Photography 101: The Monkey on Your Back

Enjoy Stephen Dennstedt’s thoughts on shooting photos commercially.

Expat Journal: Postcards from the Edge

Stephen F. Dennstedt

Shooting commercially is analogous to having a monkey on your back—but is it a friendly domesticated monkey or a wild savage monkey? My personal preference is to not shoot commercially because I like to be my own boss. However commercial work can be a great revenue stream for a photographer. When you’re on commercial assignment it can be stressful and it’s certainly not for everyone.

Historically I haven’t done a lot of commercial work (again it’s not a priority for me) but I did shoot for over a year with The Yucatan Times in Yucatan, Mexico and was the official photographer for the Kaxil Kiuic Biocultural Reserve and Puuc Jaguar Conservation. Four years ago I was approached by the New York Times for an assignment but had to decline because of travel conflicts.

Before I left Merida, Yucatan for a short return visit to San Diego…

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