My best advice to young photographers is to shoot what you love. It sounds tried and true, I know, and certainly this is not new or earth shattering advice. But it remains, for me, an absolute mandate. You have to find an emotional, imaginative release in the midst of the pressure and hectic nature attending the running of a photographic business.
You have to make decisions, at least sometimes, based on survival, strategies for branding, and the advancement of your photographic enterprise. This may involve shooting jobs that are worthwhile on many levels, but don't necessarily speak to your soul as a shooter. Too much of this can slow the creative heartbeat of any photographer.
So, in the midst of all the business of making a photo career work, you have to carve out time for your own photographic endeavors, and find that which you feel to be so beautiful that you can't help but shoot it. These types of assignments, be they from a magazine, another type of client, or a self assignment, will keep you alive photographically, and remind you, always, of why you wanted to do this in the first place.
Regardless of your photographic expertise you need to follow Joe and pay attention to his images, posts, workshops and the inspiration he provides to an industry so often caught in the perfect storm between technology and the challenges of the economy. Check out his website.Follow him on Twitter.
And, definitely follow his blog. In fact the introduction of "Meet Joe" says it all:
"The thoughts, notions, and ideas here come from thirty years in the field as a shooter. Twenty plus on the road for National Geographic. LIFE staffer. Sports Illustrated contractor. 54 countries. 50 states. Read on, and welcome to my blog."
Images copyright Joe McNally. All rights reserved.
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.