Always shoot for yourself first

A few days ago I read a post by Scott Bourne entitled something to the tune of  Top 10 Business Tips for Photographers.    At the top of his list was Passion.

‘Passion’ is the answer I’ve been giving people for the past 20 years when they ask me how I make such great photographs.   And part of passion is what I term ‘shooting for yourself’.   If you shoot for yourself first, you’ll always make better photographs.

Layla Nude in Tub

The model came to me with this concept based on a photo she had seen. We discussed the look, and came out of the session with an even better image!

I’m not saying not to listen to your client.  I’m saying that if you take the clients ideas, and shoot them with YOUR vision, you’ll almost be guaranteed to come out of that session with a photograph with which both you and your client will be pleased.   Even in the extreme case of wedding photography, where it’s ‘her’ day, shoot for yourself first.  Sure, you can cover the mandatory shots, and the shots she/they request.  But, in the end, you’ll get much better shots if you’re not restricted by a formula.  Shooting with passion, and shooting for yourself, helps you create your own style.  And style is what will set you apart.   And THAT is what will get you hired by your next client.   And then you’ll always be shooting for yourself.

I know it sounds selfish, but shooting for yourself, to be pleased with your own work, is the least selfish thing you can do for your client.   It gives you the freedom to express yourself in the images you create for them.   And in turns provides them with a better product.  If YOU’RE not happy with your work, what would motivate you to do it again?

If we wanted to be restricted to formulas and rigidity we wouldn’t be photographers at all; we’d be happy working that 9-5 desk job day in and day out.  And really, I haven’t met many good photographers who are nine to fivers.  Have you?