So. You consider yourself a good photographer, right? And maybe you even have some great photos that are technically perfect and creatively eye-catching. You have worked hard over the years perfecting your craft, honing your artistic eye, and paying your dues to establish your art. We will assume here, for argument purposes, that you also know what it means to assemble an effective portfolio of your work. Now you think you are ready to take your art to the next level. However. here are some interesting statistics for you to consider.
People uploaded an average of 1.8 billion digital images every single day. That’s 657 billion photos per year. According to Photoworld’s estimates, Snapchat users share 8,796 photos every second. In 2012, in a document filed to the SEC, Facebook wrote that “on average more than 250 million photos per day were uploaded to Facebook in the three months [that] ended December 31, 2011.” In 2013, according to Internet.org’s whitepaper, people uploaded 350 million images to Facebook each day.
How do you compete with all of that? Even if only 0.5% of 650 billion were really any good, that is still around 1.3 billion photos with which to compete against, per year!
One possibility is to begin establishing artistic credentials for yourself. Would you go to a doctor who never went medical school? Like it or not, people tend to be influenced, consciously or unconsciously, by someone who is recognized by others as being one of the best, a proven commodity. Would you spend a lot of your hard earned money on some new product, perhaps a car for example, that just looks good? You might not.
So, how does one go about building artistic credentials? Here are some ideas.
- Formal schooling (MFA, community college classes on equipment or art history)
- Workshops (by other photographers/artists, local or world-class)
- Local or national conferences (PhotoExpoPlus, etc.)
- Photo/art clubs (many have internal competitions, good way to network and learn from the more experienced members)
- Photo contests (local, national, international)
start small, example: local audubon society, town contest, etc.
- Publications (magazines in print or on-line websites)
- Endorsements (perhaps from the teachers of classes you attend multiple times, etc.)
- Art shows (galleries, internet, local, international)
- Collectors/collections (private and public)
This is by no means an exhaustive listing. But building your artistic credentials takes time and planning. A good goal would be to create your own curriculum vitae (CV). This provides a summary of one’s experience and skills and is different than a resume. Seeing your credentials grow also adds more incentive to keep this an active process and not just a one-time activity. Adding to your credentials list should be an on-going process.
If you are serious about your art, then it is time to claw your way up the half percent! The end objective may not even be financial. It could be to learn more and branch out of your comfort zone in order to grow as an artist. Who knows? It just may become worth your while!