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The New Path: More Opportunity than Ever Before

The writing is on the wall: Whether you know it or not, things have changed…

A few weeks ago, I was able to be a part of an interview with Vincent LaForet who is a former New York Times photographer, a Pulitzer Prize winning photographer, and more recently known as a HDSLR video pioneer. It was a very enlightening interview and has made me think a lot about where the photography industry is headed.

Vincent LaForet wrote a blog post about 20 months ago about the fundamental changes that were happening in the publishing and photography industry. Titled “The Clouds are Falling” the blog post took a very honest look into how the fundamental sustainability of being a commercial photographer, editorial photographer, and photo journalist has changed. To be sustainable in this industry is becoming harder and harder.

The New York Times also published an article two weeks ago: “For Photographers, the Image of a Shrinking Path,” that dealt with how it is becoming increasingly more difficult for seasoned professional photographers to make a living due to the influx of “amateur” photographers into the market who are willing to work for almost anything.

However, it is not all doom and gloom. The tools for any digital media creative have never been as accessible and affordable as they currently are and this has created a new space for creativity and art through the photographic lens.

A couple of weeks ago, I read an article on how the season’s finale of the primetime TV show “House” was exclusively recorded on a few Canon 5D Mark IIs. “House” usually films with video cameras costing over $50,000, but yet decided on using a few $2,500 SLR cameras to wrap up its season, which happen to also record amazing footage. The director of the show honestly stated that “this is the future…” HDSLR video cameras definitely have their limitations, but they are nevertheless powerful tools that make movie-making more accessible than it has ever been before.

I watched Vincent LaForet’s video work before he spoke about it in the interview I sat in on a few weeks ago, and was truly amazed to see the quality of video created using the Canon 5D Mark II. What I learnt during the interview was that he only had 72 hours of video experience before he created the short film “Reverie”. Vincent produced the film over a weekend with a few friends, after asking Canon if he could borrow a pre-production 5D Mark II, to which they agreed. When Vincent first released the film online, it had over a million views in the first 24 hours, and by the end of the week it had been viewed four million times. By channeling his creativity through a new and accessible medium, a once New York Times photographer with 72 hours of film-making experience became a well-respected film maker, overnight.

Reverie from Vincent Laforet.

Two amazing artists, good friends of mine, are living proof of how the cost of being creative with the variety of easily accessible media available to artists has gone down without the need to compromise what they produce. They aren’t photographers but their story supports this current reality. Aaron and Matt of the LA-based band Window View created their album in their West Hollywood apartment, using a four year old Apple Mac Pro G5 with a hodgepodge of different recording programs. The album “Out of Order” was completely self-produced and featured on iTunes Pick of the Week, and has brought them far more exposure than live shows opportunities.

So what does this all mean? The once clear division between the photography and the film-making industry is not so clear any more. The playing field has been flattened for artists creating in both industries, permitting them to channel their art through more media. Almost anyone with a modest investment and passion to create, can stretch both that investment and that passion to create much more than ever before. This is establishing creativity as the new lingua franca, making it the essential ingredient to stand out and prosper doing that you love best.

And the good news doesn’t quite stop there. Publishing what you create, sharing your art to inspire, challenge, and transform, is also more accessible now – at a far lower cost, if any – that ever before. Regular viewers of my personal website stretch beyond our land to Europe, Africa, South America, and Asia. I haven’t reached the masses with my work but it certainly is accessible to anyone who wants to see it, wherever they might be. Hence, as an artist, what I ought to be concerned about is what I am creating, what I am communicating through it, and how I can make it stand out.

Take one step further and consider the role Apple’s iPad might have in all this. The opinions on this new device are many, good and bad. Personally I believe that the iPad is going to drastically change the way information and media are consumed. It will be vital to not solely create great content, but rather to create great creative content that enhances the user’s experience. The sky is the limit when considering ways how to enhance the user’s experience. Where print media was only limited to what could be printed on a page, an iPad can display almost any type of digital media. Video, photography, and written content have the potential to be seamlessly integrated in an iPhone/iPad app or HTML5 interface. Millions of users can consume the same content on their iPhones and other mobile devices from almost any location, which continues to stretch that artists playing field.

