The Photographer’s Manifesto

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THE PHOTOGRAPHER'S MANIFESTO

I have seen absolutely beautiful things happen in the photo industry. I’ve seen strangers become best friends, I’ve seen grand ideas being brought to life, and I’ve seen photographers grow from beginners to mentors. I’ve seen so many things that make me proud to be a part of such an amazing community. The sad news is that I’ve also seen the uglier side of it. I’ve seen jealousy turn into bad-mouthing, I’ve seen photographers knowingly leave out key techniques from classes or talks, and I’ve seen new photographers become discouraged and disheartened by the cold shoulders of the more popular photographers in the industry. For a lack of better words, that sucks. Nobody benefits from negativity like that so we might as well get rid of it.

Let’s change things.

I’m talking to you. To the part-timer, the student, the pro, the educator, the Instagram king, and to everyone else. We are all crucial parts of this industry and we all have the power to push it forward. This manifesto is something that I’ve had in my head for a while and I’m writing it as a piece of encouragement for anyone who needs it (myself included). I believe in these things down to my core and they are the driving force behind everything I do. They all boil down to one simple little fact: we are all in this together. I think it’s time to start being awesome.

COMMUNITY OVER COMPETITION

This is idea numero uno. The big one. I have seen so many photographers become islands. Lonely, discouraged, and negative little islands. Somewhere along the line someone thought it would be a good idea to view each other as competition and I have no idea how that stuck. Let me set one thing straight right away: your life and career will suffer greatly if you believe that, I promise. I am not your competition. You are not my enemy. You are my fellow artist and I’m on your team. I want to see you win. I want to see you create gorgeous things. You might think that there are only so many jobs to go around but I assure you, there are plenty. Every artist out there has their own style and every potential client has their own taste. There is always a match for you no matter how many other photographers there are in the industry. So here’s a thought: let’s quit seeing each other as threats to our businesses and start looking to each other for inspiration, education, and encouragement. We are all passionate artists; let’s start treating each other like it.

Competition tears you down, community builds you up. It seems like a pretty obvious choice, right? Let’s all be friends.

AS YOU IMPROVE, WE ALL IMPROVE

Work on your craft. Learn new things. Step out of your comfort zone and let your comfort zone grow to meet you. You can always always always improve and let’s be honest here, you always want to. It’s what makes humans so great at so many things. We all want to be awesome, so let’s be awesome together.

As you improve, we all improve. It’s that simple. I think it’s time that we recognize that we aren’t only individuals, but we are also part of a community. Every time an individual improves, the entire community improves. If you learn something new, the photo community is pushed forward. Better yet, if you share what you learned with someone else, the photo community is pushed forward again. That means you improve, the photo community improves, and you feel the warm fuzzies. Win-win-win.

JEALOUSY SUCKS

I want to see you succeed. Truly. I want to see you booking awesome work and getting published in the best magazines and on the coolest blogs. I hope you get booked to shoot a wedding on the moon and that it ends up published in Vogue. With that being said, I’m still going to feel a little jealous when I see you traveling for a totally kick-ass job and having the time of your life. When you get published in one of my favorite magazines, I’m still going to feel that little jolt of envy. It’s natural. Everyone gets jealous. You can thank social media and our culture of bragging for that. Maybe the fact that everyone feels jealous at some point or another (even the people that you are jealous of) will lend you some sort of comfort.

Jealousy over things you see on social media can bring you way further down than you ever need to be. Don’t compare your b-roll to everyone else’s highlight reel. It won’t make you any better at what you do and it’s not the truth. Be proud of what you accomplish and be excited that your friends in the photo community are doing awesome things.

EVERYONE FEELS DISCOURAGEMENT

When I was starting out, I always felt discouraged. After every single shoot. Every single time. To make it worse, I assumed that I was the only one who felt like that. I was positive that the “pros” always loved what they created and never felt down on their work. Well here I am, 7 years later, and I still feel discouraged. Sure, there are aspects of my work that I’m proud of, but for the most part, I pick it to pieces and know that it needs to be better. Oh wait, you do that too? I wish I could say that I’m surprised. Here is the good news: discouragement fosters improvement. If you feel down about your work, you really only have two options: stay down about it, or try to make it better. Sure, after your next one million tries, you will probably still feel a little down about it, but at least it will be leaps and bounds better than what you were creating before.

Just know that you aren’t alone. Even if it looks like everyone around you is loving what they are creating, all artists struggle. It is just part of the game. Everyone struggles and everyone has hard days. I have days that leave me in a complete rut. I have months when I feel like I haven’t created anything worth anything and it’s a terrible feeling. So far, everything I’ve just said seems like a good reason to stop trying but the truth is that every now and then I create something that I feel truly proud of and that becomes my reason to push through the discouraging times. Sometimes I feel like being an artist is nothing more than wading through a pile of your own dirty laundry in the hope of finding a clean shirt.

SHARE YOUR SECRETS

I’m about to admit something that I’m pretty ashamed of. During the first couple of years in my career, I was stingy. I kept my shooting and editing secrets to myself because I was afraid of someone copying my style. Humans are infinitely complex and filled with their own unique ambitions, inspirations, passions, and values, yet I was afraid that if I told someone how I colored my images, their photos would look just like mine. If you think about it, it’s ridiculous (maybe even bonkers). I can’t believe I thought that way and now I’m the complete opposite. If you ask me, I will answer (maybe even to a fault). I want to see you improve and I want to do my small part to push the photo community forward.

