this opens a can of worms about the 'intention' of that shoot. Is art then just a 'look' or is it more to do with purpose and aims at the time of shooting? Obviously we are all artists to some degree, but when and how does art with capital 'A' happen?
Intentions. That's a good word and it's our intentions that drive everything.
For commerce the goal is to be professional, for art the goal is to be unique and somewhere in the middle you can make a living.
Everyone makes decisions on how to move their career and their "art".
Usually it revolves around money. Unless your start with a lot of it, you develope your own style, sleep in your car and never budge an inch, then if the style happens to hit and your market is world wide you'll move up. The other way is to become an investment banker, practice your photography on the side then in the second phase of your life start with everything in place.
It's a funny business but talent and effort usually comes through, though with commercial work it is always very difficult to manage that line of the artist's vision and the client's vision.
Sometimes it can be done, but usually it's done in a one from them, one for me, type of scenario, whether it be per shot or per project.
Still, your not going to get hired for a campaign of models on a pink background jumping in the air, and then decide hey, I've decided to shoot everybody topless in grainy black and white.
You can do this, but don't expect to see a check at the end of the month, so you just constantly balance the art and the commerce.
I think the most important thing is to keep moving, literally and figuratively. I've never met a photographer that doesn't talk about moving to "another" city or country. I just think it's in our nature to want to be stimulated by new things and maybe the thought that the grass is greener on the other side.
I've now lived and worked about everywhere and I could write a book on the misconceptions photographers have about other cities, clients and photographers.
I've seen a lot of aspiring photographers ruin their careers by constantly comparing their work next to others, and this really takes you nowhere.
Sure it's important to be aware, but it's more important to just keep moving forward and moving forward always takes investment, risk and a lot of effort, oh yea, also to block out all the dis/mis information that you hear.
When we hire secondary crew in smaller markets, if you listen to them talk they are positive that if they lived in NY or LA they would earn double, when usually they are much more expensive than their contemparies in the larger markets. On one shoot we invited a 3rd assistant to dinner and when we received his invoice, he charged us overrtime for being with us with the explanation, "I thought that's the way it worked in New York City".
Now as funny as that was it's quite telling.
The hard part of moving your art and career is not shooting it, the hard part is deciding what to show and how to market it, or as you say your intentions.