Change often brings forth mixed feelings of fear and excitement, but I believe that the change that is happening in the photography and film-making industries ought to instill more excitement than fear. No longer do artists have to limit their creativity according to funds available to them. Not to say that financial sustainability does not remain a challenge. Rather, the point is that the number of channels available to artists to create and share their art has never been this high, which ought to instill courage and passion in artists who desire to do more of what they love best.

Joshua is the Director of Photographer Services for Dane Sanders Photographers.   He has a passion for hope filled international photo projects with Refugees. You can check out more of his work on his website: or follow him on twitter.

FastTrack Roundup: March 16th

The latest in FastTrack:

  • Miriam Hermansen was stressing about her upcoming Fast Track group meeting. There were a million questions running through her head, and she poured out her fears as the meeting unfolded. It didn’t take long before the affects of the Fast Track basics to kick in. The support lent to Miriam that night was so comforting, everyone there was ” for each other ” which is the soul purpose of the Fast Track group meetings.  “suddenly, everyone was encouraging me again, assuring me. and i just sat there, in the middle of their support and soaking it in. and when i walked out, i was walking a little taller.”
  • Chicago Fast Track group is getting ready for their next meeting. In the midst of planning, Jennifer Kathryn blogged about her experience at the first Fast Track meeting, and how inspiring it was. The connections made between the group was very profound. After her recent return from WPPI, she is more excited than ever to get back to her Chicago group and share her inspirational stories.
  • Atlanta Pug Group is extremely excited to have Dane Sanders come out for a FastTrack Photographer workshop. On March 30th people can engage in a 2 day experience where they will be inspired and educated by Dane himself. The website includes what to look forward to and how to be a part of it all.

AskDane: Special WPPI Edition

Ask Dane:

Fast Track TV (Community Created Content):

AskDane: Special WPPI Edition

Time: ALL DAY! (keep it open.. who knows who’ll drop in)

We’re bringing WPPI to you… LIVE all week.

To get the answers to any of your questions, simply send a Twitter with @danesanders in the text. If you didn’t catch the Coaching Event *LIVE*, you can always catch the Replay later here.

See you soon!
– Dane

Helpful links

Be the First to Know

Fast Track Round up: Week of March 4th

What’s been the latest buzz about Fast Track this week?

  • Alisha Whitely was given a copy of Fast Track Photographer on her birthday at the Imaging USA session in January. Her experience there was great, and now that she has read the book, she can see what all the hype is about. Her and her friends have said how much the book changed their lives. Alisha is in the process of her pDNA assessment, and she can’t wait for the results because she knows it will help her greatly in her future as a photographer.

“What I am learning from this book is going to be instrumental in my future! Dane’s goal is to set you up to win!”

  • If you are a pro or aspiring photographer, Christine Tremoulet wants you to come to the FastTrack Photographer and PUG meeting in Houston, TX. She wants to meet all of the amazing people out there that are willing to bring something to the table. To find out more information on the meeting go here.

Two Birds with One Stone

Going to WPPI?

Don’t want to wait until May to get your copy of Fast Track?

We’ve figured out a way for you to have your cake and eat it too.

CLICK HERE to pre-order the revised and expanded version of Fast Track Photographer (coming out in May) on Amazon. Then, just show us the receipt in Vegas and we’ll give you a copy of the original for free. Yep… you read that right… pre-order the new version for $11.46 and get the second book gratis. Since both come with a free pDNA 2.0, you can make a friend with your second copy too.

Here’s how it works…

  • Pre-order the book
  • Show us the receipt from Amazon printed on paper (or from your iPhone) in Vegas
  • When we see the receipt we will give you a copy the first version of Fast Track Photographer at WPPI.

*Come and find us in the New Media Lounge on the trade show floor, Booth #1477 or at any of the other events we’ll be at.

See you in Vegas!


WPPI’s New Media Lounge Explained

Click PLAY to get a brief explanation of what’s happening with this year’s New Media Lounge at WPPI.

Special thanks to WPPI, Pictage, The Bui Brothers & the Fast Track Photographer community for making this thing real. NOTE: If there’s anyone (really, anyone!) you especially want to hear from on AskDane in Vegas, let us know in the comments below and we’ll do our best.

CLICK HERE for all the Fast Track WPPI Events that are happening and be sure to Facebook or Follow Dane for up to the minute updates. Tickets are required for some events so be sure to get them right away.

Can’t wait.


PS… I know the audio timing is off on the player… please forgive. We’re going for excellence over perfection. Besides it makes me feel like a Kung Fu movie star. Thanks!