Creative Careers Are Converging

By Eileen Fritsch

The reason this blog covers four creative professions is because it’s no longer enough to simply be a writer, photographer, designer or artist. Creative pros today must have at least some proficiency in some overlapping disciplines. It’s important that we understand what resources exist for updating and expanding some of these complementary skills.

Let me explain how I saw this convergence of creative professions come about.

When I started editing digital-printing trade magazines in the mid-1990s, our publishing company routinely hired freelance photographers, illustrators, writers, and graphic designers. Working on these collaborative teams of creative professionals was stimulating and exciting. The ideas and energy flowed.

Still, we each had a distinct role to play in the tightly scripted workflow that dictated our deadlines. Our workloads were fairly consistent and predictable from one issue to the next.

Changes started to occur in the early 2000s when the advertisers in our trade publications started redirecting some of their marketing funds toward website development and online media. As our magazine production budgets tightened up, everyone on the staff was asked to do more with less support from outsiders. So we started using more stock photography and free articles from consultants and PR agencies. Thus, the freelance writers and photographers we previously hired had to look elsewhere for assignments.

Some freelancers coped by diversifying their range of services and developing new skills.  For example, one of my most talented freelance writers taught himself HTML, Flash, Dreamweaver, and other software programs and started offering website development services.

Over the past 15 years, most creative professionals have faced similar challenges and recognized the need to cultivate a wider range of production and self-promotion skills.

Some of the most in-demand creative pros I have met have learned how to blog and write news releases, shoot and edit photographs, create slideshows and videos, present seminars, and design books, posters, and other materials. They are constantly learning, networking, and refining their services to adapt to the changing demands of the marketplace.

What I admire most about these successful pros is that they never lose sight of what really matters. Despite all the time and effort required to continually network and market themselves, the most in-demand creative pros steadfastly refuse to allow the quality of their art to slip. As much as they enjoy learning new skills, ultimately, they understand that their art is a core part of who they are, and is what will distinguish them in the marketplace.