To stand out as a modern photographer, you must assert your unique voice.
Stand Out: MODERN PHOTOGRAPHER
You were born different
We are all born with a unique voice. Nobody sounds exactly like one another.
It is your duty as a photographer and visual artist to know what your unique voice is, and to assert it, and to share it with others.
What does your voice sound like? How do you talk?
When you speak, your style of talking and communication is different from others. The tonal range in which you talk is unique. The cadence at which you talk is unique. When you are having a conversation with someone else, the way you verbally dance in the conversation (when to talk, when to listen, when to interrupt) is unique.
The same goes with your photographic and artistic vision.
On a very basic note, you have to choose the aesthetics of your pictures —how they look.
What do you want your pictures to look like?
- Black and White: High contrast, low contrast, sepia, gritty and grainy, or smooth.
- Color: High saturation, low saturation, high contrast, low contrast, more pastel colors, film or digital, grainy or no grain.
If you are working on a certain photography project — what aesthetic will you choose?
Or in general —do you see the world in color, black and white, or something else?
There is no better or worse —you just gotta figure out what kind of aesthetic you prefer.
What is your aesthetic ‘taste’?
For example, ask yourself the question: “Do I know what kind of food I like?” Or are you that guy who never knows what he likes to eat?
Do you know what kind of music you like to listen to? Do you know what kind of design aesthetics you like?
You first must discover your personal aesthetics — what you visually like, your personal philosophy of seeing and interpreting the world, and what kind of visual images you like.
ERIC KIM AESTHETICS
Like JAY Z says, you must learn how to ‘master your aesthetics’ (your own aesthetics).
For example, this is ERIC KIM’s aesthetics:
- All black everything: I prefer to wear all black, and have a simple wardrobe. I wear the same thing everyday like a zen monk (black shirt, black pants, black shoes). This helps me focus less on my clothes, and more on my artwork.
- Wide-angle, close, and aggressive: I am a quite aggressive and assertive person in real life (yet I am friendly). Therefore, I want my aesthetics in photography to be the same. In street photography I either use a 28mm on RICOH GR II or 35mm on film Leica MP.
- Flash: I like to use a flash to add the aesthetic of gritty, raw, and edgy.
- Dynamic Compositions: I like to shoot head-on, from a low angle, and to tilt my camera (Dutch angle). I like to make my compositions uneasy.
- Black and White pictures: Ultimately I prefer monochrome over color, for the simplicity and minimalism, and the darker mood. I’m using high contrast, gritty, ERIC KIM MOMOCHROME 1600 preset in Lightroom to apply to the RAW files of my RICOH GR II.
- Color pictures: Color photography is fun, and something I’m experimenting more about and learning about. I also prefer a high saturated and contrast look in color.
Why is your voice important?
Because you’re a unique individual. There can only be one of you in the world, and you must share your unique vision and voice.
In your personal branding and marketing language, write in a simple, straightforward, and non-pretentious way. Write in a relaxed, conversational tone. Even when I’m streaming my thoughts with you, there is no filter. It is raw, unedited, authentic, and real.
Honestly I don’t think there is such a thing as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ art.
To me, there is only authentic and inauthentic art.
What that means is this,
Don’t try to make pictures that aren’t you.
For example if you’re shy and prefer it that way — don’t make aggressive pictures.
If you grew up in privilege, don’t make pictures of poor people in Africa — to me that is inauthentic. Don’t feel bad or guilty about it. Rather, make better social commentary by documenting the rich, and make a stronger social critique this way (there is an over surplus of pictures of poor people, but very few pictures of very rich people).
Be you. Photograph yourself, and how you see and perceive the world.
If you’re a happy and joyful person, don’t photograph gritty black and white photos of people addicted to drugs, at nightclubs, etc. No need for you to ‘prove yourself’ like you need to be more ‘hardcore’ with your photos. Let the punks and hipsters shoot their own lifestyle.
Which gives me another idea for you:
Photograph your own lifestyle; not the lifestyle of others.
Don’t get suckered by the exotic
A lot of photographers are like safari hunters and colonialists: they want to document the strange, the exotic, and foreign.
This is why a lot of us want to travel to India, Tokyo, and Paris and other foreign places— to document the lives and customs of ‘others’ or the ‘different’— because anything different and novel to us is interesting.
However, my humble suggestion is:
Don’t get suckered by the exotic (as my teacher Constantine Manos taught me). Photograph your own life.
Travel for fun, to see the world, and open your eyes to other customs. But ultimately my suggestion is don’t be a ‘travel photographer’. Rather than photograph the foreign and exotic and different, photograph what is familiar, close, and known to you. Nobody will photograph your own town, family, friends, and community as well as you.
What makes you, you?
What is your unique voice, what is your own unique vision?
What makes you you?
Do you, Be you, and Shoot you.
MODERN PHOTOGRAPHER is your new philosophical and practical primer to succeed as a modern photographer in today’s digital world.
