Don’t Sit on the Fence, Open the Gate

The Chicago Tribune’s Alex Garcia has a good read on whether he should start using his Instagram account more, knowing there are copyright issues inherent in that decision.

He reiterates a statement I’ve heard a lot in the last few months, that if you want your work to be found then you need to go where everyone else is – Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Each of those services raises questions about what rights you’re giving up and, while none are as bad as some make it out to be, there are legitimate concerns.

Which got me to thinking … how did we get found before these services came around? I don’t think we stuck Polaroids up on bulletin boards or shared sports photos with our family over Thanksgiving dinner … didn’t we, I don’t know, seek out clients who needed work like we produced? Didn’t we make personal contacts at conferences and follow up with postcards or notes? Didn’t we call editors and ask to come visit?

And, unless I really missed something, didn’t we not worry about losing our rights with any of those things?

What is it that separates the professional from the amateur? Isn’t part of that our business acumen, our plan to do this in a sustainable way?

If you want to be in the Olympics, you don’t get noticed by being one of 23,000 Boston Marathon runners. You practice, you develop your skill and then you contact the coaches and say, hey, let’s talk.

Professional photography is the same way. It is not about you getting found, it is about you finding your niche and making them aware that you exist.

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