There’s a huge myth in this industry, and it’s time it was exposed.

This is a myth that we photographers have been feeding you for years, maybe since professional photography began. We’ve based entire businesses on it, we’ve based our professional organizations and award structures around it. We’ve created a system of merit — actually, several different systems of merit — built around this myth.

Problem is, it’s false. And its falsity strikes at the fundamental nature of the photography business. At the very name of “the photography business.”

We think it’s about photographs.

It’s not.

You can’t blame us. Photographers love photography. We love pretty pictures, and the things it takes to get those pictures. We love camera equipment and lighting and trying new things. We love catchy props and cool ideas. We love sofas in fields and beautiful golden light and fall leaves.

Those things are cool … but it’s not about that.

So what is it about?

One thing.

One thing our industry is about: relationships. Every wonderful photo is about relationships. I’ll even extend that to landscape photographers, or at least the great ones: Ansel Adams undeniably had an emotional relationship with Yosemite and the other landscapes he photographed.

As photographers we get fixated on cool products, on fun displays, on albums and wall art — and all those things are wonderful, but they are nothing without the relationship.

As it turns out, what is important to you, is the very thing that is most important to us … or should be. It’s love, connections, the light in someone’s eyes. It’s how you feel about your grandma, or your best friend, or your cat, or yourself.

It’s all in the relationships. Even with business photography: it’s the relationships with your clients, your team, your potential customer.

Which turns out to be one of my favorite things to think about and write about … and blog about.

A new year is coming and you should expect to see more about relationships: what makes them good, what makes them work, what makes them make our hearts sing. It’s something I’ve been thinking about: A LOT! I bet we all do.

This is no longer a photography blog; it’s a relationship blog. Because relationships are the only thing that can truly make a photo valuable to us.