Reassessment of Goals: Why we do photography!

posted on 8th of january, 2011

Last week, I wrote the blog article "It is the New year, time to set your Dreamstime Goals" in which I showed that mathematically I could increase my income to reach my goals by increasing my portfolio size by roughly 100 images a month.

During the past week, I have worked each day in the studio to produce images of ordinary household items; sponges, electrical plugs, etc. After a week of this type of photography and a week of working at photoshop to prepare the images for DT; I am completely drained and empty.

As I laid in my bed last night reflecting on my past week of product photography; I reflected on the fact that I gave up a successful business as a scientist making tons of income to become a wildlife photographer. Working at this type of studio product photography feels like the old days of working in the laboratory; one day merges into the next with no excitement or life.

I have decided it is time for a reassessment of my goals; I do not want to spend the next year shooting products just so I can increase my portfolio and income. I entered this business to be creative and to do wildlife photography.

I do my work in Far East Russia; most times it's a cold and most uncomfortable place. Our temps are routinely -35 and below; during the summer we are infested with tons of flying teeth (mosquitoes and yellow flies).

Therefore, I have decided to reassess my goals. I will still do some product photography but it will be the more creative type, water splash images, concept images, etc-not simple documentary shots of products. This will result in a sharp reduction in my goals but I will still attempt to upload 50 images a month but these will be images that provide me satisfaction and pleasure as a photographer.

I still believe goals are good and I encourage others to set themselves goals to increase their income on DT; but we are creative individuals that enjoy the creative aspects of photography. When setting your goals, I encourage all to pay particular attention to why you do photography and what is your style of images. I find that I must be part of the creative process and be in a modicum of pain (cold, bugs, hiking many miles with heavy equipment, etc) to be at my creative best. So set you goals but consider your creative side and your photographic style!

Comments (19)

Posted by Debramillet on January 17, 2011
my previous reply was aimed at someone who was trying to sell clothing,ect on this blog, not the blog. the administrators must have removed it, think it was spam or whatever.
Posted by Debramillet on January 16, 2011
sounds counterfeit,think your on the wrong site
Posted by Diver721 on January 11, 2011
I like your blogs, very very informative to say the least. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
Posted by Anhong on January 11, 2011
Oh ha, good idea. There will be a creative passion. I love your animal pictures, they remind me of documentary scenes to see Yellowstone National Park. I wish you good luck. On a cold and mosquito-infested areas.
Posted by Adeliepenguin on January 11, 2011
Your blogs really put a smile on my face. They remind me a little of myself. I too can't seem to get "into" the mundane creativity, but I live in a warmer climate, and I don't recall many flying teeth. I am looking forward to watching your portfolio grow--to see where your choices take you:) Good luck!
Posted by Visceralimage on January 11, 2011
Thanks all for the comments. It is -47 out today, a good day for studio photography. Maybe I will try to do one of those mundane studio shots in a creative way. No way I want to go brave those temps; at least not today.
Posted by Iwhitwo on January 10, 2011
Well said John and you have stimulated some interesting responses. Good luck with your choices and revised goals.
Posted by Hustgh on January 10, 2011
i agree with u.
when u are shooting photos,think about it is a happy thing not only for dollars
Posted by Debramillet on January 10, 2011
But then again, i guess the trick is to do the mundane creatively, which i have yet to figure out :)
Posted by Debramillet on January 10, 2011
Your so right in what you said. How many of us want our portfolio numbers up there so we start shooting the mundane and any creativity flies right out the window. Especially when theres a dry spell and cant think of anything interesting to shoot. Its nice to hear someone else say it.
Posted by Antoinettew on January 10, 2011
You are right. Taking pictures must be fun and not a must. I am looking forward to your new photo's. Good luck
Posted by Fra73 on January 10, 2011
I totally agree with you. I quit a very profitable job for doing other things too. And I don't have regrets. These days that merged into the next ones with no excitement or life were a part of my life too. And I am glad they are over. I am not a professional photographer like you, but I really respect your choice to do something you enjoy even if this means not earning as much as you would if you would concentrate your efforts in more popular type of images.
Good luck and let me say that I love your pictures
Posted by Sobek85 on January 10, 2011
I shoot as a hobby. If i can sell photos any help pay for equipment its a bonus.
Posted by Visceralimage on January 10, 2011
Thanks Katzilioness for the detailed comment. I have decided to do multiple sites and not be exclusive with DT; in order to significantly increase my income, I feel I must spread my images over other locations. Of course, this will mean more work and more internet time. Just need to wait till my obligation is complete with DT before uploading to other sites (mid Feb. 2011).
Posted by Katzilioness on January 10, 2011
I love your wild life photography. Unfortunately landscapes and wild life photos do not sell as frequently as concept life style or product pictures - as stock- . I looked at many professional photographers that seam to do well financially just to learn some tricks for myself. There are only a few that are depending on stock sales only for income. They often list their pictures with many different stock companies and have quite large portfolios consisting mainly of life style fashion and isolated images. There is one company that I found doing animal photography exclusively , that also sells pictures on dreamstime:
They found an interesting niche selling isolated images of animals to make them "designer use friendly"
I am not saying one should copy them but I started to ask myself what is my niche or edge in the market as a photographer. If you found yours maybe the question is how else to market yourself within and beyond stock.
Posted by Visceralimage on January 09, 2011

Thanks for your comment but I do not agree. I have been profession photographer for five years and love it. I do what I love but make very little money.
Posted by Gmargittai on January 09, 2011
Photography is fun as long as you do it as a hobby, at least this is my experience. Everything one does professionally becomes sooner or later boring. I learned this from an older engineer, I was a new college grad and was in awe of his knowledge and surprised by his lack of enthusiasm. He told me: I am doing this for 15 years how enthusiastic you expect me to be?
Posted by Meryll on January 09, 2011
Yes, I also think it is important to find a balance between pure stock however somehow boring photography and pictures which might not sell as much but we enjoy to take and work on...
Posted by Davidwatmough on January 09, 2011
I agree with your assessment...... goals but not at any price. I love your portfolio. David.

Comments (19)

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Photo credits: Moose Henderson.

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Professional Wildlife Photographer working in Russia and North America.

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