This is Photography’s Dirtiest Secret

As part of his 30 Days of Genius series, photographer Chase Jarvis came up with this eye-opening video. It’s about thinking outside the box, using creative ideas that are drawn from different walks of life, and using them in your photography to be more successful as a photographer. He says it’s the dirtiest secret in photography, and no one talks about it:

“The best things in photography come from outside the industry.”

Jarvis cites his own example: how he created the whole concept of behind the scenes videos, a concept that he says he borrowed from Andy Warhol. Before him there was no term for behind the scenes videos. Nobody heard about it. Now everybody’s doing it.

Humans of New York is another example. Brandon Stanton’s project took off after he started publishing snippets of stories with the images that he took. Stanton took inspiration from the world of words and started writing small stories that accompanied his images. Today, the Humans of New York Facebook page has over 17 million likes.

To iterate, Jarvis quotes Seth Godin:

“If you don’t want to be treated like a commodity, don’t act like one.”

To explain further, he suggests photographers look for inspiration beyond the photography world. If you’re looking for inspiration in your industry’s world, you’re going to be like everyone else. That’s commodifying yourself. A set of services like everyone else. A price-list just like everyone else.

chase jarvis photography secret

Instead of following the stereotyped route, keep pushing the boundaries. By doing so you can find a niche where your skills will be appreciated and you’ll get what you deserve.

“This absolutely 100 percent matches my experience of being successful in the photography industry. You can love the photo industry, but take your inspiration or try taking some inspiration from beyond that.”

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  1. Wow! This is so good. I have heard this before but it somehow didn’t click in my mind. Chase explained so so well! And it is so true that if you are looking for inspiration in your industry you will become just like everyone else and that will make us all a commodity. Great stuff!

  2. Michael says:

    Amen Bro Chasemeister ;)

    Love your shows, shooting, always refreshing/inspiring outlook on your craft, eagerness to share with a huge network of like colleagues!

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