A search online for a fine art nude photographer yields web sites of various styles and content. Each making the claim that they are original and will provide high quality unique imagery. Most use the “I have been shooting for X amount of years” credo as their main (and sometimes only) selling point.
Another widely used selling point is the “I’m an internationally exhibited photographer” which means nothing to the average consumer unless your work is consistently exhibited nationally. If your studio is not written up in your local press on a regular basis chances are no one much knows about your studio.
Developing originality and uniqueness in your photography takes time and patience. You as a photographer have to recognize what is different and would stand out in the minds of the consumer. This is sometimes revealed to you by someone close to you but in most cases by someone that admires your work. Otherwise, you will have to sit down and analyzed the viewers perception of you and your work. This will determine how to best create how you would like your work to be perceived.
Use of the Internet has been a blessing for most figure photographers but also has severely tarnished the reputations of others that refused to change with the times.
Why is this?
Consumers can easily measure the quality (or lack of) your work on a local level then view the work of many others nationally and internationally. They can view what’s being shown in top museums and galleries to see which local photographers measure up.
Those that just mimic their local competition or copy the style of past masters stand to be branded as photographers who simply duplicate instead of create. Just stating you are different is not enough. That difference must show up in the photographs that are viewed by the public. The saying of let your work speak for itself is more valid today than ever. So how are you perceived as a fine art photographer? What does your photography, studio and web site say about you to potential clients? Will they view you as professional, friendly and unique or as interchangeable with the other local shooters? Since first contact with a client may happen through a web site, what does your site say about you to the public?
Does it show that you are open and approachable or evasive (not enough information/images available to make a decision)? Does it show that you seek perfection or that you you only give 60 to 75% of your energy to pleasing a client (seldom updates the web site and/or site is still under construction)? Do your galleries or portfolios show a mastery of lighting techniques or that you only use two or three lighting setups (no interest in improving and growing)? Will viewing your images produce praise from some viewers or will they just read your rants and raves about how wonderful and hot the model was (you were lucky to get her to pose for you, right)?
The future of your business will be decided whenever a potential client sees your name or the advertising about your business. If after viewing your site, they feel the only difference between you and the other fine art photographers is the session cost, they will usually book the cheapest photographer. When the consumer finally decides to commission a private figure portrait, the session cost usually ranks third or fourth on their list. Originality and professionalism (being trustworthy) is considered above everything else.
So again, is the public’s perception of you and your work the same as your own perception of yourself?
© 04/2003 W. Mackie, FigureShooter.com All Rights Reserved. Any republication, redistribution or copying of these articles and tips by any method whatsoever is prohibited without prior written permission.