A lot of photographers were really peeved with Brooklyn Beckham.
Brooklyn, the 16-year-old son of David Beckham, is considering a photography career rather than following in his father's footsteps.
Here's what really upset the photographers. Burberry commissioned the younger Beckham to shoot its the company's fragrance campaign, passing over so many established professionals.
What those photographers missed is that Brooklyn is using the new rules of photography. With the new rules anyone can make an impact with their photography and photographers still employing the old rules will always be left behind.
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The old rules
As a photographer, you were the only one with an SLR camera.
If you owned a professional camera, you were ahead of most of the public.
At some events, I would literally say "excuse me I'm a photographer" and all the nice people in front of me would usher me to the front of the room.
Even more, if you published or shared a gallery with professional images, you were seen as the professional. There was a clear distinction between the photographer and everyone else.
Those were the old rules. Photographers still playing by the old rules can expect to be always frustrated going forward.
Why? Taking a great photo is the minimum expectation from anyone who knows you as a photographer.
Photography has become the it thing in the last five years, so most people think they can take a good enough picture.
New apps and software make it even easier to produce what used to be professional looking images. Facetune app said "why pay a photographer when you can do it yourself."
As one photographer said to me, 100% of the cameras are better than 99% of the people using them.
With the old rules, your pictures gets you noticed, but it is no longer enough.
The new rules
With the new rules of photography, you need four things:
1. Product or pictures
Post great photos. You do have to show great quality. Only show your best. People who look on will want to eventually see your distinct style and voice. Don't just show what you see but how you see.
Focus your photography down to niche you can be passionate about. Here's the question you should ask: what do you want to be known for? Humans of New York is known for street portraits with engaging stories. Peter Hurley is known for head shots. What about you?
Start a photography project on your focus area. This helps you keep shooting and creates the body of work that will begin to define you as a photographer.
Your photography gets you noticed, but your story gets you in the door.
I remember sitting outside one of my favorite restaurants in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria listening to people decide where they would eat. As they walked by, so many would tell the story of how Pork Barrel BBQ and the restaurant next door, Holy Cow Gourmet Burgers, shared the same kitchen. They might remark how the owners were on Shark Tank.
After telling the story, so many of them would then venture in to try one of the restaurants.
They expected good food, but the story lured them in the door. People want a good story.
How do you get a great story? You create it yourself. This is one of the reasons you need a blog. It not only gives you a vehicle to share your images but to tell your story.
On your blog, tell the stories that attract the people you want in your circle and show your photos that reinforce your narrative.
People don't just want a photo, they want an experience. Create it on your platform.
As you tell your story, you will begin to attract a following of people who like that kind work. That's your opportunity to create or contribute to a community.
In episode 52, Joe Newman gave us a great example how how creating a community can propel your photography.
One of the things he learned was that if he wanted to make an impact, he couldn't do it by himself. He then went about the task of creating the relationships that would help him build his blog.
Social media helps accelerate creating the community. Listen to episode 53, Jenna Martin interview.
As you build your community, you cultivate the people who will support your photography and your influence.
Why did Brooklyn Beckham get the work so many professionals coveted? He wasn't just selling his pictures. He also had a story — the son of famous parents. He had a platform from which to tell his story and share his work. And he attracted a community of about 6 million followers.
He followed the new rules.