sense. Who’s more relatable than those that would be in your peer group?

In many ways it’s changing the entire photo industry.

There is still the commercial and more business-oriented sector that isn’t going anywhere, but dramatically shifting. And becoming more competitive as the jobs start to consolidate and companies allot more of a budget towards social media and mobile photography.

So where should we stand amongst all of this flux?

Be sure to always stay true to yourself and be unique. Find a niche for your body of work to stand out. Curate and create specific content for the followers you want to gain and the work you want to continue to do.

And most importantly, never stop creating. Nurturing a successful business is a constant practice. The time you put in directly correlates with your success.

Oh and try to have fun. It should never be constant stress or unhappiness.