Education rocks, so lets share it. Lets bounce our ideas and work together to be better than we were. Hoarding your secrets for the sake of keeping your style unique is like a cook not telling someone what type of noodles he uses because he doesn’t want someone else cooking a sauce like his. Everyone is inspired by completely different things so even with the same exact knowledge you won’t see duplicates, you will just see more forms of awesome.

ENCOURAGE NEW TALENT

I know some people may not agree with me on this one, and that’s completely fine. If a new (or even a not so new) photographer asks you a question and you have the time to answer, please do. Help them out. You were there once too. We were all there. Obviously we can’t always answer everything (most often for the sake of time), but we can always email back. We can at least say “Hey! I appreciate your email and wish I could answer every question I’m asked, but I need sleep too. Best of luck!” I can tell you from personal experience (and I’m sure most of you went through this too) how discouraging it is to not hear back from or to be completely shot down by someone you looked up to. In the beginning I had no idea how busy some of these photographers were and the photographers that might be emailing you now don’t understand that either. So even if you have to create an automated response, send them an encouraging note. Do your part to welcome in new talent and encourage positivity and community. Start them off on the same note you wish you had been started off on. It may seem small to you but it might make a world of difference to them. If nothing else, maybe karma will pay you back.

BE AWESOME

We are artists and we can do whatever the hell we want. I know that seems pretty obvious, but I think we all (myself included) get stuck in a box of things we see others doing or we limit ourselves to creating only what we think will be popular. How about this: let’s be artists and do what inspires us. Let’s create. Let’s slap normal in the face. Let’s shake things up, step out of the box, and make people remember what it’s like to be weird. Let’s want to be awesome, and LET’S FREAKING DO IT.

  1. Reply

    Wow! Amazing post! Truly love everything you have written here and agree with it :)

  2. Reply

    i really love your artwork.. plzz share with us!!

  3. Reply

    Thank you for this, it came at just the right time for me. I love this quote: Don’t compare your b-roll to everyone else’s highlight reel. Awesome!

  4. Reply

    Loved this post. Thanks for the encouragement to fellow photographers! You are awesome!

  5. Reply

    I love you. I love this post. Yes, yes, yes and yes. I’m in!

  6. Reply

    thats got to be a life changing read. Thanks a ton Ben! You definitely made us think.

  7. Reply

    Dude you nailed it. super pumped on what you’re doing here and couldn’t agree more all of this!!!

  8. Reply

    I’m inspired! Let’s be awesome!

  9. Reply

    Love this!!! Such a great post!

  10. Reply

    Thanks for this ben! super helpful, honest, caring and just awesome!

    You’re rad/talented guy and i appreciate you.

  11. Reply

    YES. Love this. It reminds me of this kid president video too. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RwlhUcSGqgs

    and your gifs are my favorite.

  12. Reply

    I realized there are good hearts elsewhere

    Excellent piece of advice for the community.

    In Chennai, India we are on the same boat

  13. Reply

    This was exactly what I needed to hear today. as always, ben, you are brilliant and we admire you for your honesty and encouragement. Thanks for rocking.

  14. Reply

    This was an absolutely inspiring blog post, and I totally agree with it. As a young, aspiring photographer who would love to actually make a profit from my favourite hobby someday, I can’t help feeling a bit un-welcomed by the community, as no one has really taken any interest in my “work”, which is really discouraging. However, I haven’t exactly tried contacting anyone, due to me being afraid of being looked as a bad photographer or whatever. Anyways, I’m rambling right now, just wanted to thank you for highlighting this matter. :)

  15. Reply

    this is like a breath of fresh air. thank you for your insight; hopefully we can all work to propel the photo community forward!

  16. Reply

    I TOTALLY AGREE WITH EVERYTHING YOU SAID. COMMUNITY, NOT COMPETITION. YOU ROCK BEN!!!

  17. Reply

    great post , great idea , knowledgeable….can you share some idea how to be an awesome photographer

  18. Reply

    this is beautiful … and powerful. I believe in all of this too. xx

  19. Reply

    great article!

  20. Reply

    HOT DAMN! I love reading every post from you. So inspiring, so encouraging. Thank yo!!!

  21. Reply

    Thank you so much for this! It was beautifully written, and really helped put things in perspective. I’m a huge fan of your work and your overall approach! Keep doing what you do!

  22. Reply

    Ben. THank you for this. I have always felt this tension of COMPETITION in the art/photography community but hated it! It is about touching on peoples stories, sharing their story, and encouraging one another. Community not competition. Very encouraging.

  23. Reply

    Hello there! i am speechless, why? BECAUSE its simply impossible to see someone say and ADMITTING all this and that too from their heart, how can i say this that whatever you wrote is from your heart? well its so true and authentic, BRAVO!!

    thakn you for such wonderful post.

    keep at it, all the best :)

  24. Reply

    Just what I needed to hear! So awesome!

  25. Reply

    You are such an inspiration! I wish i could have met you and your better half before you guys left st auggie! Preach on brother, preach on!

  26. Reply

    Wow…you are amazing!!! So glad I clicked on this article! Blessings ❤

  27. Reply

    “Sometimes I feel like being an artist is nothing more than wading through a pile of your own dirty laundry in the hope of finding a clean shirt.”

    That sounds pretty much bang on. Great article!

  28. Reply

    I am sharing this everywhere. Thanks for writing it.

  29. Reply

    The timing of this post was perfect. I really needed to hear these words of encouragement in a big way! You are awesome and I want to be awesome too! Thank you.

