If you're a photographer with thin skin, I would advise against watching Jared Polin's brutally honest breakdown on why you'll "never make it as a photographer." But then again, if you're a photographer with thin skin, you're probably not going to make it as a photographer. Watch the video to hear Polin's five reasons why you won't succeed in the industry,, and continue reading for five of my own.
1. Your Head Isn't In It
If you really want to be a professional photographer, but you're not spending all of your free time investing in "making it," then do you really want to be a professional photographer? You can't talk about how much you want to make it in the industry, then spend all of your time watching Netflix, or reading irrelevant books or web articles. If you're not willing to put in the time and effort to research the industry, advance your knowledge of the craft, or make connections, then being a professional will never happen.
2. You're a Know-It-All
So you think you know it all? If someone even slightly hints at the fact that you don't know everything, you become extremely emotional and aggressive. Do you know how to run a business? Do you know how to manually blend exposures in Photoshop? Do you know the ins-and-outs of seeing in black and white? Do you know how to adequately market your work to your community? Do you know how to capture genuine candid emotions from you clients? I'll put money on the fact that you don't know everything. And if you think you do, you're wrong. Because you don't. Period. Don't worry, neither do I. And neither does Polin. The key to success in any industry is being and remaining humble, as well as being open to new ideas and criticism.
3. You Get Easily Discouraged
If you've ever had your website or photos critiqued, you know how brutal it can be. In a photography class, I've personally seen a peer cry after their final project was torn apart by the instructor. I personally have been discouraged, rather than inspired, after looking for hours at others' photographs, feeling light years behind. Like I said earlier, if you have thin skin, you're probably not going to make it as a photographer.
4. You're Impatient
You think success happens overnight, and that a professional career in photography is just going to poof out of thin air and slap you in the face. You're wrong. Being a professional creative takes time and patience. You have to put in the time to see success. You may wait days, months, or even a few years before seeing positive feedback toward your work and seeing money start to flow into your business.
5. You're Not a People Person
Part of being a professional in the industry means networking and getting your name into the world. Social media can only take you so far. Whether it be reaching out to companies for sponsorships, booking clients for your next photoshoot, or setting up an exhibit at your local gallery, you must master the art of effectively talking to other humans. If you can't communicate your ideas, or can't mesh with other professionals in the industry, you likely won't make it very far.
After I wiped tears from my eyes watching Polin's incredibly blunt video, I realized that's probably exactly what he wanted to happen. But rather than get discouraged, I got out of bed, put on some pants, and started researching useful Photoshop tools and started marketing my work to local businesses.
How will you react?
[via Jared Polin]