photography gear on canvas table top

From journalism to photography – left brain, right


Nobody’s suggested to me that product photography and journalism are a strange combination. (Even though photojournalism might be a more obvious career sidestep.)

Nor has anyone asked if I have a photography degree. In fact, all the photographers I know started as amateurs while in an unrelated career; business, the army, engineering, teaching, etc.

Marketing moan

Instead, this post was prompted by someone complaining about journalists crossing over to marketing. They fumed that the two fields are separate. Marketers, they said, are creative people. True artists – plain and simple!

Whereas journalists are a bunch of left-brained, linear thinkers. They’re a more orderly bunch, happier with facts and figures.

But … surely journalists tend to be good with words, not numbers and stats?

Left brain, right brain

Both journalism and photography can be filed under careers that use the so-called ‘right brain’ and ‘left brain’.

Writing news and features isn’t as removed from fiction-writing as some would like to think. All good writing needs to be entertaining, clear and easy to read.

Modern journalism isn’t just sitting at a typewriter. Journalists write copy that they upload themselves; they take or source images themselves; create interactive graphics; record and edit video footage; and worry about SEO and social media.

A journalist is a storyteller striving to be competitive in today’s digital marketplace.

Photography is storytelling

Meanwhile product photography is a psychological and creative art. It’s about evoking the right emotions via images. People can’t smell, taste, or touch the product, but images can help.

And while our right brian is in charge of the style, mood, and composition, you need to switch on the other cerebral hemisphere when it comes to exposure, focusing and editing.

Starting the business

Ultimately, I’ve had to nurture both sides to get to a point where I’m confident enough to launch my freelance product photography service.

By embracing the interplay between our right and left brain, we tap into our full potential. It’s in this balance that our true capabilities shine.

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