  30. Reply

    Great post, Ben!! I have felt this way since the beginning of my photography career, most photographers I have gotten to know are extremely isolated and disparaging, however I can’t say that I have not fallen into that same rut of negativity. Thanks for sharing this, I’m sure it will influence many to quit the cycle of negativity,

  31. Reply

    even as a graphic designer, this really was an inspiration and touched many thoughts i struggled with. it’s really encouraging to read. :) thanks!

  32. Reply

    I have just recently started my photography back up after having two babies. Things are going really slow for me and I have gotten so much negativity about my work, website, or basically just my willingness to try and make something of myself. I am one of those people who go out of my way to help other people, but I realize not everyone is like me. Recently I had talked to a photographer about how she gained more clients and asked if she had any pointers and she basically blew me off. I don’t understand the competition. Being unwilling to help a fellow photographer who wants to learn more is like depriving a child of an education.

  33. Reply

    Thank you for this post, it came at perfect timing for me & im sure a ton of others. It’s something that definitely needed to be said, and something that is so encouraging to everyone that is in this field. (Love your work as well)

  34. Reply

    This is so timely. Thank you for taking the time to share. LEt’s change the direction of community together! Heck ya!

  35. Reply

    Really great post! So true!
    I wish you all to be better tomorrow!

  36. Reply

    Just what I needed to hear now, let´s be nice with each other! thaks Ben!!

  37. Reply

    This is just what I needed to hear now, lets be nice with each other! Thanks Ben!

  38. Reply

    You put this so BEAUTIFULLY. You’ve definitely encouraged and INSPIRED me to push my photography career FURTHER! book marked and shared :)

  39. Reply

    What an awesome concept! this is exactly how a lot of us truly feel. being reminded is validating…Thank you for your words of wisdom!

  40. Reply

    Well said and very true. This animosity is unnecessary. Put your blinders on, hone your craft, and succeed!

  41. Reply

    I LOVE THIS POST. tHANK YOU. yOU HAVE MADE MY DAY

  42. Reply

    Amen brother! Such a solid post. it’s so wonderful to see what an incredible perspective you have. i for one am forever grateful for all the tips you gave me about the biz many years ago… not to mention the beyond generous gift you sent me that got me jump started shooting weddings. ;) i will always hold you in high regard as a photographer, a mentor, and a friend and will continue to look to you for inspiration and great advice. keep doing what you do mister.

  43. Reply

    Great reminder. Thanks!

  44. Reply

    Amen!!! Totaly agree!!

  45. Reply

    Thank you so much ben for this post. I’M GRADUATING FROM FILM STUDIES AND HALF WAY MY CARRER I REALIZE THAT PHOTOGRAPHY IS SOMETHING THAT I REALLY LOVE. I just lost a job that i thought i’ll have until the end of my last semester at university and now i’m thinking in doing only photography. i often feel inadequate and that i don’t have all the equipment i need to get the RESULTS i want. then, i read your post, and there is this light of hope that its a matter of time and hard work to keep improving and to be part of this awesome community. thanks again!

  46. Reply

    Wonderful. I do networking events all the time, bringing photographers, MUAH, Models, Designers together to have fun and get to know each other.. no charge to attend unless we have location costs then it might be 5-10 dollars.. I share my thoughts, ideas, locations, settings with those that ask.. Have an amazing day.

  47. Reply

    wow. i probably (definitely) really needed this. Thanks.

  48. Reply

    Always great ben x

  49. Reply

    Well said, if you are confident in your abilities you never have to be jealous of others work. To achieve that confidence one must learn the craft. Sharing with others is the best way to strengthen your abilities and we all must keep the learning fresh as you never know when or where you next inspiration will come from!

  50. Reply

    Love. Thanks for standing up for our industry and helping others understand its okay to be friends.you have my support :)

  51. Reply

    liTeraLly…YES. I have been crazy discouraged lately…planning shoots one day, seeing the same concept published the next…having dead time for bookings…and then i take a shot and i forget all that crap. this is so important what you just wrote…so thank you.

  52. Reply

    BEN, this is such a great article you’ve written. I was reading this post feeling so angry about how i’ve been treated by “competition” you would think 1 million dollars is up for grabs.

    Regardless, THANK YOU! This keeps my faith that there are great people out there, that will look out for each other and not tear each other apart.
    Keep doing you. let’s shoot on the Moon.

  53. Reply

    SO AWESOME BEN!!! It’s totally the same for bloggers like myself. Loved this.

  54. Reply

    Ben, theres a reason why your work is so besutiful- because your mind and heart are as well. Spoken with wisdom & grace, thanks for sharing!
    Xo merritt

  55. Reply

    I couldn’t agree more. people who are regularly helping and collaborating with others are the most successful. You have an awesome attitude.

  56. Reply

    Ben this is so good! love your work, LOVE YOUR HEART. THANKS FOR THE ENCOURAGEMENT!

  57. Reply

    Dear Ben,
    I LOVE YOUR WORK.
    i LOVE THIS POST.
    SOMETIMES I FEEL EXACTLY AS YOU SAID AND MORE OFTEN THAT I WANT, I’VE BEEN THINKING ON THESE THINGS.
    I’VE ALWAYS TRIED NOT ONLY BE A GOOD PHOTOGRAPHER, BUT MUCH MORE A GOOD PERSON.
    AND GROW AND IMPROVE MYSELF AS A PHOTOGRAPHER COULDN’T BE IF I WASN’T AGREE WITH THIS MANIFESTO.
    BUT I’M AGREE. FOR SURE. I’M IN, BEN.
    HAPPY TO AGREE WITH THIS BEHAVIOR COMMUNITY.

