Do you photograph what you love or what will sell?
A fairly simple question, but for those of us hoping of one day living the dream and becoming full time professional photographers, it’s a question that might not be so easy to answer.
From the moment I sold my first print a thought occurred to me: would the desire to sell more photos affect the way I photograph?
I’d like to think the answer is no.
But, I wonder…
Those of you who’ve been following me for any length of time know I’ve got a thing for waterfalls. Yet I barely sell or license any waterfall photographs. Yet I continue to photograph waterfalls year round, whenever I get a chance.
So it’s passion, right?
Then there are lighthouses, a subject I know has a much broader appeal with the public. While I’m not head-over-heals in love with them, there are several iconic lighthouses along the New Hampshire and southern Maine seacoast that regularly make an appearance in my seascapes.
Am I photographing lighthouses because I think the photos will sell?
So, is it profit?
It’s not that cut and dry.
I LOVE selling my photos!* I hope to never lose the feeling I get each and every time someone decides to spend their hard earned money on one of my photos. Is that feeling, coupled with the desire to make photography more than just a nice source of additional income, changing what I photograph?
I firmly believe that photographing what you love leads to better images, but is that enough to make it as a full time professional photographer? Do you have to make compromises in order to make it?
Does the desire to increase sales change the way you photograph? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
*Starting with this post all photos will be clickable links making it even easier for you to purchase prints and products with my images on them.