Why Become a Photography Entrepeneur?
Take control of your own photographic destiny:
THE MODERN PHOTOGRAPHER
- Why You Must Self-Promote Yourself
- What is Your Unique Angle as a Photographer?
- Photography Content Marketing 101
- Why You Must Become Your Own Publisher
- The Art of Cross-Pollination in Photography
Photography Entrepreneurship Articles
- Photography SEO and Blogging: How to Become Number One on Google
- Intrinsic vs Extrinsic Motivation
- Now is the Best Time to Be a Photographer
- What Is The Value of a Picture?
- Your Photographic Labor is Not Free
PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOPS 101
- Chapter 1. How to Make a Photography Blog
- Chapter 2. How to Price Yourself
- Chapter 3. How to Find Your Market
- Chapter 4. Why Teach Workshops?
- Chapter 5. How to Build Trust
- Chapter 6. How to Market Yourself
- Chapter 7: Why Should Someone Attend Your Workshop?
KEYS TO SUCCESS
- Why You Must Be a “Personality” in Order to Succeed
- THRIVE OR DIE.
- Impatience is a Virtue
- Create Your Own Category
- HOW TO DREAM BIG.
- Will Not or Cannot?
- Why Not?
- How to Think BIG
- How to Stay Ahead of the Curve
- How to Invest in Yourself
- The Two Camera Rule
- MEANINGFUL DIFFERENTIATION
- Advice For College Students
- How to Thrive in Uncertain Times
- CANNIBALIZE YOURSELF.
- DO AND GROW RICH
- Does Fear of Punishment Hold You Back?
- HOW TO GET MORE FOLLOWERS
- How to Innovate
- How to Build Your Own Empire
- YOU ARE ENTITLED TO HARD WORK.
- PICK YOURSELF.
- OWN YOUR PLATFORM
- 10 KEYS TO SUCCESS
Table of Contents
Learn how to make a living from your passion:
- Preface. BRAVE NEW WORLD OF PHOTOGRAPHY
- Chapter 1. How to Create Value
- Chapter 2. ZEN CAPITALISM
- Chapter 3. Scarcity
- Chapter 4. How to Brand Yourself
- Chapter 5. How to Build a True Following
- Chapter 6. The Blueprint to Success in Photography
- Chapter 7. HOW TO BE BOLD
- Chapter 8. How to Sell Out
- Chapter 9. GO AGAINST THE GRAIN
- Chapter 10. EXTREME ABUNDANCE
- Chapter 11. Photography Experience Economy
- Chapter 12. Why You Should Make Money for Your Photography
- Chapter 13. How to Become a Famous Photographer
Photography Business 101
How to Make Money with Photography
- How to Charge More Money in Your Photography
- Why You Should Not Pursue Photography as Career
- Can Photography Make You Rich?
- How I Earn $200,000+ a Year From Photography
- How to earn $10,000 a month as a photographer
- Why you must be an expensive photographer
Photography Marketing 101
- Why Have More Followers?
- Why You Should Do Photography Work For Free
- How I Became an Internet Famous Photographer
- Photography Blogging Ideas
- Why You Should Promote Your Own Name
- How to Build a Following
- How to Stand Out as a Photographer.
- HOW TO GO VIRAL AS A PHOTOGRAPHER.
- How to Master Marketing
- How to Sell Yourself
How to Hustle.
- Entrepreneurial Advice to My 18 Year Old Self
- How to Become Insanely Productive.
- 5 Lessons From Hesiod on Hustling
- It is Better to Beg For Forgiveness Than Ask For Permission
- The Free Way to Become Rich
- JUST DO IT.
- 7 Steps: How to Make a Living From Your Passion
- How to Do What You Love for a Living
- How to Create an MVP (Minimum Viable Product)
- How to Fail Big
- How to Invest in Yourself
- How to Be Bold in Photography and Life
- Mission: Cover Your Rent and Food
- 1,000 True Fans
- The “10x Principle”: The Only Difference Between “Success” and “Failure”
- Make More Value Not Money
- We Live in a Photo Utopia
How to be a Full-time Photographer
- How to Make a Living From Photography
- The 3 Principles of Making Money With Photography
- Advice for Aspiring Full-Time Photographers
- Don’t Go Into Debt For Your Photography
- How to Brand Yourself as a Photographer
- Trust: The Most Important Thing You Need to Succeed as a Photographer
- How to become rich from photography blogging
- How to Make a Living with Blogging
- 50 Blogging Tips For Beginners
- How to Start Your Own Photography Blog
- A Photographer’s Guide to SEO, Blogging, and Social Media
How to Teach Photography
- How to Become a Photography Teacher
- How to Teach a Street Photography Class
- Why I Teach Street Photography Workshops
- Why I Deleted My Instagram
- The Social Media Blackbook for Photographers
- Why Do You Need More Likes or Followers?
- Instagram is Going to Be the Next Facebook
- Don’t Trust “Free” Photography Social Networks