  58. Reply

    Great post, great message. I have always hated the “have you lost weight? i hate you!” mentality in life as well as business. i genuinely love to see others succeed – plus that means it’s possible, right?

    probably the thing i love best about my business is the collaboration and community i have found, both as a photographer and a writer. my best to you.

  59. Reply

    Thanks Ben , you articulated how i have felt for so long but It has felt like bangin’ my head against a brick wall trying to instill it! :) love every word. Wishing you all the best and more.

  60. Reply

    As someone who still struggles with the community part of photography, this was a good read. I’m not the best kind of person when it comes to cooperating and not competing — and that’s a side of myself that I’m trying to change — so your article just helped me take an extra step. Thank you for writing it. :)

  61. Reply

    Thank you foR this! Many parts of teh wedding industry need to see this: bloggers, planners, cake bakers and florists all have had their bouts with ugliness. LOL, I’m not even a professional photographer and never will be, but I’m so curious about making better photos for my self and for tutorials and product reviews. One time I mentioned to 2 local PRO PHOTOGRAPHERS that I had just bought an L-series lense for my rebel and I could see the worry spread across their face. Was I a weekend warrior? Would I be competition? Rather than encouraging me, they started laughing and RIDICULING my set up. I was so stinking mad. On eof the photographers shoots weddings sometimes and could benefit from exposure on my blog. I knew the UGLINESS existed in photography-specific groups, but I had no idea how quickly and decisively such viriol could be aimed outward. I am going to share this everywhere and often! Thank you so much to have the courage to love!

  62. Reply

    Ben, this is a truly amazing post. It echoes my sentiments exactly. I really wish more people would understand and qpply your suggestions. The world would be a much better place. Keep it up and your site is very beautiful, clean and simplE. Your pics are gorgeous. I love it.

  63. Reply

    This was so inspiring and will hopefully open up some eyes and some hearts to help the profession we all love and create an amazing community we can all be proud of! Thank you

  64. Reply

    great post ben. you really touched on so many things that I know we all go through on a daily basis. i’ve definitely experienced a lot of what you have described and its nice to know someone as successful as yourself also still experiences some of these things. i hope to one day be able to make it to one of your workshops and have the opportunity to meet you. keep up the awesome work, you are truly inspiring a lot of us out here.

  65. Reply

    Thank you for this Ben! This is exactly what needs to happen. I had a terrible experience with a photog I looked up to when I first started and it was so disheartening. Since then I have found great a community of photographers who love to share and help and I just hope that everyone can find that. We are need to love each other:)

  66. Reply

    Ben! I met you at field trip and you were seriously so open, and helpful…more than any artist i’ve looked up to. I have to admit at field trip, I was extremely intimidated…not myself and kind of stayed in the shadows. I love this blog and it’s 100% of who you are and I appreciate that so much. Keep being awesome and hopefully i will get to meet you again in the future!
    Sincerely, Kathy

  67. Reply

    thànk you fOr those words.Your manifesto makes such an echo to me, even if i am not a photographer. Let’s just be awesOme together!

  68. Reply

    yes, yes, yes. LOVE this!

  69. Reply

    so well said! Great Post Ben Sasso!

  70. Reply

    Ben, i cannot thank you enough for this post! It is so inspiring and encouraging to hear these words from such a talented PROFESSIONAL! I wish there were more people in our industry with your mind set!

  71. Reply

    Awesome post! Couldn’t have come at a better time for me. I am just getting in to the wedding biz and it can be overwhelming, exciting, but discouraging as well! Your work and your outlook is such an inspiration! Thank you for being such an open book! Keep up the Amazing work!

  72. Reply

    As always, you da bomb. Love this!

  73. Reply

    This is amazing. It’s not just true in our industry, but globally – in every industry. Thank you for having the courage to post this.

  74. Reply

    ben, you’re so rad. you’re an inspiration to us all and this message was the best thing i’ve read in awhile.

  75. Reply

    you are freaking awesomE and I love your posts!

  76. Reply

    this is amazing! thanks for sharing your heart and passion for our community! xoxo

  77. Reply

    totally agree with you Ben. keep sharing!

  78. Reply

    YES!! This is awesome, and amazing. I’m in!!

  79. Reply

    Fantastic. wELL SAID. AS A BEGINNER I HAVE FOUND IT SO HARD TO FIND A FELLOW PHOTOGRAPHER TO LEARN FROM. THEY HAVE ALL SEEMED RATHER DISTANT. FROM WHAT I HAVE HAD TO TEACH MYSELF I HAVE GLADLY SHARED WITH OTHER BEGINNERS.

  80. Reply

    This post is totally amazing! everything he is saying are very true!

  81. Reply

    Ben, this is freaking awesome. Thank you so much for this!

  82. Reply

    Thank you for this! i really needed it especially on how ive been feeling lately….. encouraging :)

  83. Reply

    Wonderful and absolutely spot on :)

  84. Reply

    I love this story :-) I’m relatively new to the photography business and know I have so much more to learn…but I make sure to always help anyone else when I CAN. eVERYONE HAS SOMETHING TO OFFER, NO MATTER WHAT THEIR LEVEL OR EXPERIENCE. tHANKS FOR POSTING THIS.

  85. Reply

    This post was so encouraging! I’ve been on every end of this. From jealousy when I first started, to being shut out by photographers who were ahead of me, and then on the complete other side of things by offering my help to beginners and being put off because they want to just do it themselves. It’s a tricky industry, but this post hit home and is exactly the kind of attitude we need to push each other forward instead of bad mouthing our fellow photographer. Thank you for writing this!

