Tag Archives: rockstar photography


I am not a Rockstar


Can you name a single photographer, alive or dead other than Ansel Adams?

That is a question I ask my photography students. Often they can name one or two because they are studying photography, but if I posed that question to the general public, I wonder how many could name a photographer. I wonder how many fewer could name a wedding or portrait photographer. My guess is not many.



The Rockstar Photographer

This marketing idea played right into the mythology of what it means to be a photographer.
The term “Rockstar Photographer” originated about 5 years ago when a photographer, who shall remain nameless, (in fact, this post will reference a lot of photographers that shall remain unnamed,) started marketing an idea to other photographers. His idea was how to become a successful wedding and portrait photographer by focusing not on the photographer, but on your public persona. The photographs were secondary to the types of clothes you wear, the car you drive, and your social network presence.


This marketing idea played right into the mythology of what it means to be a photographer. There is a romanticized view of a photographers life in the public. They picture us sitting in our fancy homes, drinking imported coffee, and the phone ringing off the hook with couples wanting to give us $10,000 to photograph their wedding in some exotic locale, or National Geographic calling sending us off to some far off country for a three week paid vacation. Of course the reality is quite different. I have worked for National Geographic before. One time I was paid $475 for a photograph that required 6 days of white water rafting to capture. I can’t say that it wasn’t fun, but no photographer is going to get rich on $80 per day. And while $5,000 for wedding photographer might seem like “easy money,” it represents the costs of tens of thousands of dollars in equipment, marketing, education, and more than anything else, a decade of experience.  Continue reading »

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