What is a Photo Proventure?

through my lensIt’s a blog about my adventure into professional photography.

I plan to pull back the curtain and give people a glimpse at what my photographic journey is. It will be a real and authentic; with all the wins and failures that come with it.

The Pro Photographer Curtain

I can’t speak for other photographers, but I know I have been guilty of some level of “fake-it-till-you-make-it”.  A couple years ago when I declared myself as a “professional photographer”, I said it more out of hope than out of conviction. I figured that by acting like a professional, I could convince my audience that I was professional! Perhaps part of it was even to convince myself? At the end of the day, I declare that I am a professional photographer. I’ll add the caveat that I am a professional photographer who is in the middle of a process to grow a thriving sustainable business.

Korinek Photography & Assistant

Here I’m am taking photo’s at my friends’ wedding. No, I didn’t set up this photo just to look like a “pro”. However, the assistant was a volunteer and a guest at the wedding. Photo courtesy Elena F.

Was it all smoke and mirrors?

No, but there was definitely some smoke and a few mirrors. There is the smoke of getting job through friends and the mirrors of selling prints to friends and family. Have I sold some prints to random people? Yes. Just not so many.

I feel confident in what I do as a photographer, but not as confident running a photography business. So this blog will share what I experience as I venture into creating my business and building my photographic reputation.

Why lift the curtain now?
Authenticity, contribution and a bit of self-interest.

Authenticity – This is a core value of mine and a pillar of what Korinek Photography and Photo Proventure stand for. I’m still developing some of the other ideas that will underpin my brand, but authenticity will definitely be a foundation of the business. Although I don’t feel like I’ve been outright lying, there was some in-authenticity surrounding my photography business in the sense of that “fake-it-till-you-make-it” phenomenon. That didn’t jive with who I am.

So out loud (or at least in writing) I am making the commitment to you to be authentic throughout this blog and my photography business in general. It means that I will likely have to be vulnerable at times and share things I’d rather keep behind the curtain. So if you have any questions, just fire away. I can’t speak for all professional photographers, but I can respond from my experience and where I am now. I hope that since my re-launch you have felt this authenticity in my writing.

Contribution – If I spend the time and effort in writing a blog, but am not authentic in what I share, will you get anything out of it? Only by lifting the curtain can I share something of value with you. Once my business is as successful, I will again be able to share from a place where I can contribute. I hope we can grow together.

Self-interest – It can be hard to come up with new blog posts all the time. I figure that coming from a place of sharing where I am in my Proventure journey will make coming up with ideas easier. And of course I view this blog as an opportunity to share my photographic work and ideas in hopes that it will expand my reach. Although I haven’t yet articulated my vision for the business, I know that anything is possible and I hope that this blog is a stepping stone along the way to greatness.

I’d love to hear any feedback you have on this post. #ppventure

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5 Comments on “What is a Photo Proventure?”

  1. Good luck Matt! I wish you all the success!

  2. themofman says:

    I wasn’t snowed. That must sound like BS but I wasn’t. Here’s why . . .

    It is a fact, not conjecture, that the vast majority of the world’s photographers today are struggling to make a thriving business out of their art, just like most other commercial artists; like me. Art history shows that it has never been easy for any artist, but today a lot of this is due to the Internent-globalization of the arts, the much easier accessibility to cameras of all sorts and considerably reduced long-term operating costs that billions can now take advantage of in camparrison to 25 years ago and further back.

    Yes, there are in deed a lot of highly successful shooters around the world but they still make up a clear cut moniority.

    This whole smoke and mirrors thing has unfortunately gotten a lot of people — laymen to pro shooters, believing that if you aren’t financially successful as a shooter, then you’re not a pro. You’re an amateur or hobbyist. Worse, you’re a wannbe and have yet to reach a satisfacory level of artistic skill — if you ever do. Even some photography competitions call for entrants to submit as either pro or amateur.

    Wow, all of these labels and notions behind then.

    The fact is, any kind of professional artist; commercial artist, is someone who makes money from their art. There is no minimum amount that is required for someone to be able to tick the pro box. We are pros because even when we go months without sealing any kind of assignment or image leasing contract with a complete stranger, our ambition is still to build and sustain a thriving photography business. We’re not here to make cute little pictures to stick on granny’s fridge. We’re here to build careers.

    Make no mistake, Matt. Before and now, I BELIEVE that you ARE a professional photographer.

    Gotta keep on swingin’!

    • Matt Korinek says:

      Hey Allan,

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the subject. I think it adds a lot of value to any other readers of this site. I think you’ve pointed out a lot of truths about the state of art and photography in general and have some really powerful idea for people to mull over.

      For myself, it’s not that I believe that I am NOT a professional. I just feel like I’ve been inauthentic and wanted to tell my whole truth. I feel this way I can move forward with fewer barriers both for myself and in my professional relationships. I currently feel is that the only difference between a professional and a “layman” isn’t even the money necessarily, it is the commitment to the craft and personal artistic growth within that craft. I know that I have no special powers and any success I’ve had is due to hard work and commitment to my goal. I agree that labels do more harm than good for most people.

      Thing is, I’m not going to come at my present situation as a “starving artist” situation. I’m an artist honing the craft of both photography and entrepreneurship. There’s something exciting in this journey of discovery and my intention is to focus on the learning and not get too stuck on any setbacks or big wins. Will I share set backs and big wins? Of course, that’s part of the adventure right? ;)

      I am committed to creating the possibility of and amazing visual storytelling business that makes a difference in people’s lives, and photography is one part of that.

      Thanks again Allan.

      Matt

  3. ninahooper says:

    Hey! I called my blog proventure because, for similar reasons, I felt as if it is an appropriate “word” to describe the things I talk about the and kind of attitude I try and live by. You might like it, I don’t know. Check it out. proventure.org.
    I certainly like the fake-it-till-you-make-it philosophy. There was a great TED talk about the same topic but the speaker twisted it to give the message that by “faking it” you actually become it precisely because other people perceive you to already be a professional. Cool stuff haha.

    :)


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