    From Austin with Love,
    Charity

  86. Reply

    It’s really awesome that you’re opening doors like this to a better photo community. It’s already good and things like this just help to make it so much better!

  87. Reply

    […] About the author: Ben Sasso is a photographer and educator living in Los Angeles, California. Aside from taking pictures, he loves to be in nature (camping, climbing, running around), and has an unmanly love for cats. You can read more of his writing over on his website and keep up with him on Facebook and Instagram. This article originally appeared here. […]

  88. Reply

    Love this. There are too many artists out there who spend all their time either feeling jealous and intimidated, or attempting to take all their techniques to the grave (sometimes both). Our potential when we work together and communicate as a whole easily surpasses each of our potentials as individuals.

  89. Reply

    Awsome article, but i’am glad i answered a month old e-mail from new photographer before i’ve read it, that made me super awsome too. :)

  90. Reply

    Really great post! I totally agree on the need for community. As i am just starting out with my own business, i hesitate to reach out to other photographers Out of fearing that they’ll only see me as COMPETITION.

  91. Reply

    Love this Ben! I think we need to have more people like you sharing the love and ENCOURAGING photographers in the industry.

  92. Reply

    I am beyond ready to slap normal in the face!!!

  93. Reply

    Ben,

    I don’t know you. I am not a photographer, but my wife is. She showed me this post and I had to comment. This is totally spot on. I am a career and leadership coach for a living and I go to great lengths to teach people how to network and build relationships in a way that serves others and makes the world a better place. What you described totally nails what I have seen as desperately needed in the photography industry. Keep up the great work and keep encouraging people. YOU Rock.

  94. Reply

    […] a huge fan of photographer Ben Sasso’s work and overall approach. He recently wrote this Photographer’s Manifesto which gave me a lot of food for thought. A must read for fellow creatives in the industry! 6. These […]

  95. Reply

    there was so many quotable lines, but this one hit me ‘Everyone is inspired by completely different things so even with the same exact knowledge you won’t see duplicates, you will just see more forms of awesome.’ This was so so great to read!

  96. Reply

    I find this post very inspiring!!!, my partner is a photographer and made me read this, i’m a music artist and you have gave us both a massive self CONFIDENCE boost. thank you !

  97. Reply

    Hey Ben,

    what a inspiring post, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I am exactly that kind of beginner your are talking about. I finding my self at a point where i try to define my style and seeking for the way i want to go. But in the past month i got a pretty idea where i want to go. Actually i am writing on my master thesis and there is no time to pushing things forward. Also many of my old photos are on the internet. but in the next month there will be a change and new stuff will be coming up. So when there is anyone out there who is interested in someone new check out my Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/janfaulbruckphotography?ref=hl) and follow me. if there are enough multilingual followers there will be also post in english.
    BW
    Jan

  98. Reply

    I love this post so much. i cannot tell you how many times i have felt or experienced the jealousy, competition, and being discouraged. we all need reminders of this. we are all awesome in our own way and encouraging, sharing and connecting by learning or teaching only makes us stronger. thank you posting this and most of all thank you for always being open and sharing. you inspire me!

  99. Reply

    I love this idea, lets make it happen.

  100. Reply

    Im just starting out just beginning to learn how to use my camera and looking thRough the lense aT the World around me in a new way. I have You tubed, goOGled and Researched everything i can on photography ( quite overwhelming actuallY) and this is by far the most inspiring Of all, at 50 i thought maybe too late to learn now im absolutely pumped and going to jeep going. ThankyOu

  101. Reply

    Just perfect. I think at some point I have felt every single one of those things. It’s nice to know we aren’t alone. Thank you for this post!

  102. Reply

    Where were you when I started 15 years ago?I was so green in the new business and looked up to the senior shooters, hungry for a mentor or even a friend. While I recognize in the news industry there is inherent competition and a paying of dues, it was so hard and lonely and cruel at times. I work so hard to not be that way to every photographer I meet and couldn’t agree with your manifesto more. Bravo for being so brave and well spoken about such an important part of the industry and the art.

  103. Reply

    Hello, the manifesto is greatly inspyring, thanks for sharing your words. I felt so good reading your thoughs i decided to translate part of it for the spanish community. I have posted it in this page, with credits to you. Hope you dont mind. :-)
    http://fotografos-de-boda.net/articulos/manifesto

  104. Reply

    Wow! I loved and agreed to every word of that! Thank you so much for WRITING what needs to be said! may your career be blessed!

  105. Reply

    THANKS FOR SHARING THIS bEN! iT HAS REALLY MOVED ME!! hECK yEAH!

  106. Reply

    YES! I decided very early on not to waste my time worrying about the competition. because Ive taken this approach I’ve met some lovely local photographers who are technically my competition but actually now my friends. the support we offer each other is invaluable. Thanks ben! x

  107. Reply

    recently a photographer friend of mine shared this article with me. I’m not a photographer myslef, but a Makeup/Hair artist. I as well see this in our community as well. This was a great and encouraging read for any type of freelancer, artist and ANY daNG human :) Thank you for your amazing words of awesomeness! I will be sharing! Cheers!

  108. Reply

    Love it! Im going to share it with my kc mo photographer friends!
    Love your work!

  109. Reply

    Thank you so much for this great article. THERE SHOULD BE MORE PHOTOGS LIKE YOU AND i KNOW THERE ARE. i LOVE YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY AND YOUR STYLE. wHEN i GROWUP i WANNA BE JUST YOU! WELL, A RESEMBELANCE ANYWAY. LOL. AGAIN THANK YOU! YOU ROCK! AND NOW I AM READY TO BE AWESOME!

