So what's the point of all this noodling and rambling on about the philosophy of photography and its fascinating relationship with <yawn> contemporary social conceptions of <yawn> portraiture?
Well first of all, welcome to my blog, you should be used to it by now. But also there might even be a useful nugget in here.
Business people, the good ones, know that you need to know exactly what the hell it is you do as a business. It's not delivering shareholder value, it's not building the finest automobiles. What is is that you actually do? What problem are you solving, how are you doing it, and for whom do you do it? This informs almost every aspect of how you should run your business.
You can also retask this sort of exercise to a hobby, or a passion. What, exactly, are you trying to do here?
Let us suppose that you are a product photographer, or would like to be one. What do you do?
I take pictures of products.
Well, sure, but drill down. Anyone can take a photograph of a widget or a candy bar. I can do it with my phone.
I take pictures of products that make the product look good?
Better. Look good to whom, and how? What does "look good" mean?
I take pictures of products that reflect the client's brand identity, and which make the product look appealing to the client's potential customers.
Now we're gettin' someplace. This is a statement that not only reflects what problems you're solving for your customers, but also suggests some things you might do to up your game, to do a better job at what you do. For instance, you could go study up on corporate branding and identity. If you read a book or two on Branding, suddenly you're talking the same language as your clients in a new, important, dimension. You can make suggestions that are aligned with what you actually do.
Let's get back to these businesses that take photographs of people performing. Engagement sessions, wedding photographers, Senior Sessions, that kind of thing. Once you've identified your job as:
I take pictures of people performing improvised scenes based on their real lives.
again, you're in a position to up your game. Sure, you could spend a couple grand on a Sigma Art lens for even more creamy bokeh. But let's say you've only got $180 this quarter. Let me make a suggestion: Hop on MasterClass and buy yourself a 1 year subscription. Then take the online course from Ron Howard on Directing. Yeah, Ron Howard, the guy that made basically every movie. One hundred and eighty bucks.
I have no affiliation with Master Class, they've never heard of me, and, god-willing, never will.
But unless that course consists of Ron Howard silently staring at the camera while picking his nose, there is basically no way you won't get $180 worth of value out of the class. Or, if you don't have $180, see if your local library has a couple books on film-making or directing.
If you're basically a photographic taxidermist, like so very very many of these store-front portraiture operations from the 1980s (or run by people who learned at the feet of a 1980s era taxidermist), there might be no hope for you. But then again, Ron Howard's a damned engaging dude. Worst case, it's probably $180 worth of sheer entertainment.