Quote Originally Posted by billschwab View Post
Not to be Mr. Contrary, but I have found the exact opposite. Whereas my commercial experience has helped a great deal with the business aspects of being a "fine art" photographer, my credentials meant nothing as was pointed out by Private Dealer. In fact I was told early on by one of the better-known dealers out there that I should hide the fact that I was a commercial photographer and not use it to try to impress galleries. One went so far as to tell me I could not do both and expect to get anywhere. I argued tooth and nail over this but here 20 years later, I cannot agree more. Brian brings up several of the greats that easily made the crossover, however that is not the usual case. Those names were huge and not simply your average editorial or ad shooter. In today's world commercial shooters are a dime a dozen and very often looked upon by the "art" world with disdain.

I don't use my background as ad/editorial photographer as a selling point for my work, I let my work do that. I do agree with Bill when he says that you can't do both and expect to succeed because they both require a huge commitment, this is why I closed my studio 4 years ago and only focus on my personal work.

I can't speak for others but my background as a commercial photographer has given me experience, technique and methodology far beyond just business skills. There is a professional attitude that comes with that background. When you shoot for art directors who also worked with Penn, Avedon, etc, photographers whom you may have also assisted in your youth, you do get instilled with a certain commitment to quality. Also working with top notch art directors, creative directors and graphic designers is also a great way to further your own knowledge of design, color theory and composition. Granted you don't have to have that kind of experience to do high quality work, but it sure helps.