  110. Reply

    Let’s do it!

  111. Reply

    THANK YOU SO MUch for this post. I love learning from other photographers to better my own art. I just recently started shooting people other than my family and i feel discouraged because the images i produce are not what i envision. It is nice to hear i am not alone and thAt even amazing photographers like you feel this as well. I also love that you include all photographers. I feel like a lot if what i read online is negative toward part timers.

  112. Reply

    Awesome post! thank you

  113. Reply

    Thank you so much for sharing! <3

  114. Reply

    SUCH (italics/bold) an important manifesto!!
    I have recently begun to experience this side of the photography industry (through my newly found friend, Brianna caster photography!) and it’s crucial. Without her willingness to help/mentor/applaud/ask/teach/learn/and just praise my style I feel as though I was headed down the road of putting off my journey into freelance, yet again. Sadly, I’ve let my own fear and others negative & fearful thoughts affect me in the past.
    Comparing oneself to others (especially those grounded in competition) is the enemy! Learning to open up and give (in order to receive) is what makes us… not breaks us. Brianna shared this manifesto on her fb page and it not only reminded me of her, but it helped affirm that maybe… there’s more than 1 in a million people slapping “normal” in the face!
    YOU ROCK- plain and simple.
    And… thank you.
    Words do matter! YOUR words in particular :)
    … you may never know just how powerful this manifesto really is, but I thought I’d try and tell you anyway 

  115. Reply

    This is exactly what I needed to hear this morning. Thank you so much.

  116. Reply

    you are awesome! Beautiful work and beautiful heart!

  117. Reply

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this.
    I was just on a shoot recently and there were probably 7 other photographers in the same location and not one of them smiled back at me or said hello when I did. I felt all alone. I immediately went into some scary insecure place in my head and to be honest I don’t think my shoot was as good as it could have been as I spent the entire time second guessing myself. one of the photographers actually even walked with her clients right through my shoot between me and my subject. Instead of being angry I felt sad and alone. If you see another photographer, say Hello.

  118. Reply

    […] I admire, Ben Sasso, said in his photographers manifesto post (it’s amazing, read it here!) competition tears you down, but community builds you up! By helping to improve your business, we […]

  119. Reply

    Thank you for speaking out all the thoughts ive accuMulted over the past yEars. Feels so good hear it out loud and out in the open. Agree wth every word.

  120. Reply

    I agree whole heartily, you should always pass on knowledge…HECK YEAH!

  121. Reply

    Great post,very inspirational.

  122. Reply

    all of the memes. so funny with this post. good write up,Ben!

  123. Reply

    great Read, it was much needed and i think you are awesome for sharing that.

  124. Reply

    Gearing up to get weird!! LETS DO IT!

  125. Reply

    I’ve been fortunate the last couple years to be a part of some great Photography communities (project52pros.com, scwpb on flickr) but I have fought my own jealousy as well as senn friends distance themselves once they became photographers like I was stealing their oxygen. It’s always great to share the support and see it discussed by wonderful photographers such as yourself.

    P.S. Your brand thoughtfulness shines in everything you do, I sure do love your branding design!

  126. Reply

    Great post and I could not agree any more =)

  127. Reply

    I was so pleased to see this post in my News feed today. You perfectly expressed how I have been feeling lately. It’s time for us all to come together more.

  128. Reply

    Ben – I so appreciate your sentiment, and for the most part agree with it. unfortunately my experience with sharing has not been what yours has. I started out sharing everything and at best, it’s mostly been a waste of time, and at worst I got ripped off. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve spent time answering questions from other photographers without ever receiving a reply, much less a simple thank you. anyway, i’m happy there are people like you in the industry. I just wish there was more of them.

    • Thanks Kat! I see what you see too. Even though some people don’t reply back or send a note of thanks when I answer questions, I still know it helped them in some way. I’d rather be a positive and helpful example than anything else!

  129. Reply

    Thanks for Taking ouT the tIme and energy to write from your honest thoughts! I have felt the same, I’ve wanted the best for my photographer friends, but at the same time felt that bolt or stab Of envy and jealousy when they achieve something amazing. I think at These times, we’re just too focused on ourselves.and I agree With you 110% that we need Our focus to be on What this does to the community. Community not competition!!

    Thanks again!

  130. Reply

    100% Agree, yes, yes yes to every single word.

  131. Reply

    I love everything about this post. Thank you for your generous spirit! After 4 years of food photography/recipe development, I couldn’t agree more — especially that artists wading through dirty laundry quote :)

  132. Reply

    Great manifesto, i love it!!

  133. Reply

    AweSome post! I feel inspired and encouraged to Explore and create, also to motivate others!!

  134. Reply

    Ben, just getting familiar with your work and manifesto. Just want to echo all the positive comments and thank you for your voice. It’s basically everything I want to work toward in the coming years as a photographer and artist. Really inspiring stuff.

  135. Reply

    I wish there were more people like you in the industry. Fabulous post, which has given me loads to think about :)

  136. Reply

    This was such an uplifting, raw, and honest read. I’m so appreaciative to be in an industry with creative professionals who can open their hearts and souls to others, no matter what. I dream everyday about how great my work and business could be, and this was exactly what creatives like me needed to hear today. Thanks for your thoughts and inspired vision. Heck freakin’ yeah!

