We all have the idea that sooner or later we will get discovered. It will probably happen very soon, maybe thanks to the next photo we will post on Instagram. I have always joked on the fact that it takes countless nights of work to create an overnight success.
The truth to get discovered is that it just doesn’t just “happens”. This is true for the overwhelming majority of photographers. The ones who get discovered are the exceptions that confirm the rule.
The most sensible thing you can do is to stop building your future on the fact that you will get discovered; however, you can work hard to make sure that if you actually get discovered, you will be ready for it.
Never stop dreaming
Before digging into any thought about how to approach the “get discovered” discussion, I would like to point out one thing. You should never stop dreaming. If you think that sooner or later you will get discovered, don’t let anyone tell you different. You should not let me tell you differently.
What I want to give you with this article is a perspective and a personal experience that I lived. If I had read this article years ago, I would not have had fame and success, but I would have lived my professionalism in a different way. I would have lived healthier Fridays. I would have stopped checking the emails every five minutes and invest at that time in being a better photographer.
I know few photographers who had their ticket to notoriety out of a hat. It is the same thing you can say about the lottery: there are winners, but living your life expecting to win it may leave with a bad taste in your mouth.
Get discovered: the myth
Continuing the comparison with the lottery, I saw a lot of photographers waiting to get discovered, without even playing the lottery. The myth is that someone will see your photos, and will be so blown away that she will call you and give you everything you are missing. Money, notoriety and fame will just happen to exist. Because we are artists, we want to believe that we will get discovered. Is something that happens to musicians, so why shouldn’t it happen to photographers as well?
Let me tell you why; if I look at emerging photographers, I don’t look at a phenomenal photos. Lucky chances happen. I want to see a strong body of work, I want to rely on a raising star’s experience and reliability, I want to know that there is solid ground underneath a fabulous art.
If I look at 100 photographers who think they deserve to get discovered, I may find this in 1 or 2.
Please, don’t think we have been any different. When our portfolio was much weaker than today, when our lighting technique was simply bad, we thought we would have deserved to get discovered. We thought it so much, that the day we realised it wouldn’t have happened, we felt like our world was crumbling down.
We were not the raising stars we thought we were; the silver lining was that the moment we realised it we were so much forward in our career that we did not need to get discovered.
Get discovered: the reality
Many of us are waiting to get discovered. Let me wake you up from this dream. If you think you should get discovered, start working your ass off. Gold does not generally rain from the sky, and at the end of the rainbow there isn’t any treasure.
The reality is that you can make rain gold and you can find a treasure. It simply sits somewhere else, not in the “get discovered” dream, but in the “I worked like a donkey” one.
Welcome to a reality which is not worse; on the contrary, a small switch in perspective will give you so much more.
Life is not about getting discovered, it is about being a great photographer with a unique vision of life. Be one and you will get discovered, but don’t expect life to happen the other way around.
How can you be prepared for when you will get discovered?
Faby and I are quite known as boudoir photographers. We have clients coming all over the world to be photographed by us. Yet we consider this to be a “good start”.
Will I get discovered any time soon?
There is no denying that I still believe this can happen, maybe not soon. What we are doing now is making sure that if this happens, we will possess that quality, reliability and experience people look for. It is about being the right person in the right place at the right time.
You can consider “the right place” like a physical space or, like me, you can consider it as the psychological place where you are ready.
You are ready to deal with big clients. You are ready to deal with big numbers. You are ready to shoot consistently amazing photographs. You are ready to be the right photographer.
And when you will get discovered, that won’t look like a huge jump, but just the logical progression of who you are and where you are.
Are you ready to get discovered?