  137. Reply

    This is the best and the most hoNest And brilliant thing i have read in a while ! :) thankuou!

  138. Reply

    Great writing! I couldn’t agree more with you. I had my latest shoot published in a few blogs & although I was pleased with the shoot, it also made me really sad..why?
    Having had submissions declined in the past..i knew what style of work would be “ACCEPTED” in the trendy world of photography…light, airy, pastels….all the same of the same…how does this develop our creativity? IT doesn’t! want to win a photography award ( you know which one I mean! ) well, I know exactly what look, feel & amount of photoshop you’ll be needing for that! want to join a photography club?..well you better be very tech savvy..otherwise..not interested in you! I really get where you’re coming from and feel a great need that we all need to support each other’s creativity to help us develop & grow..otherwise..what’s the point?

  139. Reply

    […] and educating others is pretty incredible.  He shared a blog post last fall titled “The Photographer’s Manifesto“; in it […]

  140. Reply

    […] fall, Ben shared his thoughts on the photo community in a post called, “The Photographer’s Manifesto”. His words here encompass so much of what I hold to be true. And quite honestly, I don’t […]

  141. Reply

    […] experienced this myself a number of times. I still do! Ben Sasso wrote an incredible article, The Photographer’s Manifesto. This is one of the most incredible and inspiring article I’ve ever read. This is when I […]

  142. Reply

    Thank you thank you thank you!

  143. Reply

    Well said Ben! I remember getting hate male when I first started sharing. Thankfully things are getting better, but this kind of message will further the cause, and make the photography world an even better place to be. You rock!

  144. Reply

    thank you for this – it was inspiring and encouraging to me as a growing photographer. i hope to grow and learn and be able to pass my knowledge on one day as well.

  145. Reply

    Nice post,thx
    Cheers from France

  146. Reply

    Such good words that ring so true… Thank you for taking the time to put this together!

  147. Reply

    HERE’S HOPING THE RIGHT PEOPLE READ THIS INSPIRING AND MUCH-NEEDED POST!

  148. Reply

    Thanks so much for this! I had a blog reader send me this link because she thought I would love it! I am not a photographer but I have become one over time for my blog and I share everything with everyone because I learned just from reading tips on pinterest and asking a million questions!

    I just want to say thank you! and I think you are totally right. I was the discouraged kid with an iphone trying to take pictures for my blog – i wanted them to look like a magazine but the just looked like phone camera shots with tacky instagram filters ;) SO I did something about it and I got a camera. It’s a journey and we can learn sO much from each other!!!

  149. Reply

    I am a photographer based in Seoul, Korea.
    I’ve found your wedding photography online by chance. All of your photos are impressive and I am moved.
    May I get ‘photoshop acr preset, actions, and lightroom preset’ which you used?
    If so, it will be very helpful for me. Thank you in advance.

    • Thanks Lee! I don’t use presets other than one I created. You can find my entire editing workflow (presets included) in the Education section of my website.

  150. Reply

    “Sometimes I feel like being an artist is nothing more than wading through a pile of your own dirty laundry in the hope of finding a clean shirt.”

    Best quote of all time. THank you, Ben Sasso!

  151. Reply

    So beautifully said! You have been such a huge beacon of knowledge and light in the creative community. And I wanted to thank you!

    Thank you so much for sharing this — I am all about collaborating and sharing knowledge with others! We’re all in this together, after all.

  152. Reply

    Ben, You are awesome! Love seeing your blog posts, you make me so much more inspired!

  153. Reply

    one of the best and most inspiring articles I’ve read in quite some time!

    thank you!

  154. Reply

    Ben, this is so good. Thank you so much. I really needed to hear the discouragement section, as I’ve been feeling pretty down on my work. Yet, i’m pushing through the oodles of senior portraits to do my personal work over the summer and create something awesome. Totally shared on my timeline.

  155. Reply

    Thank you for this, it was a beautiful surprise! I’m deeply sure this is the only way to build a bright future, but is so difficult to find professionals who agree. I will share the message, I hope many people will read it.

  156. Reply

    Gosh I lapped this up, so fabulous to have a down to earth, from the heart, post. i appreciate the time you took to write this and for the inspiration and encouragement you’ve provided…!

  157. Reply

    […] is first traced back to our friend, Ben Sasso, who rocked the photography world when he published The Photographer’s Manifesto in 2014 that sent shock waves through the […]

  158. Reply

    Love your work, adore this, and freaking love love love your vibe + attitude!!! As a forMer educator turned pro photog, this makes my heart scream yes! Bravo + well said, ben!!!

  159. Reply

    What an amazing post! Thank you so much for that and for making me realise I’m not alone in thinking my work should be better (or even sucks!) after every single job! Bookmarking this post for future reference when I’m feeling low. Thank you.

  160. Reply

    LOVE this!! Very well written, I agree with it all :D

  161. Reply

    well, you are pretty much why i just lu-uuuuve photography. You are inspiring. Thanks for that.

  162. Reply

    Loved everything about this! How refreshing! You nailed it! thank you for the uplift and encouragement…I will remember this!

  163. Reply

    Thank you so much for sharing this post with us. This is just want i needed to read/hear… I love it! Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom with us.

  164. Reply

    your manifesto is wonderful! when i was this jealous, neurotic ball of worry and jealousy I was an “OKAY”, photographer. But, when i decided to talk to photographers and share my story/work/trials/listen to them/love my fellow artist I improved so much. I’m way happier as a artist that shares and encourages. Thank you for putting that good energy in the world.

  165. Reply

    YES ALL THE WAY !
    tHANK YOU BEN.
    EVERYTHING THAT WE DO, WORK OR PERSONAL WILL ALWAYS HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO BLESS SOMEONE OR NOT, WE CHOOSE, AND I CHOOSE TO BE AWESOME !

  166. Reply

    Absolutely bang on! I believe in the law of attraction and if we all had the attitude that its a good thing to help and build others up, the world would be a nicer place.

  167. Reply

    Thanks for the generous spirit and the encouraging words!

  168. Reply

    Wow, you made me feel so inspired, i Feel like taking my gear and going out to shoot right now (GoTta sleep first though). This is exactly how i feel and the more i look at Instagram the more i feel it cramps my style. I Am too occupied trying to be like the photographers i admire and Totally forget to follow my own style.

    Always love reading your tips and am so Glad that i stumbled across your page. You Are truly amazing-thanks a million and may all the goodness follow you Back!

  169. Reply

    I love you for writing this! Amen, amen, ditto that!! It’s a really tough, competitive market, it seems we are are straight pimpin’ ourselves out… ahem instagram, facebook, etc. i’m tired. HASHTAG that, i just want to shoot because i love it (oh, i have bills to pay!), learn from others, because there’s so much to learn. lastly, i crave community, BECAUSE sitting at my computer day in and day out is kinda lonely. We need community… and you’re actually doing something about that. bravo.

  170. Reply

    This. is. awesome. so uplifting, so positive, and so frickin real. thank you for sharing, and for encouraging it in others. Rising tides, man, rising tides. xx

  171. Reply

    Completely agree with each one of your words, Ben!!!

    We all must learn from this, and I think that a few parts from this manifesto will be printed in front of my computer to NEVEr forget it. WE are always learning.

  172. Reply

    Awesome, i love this part: Competition tears you down, community builds you up.

    We need to stay TOGETHER!

  173. Reply

    Love this! This is so important, and it is so easy to get discouraged! We need to remember what made us love this art in the first place!

  174. Reply

    I loved reading this. Really encouraging when so much of the industry seems to be going the other way.

  175. Reply

    You are seriously the bomb.com.

  176. Reply

    I loved this blog post so refreshing to read as a photographer.

  177. Reply

    ben, you make me sick at how awesome you are. I’e only known about you for a few days now but you’ve quickly become my new favorite photographer because of this post. thank you for the encouragement.

  178. Reply

    Thank you. I needed to hear this.

  179. Reply

    Heck yeah! I love it. very inspiring

  180. Reply

    Thank you ben! This aRticle was really what i needed!!

  181. Reply

    I come back to this post often and read it all the time! I love this Ben. Thanks so much for everything you teach and believe in!

  182. Reply

    Thank you so much for writing this! I can now just post a link in response to all of the bickering and bashing in the Facebook groups. I write THESE enormous comments about this every few days. now i have found something so much better!

  183. Reply

    Thank you for the courage and generosity it took to share these words. I look forward to the journey with you and my fellow storytellers

  184. Reply

    Dude, you are awesome. Just wanted to let you know. Thanks for everything youre doing to help out fellow artists. Keep doing wnat youre doing, you rock!

  185. Reply

    Wow. What can I say apart from – thank you. I was searching for inspiration, and I found it! New subscriber – yes please!

  186. Reply

    great post! Really insightful!

  187. Reply

    ALL THE FEELS, BEN! You hit the nail on the head. thank you for the epic post and encouragement!

  188. Reply

    beautiful words – totally agree

  189. Reply

    Thank you for taking the time to write this Ben. i can really relate to so many points you’ve made, and your post has come at the perfect time after a really hectic wedding season. Thanks again.

  190. Reply

    Love this article so much, it was really heart warming to read. I totally agree and believe when we lift each other up, we make the whole industry better, and we make ourselves better too.

  191. Reply

    what a great inspirational article – love it!!

  192. Reply

    Wow, thank you so much!! This is such a great inspiration and motivation!

  193. Reply

    brought me to tears. thank you for writing this – let the movement begin.

  194. Reply

    I’m so inspired (again and again) by you! this is exactly what i need: an honest statement everyone should contemplate about!
    i really am afraid to go further in photography industry, really i am! people around me are competing, find the critiques yet don’t give me a space to improve.
    in order to compensate, i try not to be harsh. praise and find the strength in everyone’s work. photography is art, and nobody understands the art except the artist. but it turns out that they thought i was only sugar coating attention seeker. i am not…

    it is such relieving that there are still several people like me! build the community together, and find a way to get through this as one! thank you, ben!

  195. Reply

    That is it.
    Don’t wait for the epic fairy to tap you on the shoulder. If you want to be epic go be epic theres nothing else to it!

  196. Reply

    You just became one of my real life hero’s!

  197. Reply

    Such a great approach! Thank you for your mission in helping the Photography COMMUNITY GROW!

  198. Reply

    Great article Ben! Love it! So refreshing to hear from someone with a similar outlook on life! I may even email you to pick your brains about working whilst on the road! :)

  199. Reply

    THIS IS THE BEST PHOTOGRAPHY PIECE I HAVE EVER READ. WHAT A GENEROUS, ENCOURAGING, MOTIVATED INDIVIDUAL YOU ARE. i’M THRILLED TO HAVE FOUND YOUR WEBSITE AND YOU!

  200. Reply

    That’s really nice of you, i really appreciate everything you’ve written. I myself a beginner in photography, but this is inspiring..

  201. Reply

    Just what I needed to hear/see/read today. Thanks for the uplifting message. =)

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