Let’s face it. From the first moment we decide to pick up a camera, call ourselves a photographer, and try to make some money at what we do, we are constantly trying to find ways to stand out from the billion or so other photographers in our our who are trying to do that exact same thing.
As many of you may know if you follow me on social media, I teach workshops and give lecture on photography and retouching all over the United States. Through prepping each workshop, I sharpen my knowledge and become fluent in the material I’m teaching. However, without fail, I always learn a million new things when teaching each workshop.
How do you achieve long term success? Whether you want to grow a huge photography or video business, or just improve your skills, it would pay to look at the dramatic failures of others rather than just the “success stories”. Why? Because long term success is the result of resilience and determination in the face of constant failure and almost insurmountable odds, and if we understand - and embrace - this philosophy, we can overcome almost anything.
With a saturated market for photographers, there are so many pitfalls a photographer can plunge into that can prevent them from being successful. Taking a step back to analyzing yourself and your business can be the first step to improve and guarantee chances of success for the future. Here are a number of things to look out for, these things can be what is preventing you from reaching your potential.
Turning the work you do on a personal project into something that makes you money isn't a new idea (just ask stock shooters.) However, the forethought required to concept a personally fulfilling shoot or production that will also have the chance to generate some income can be tricky to figure out. This past weekend I had three shoots, and they were all because of one personal project I created a month ago. And I actually planned for this to happen.
Here’s a fun fact: Vance Creek Viaduct AKA #ThatNWBridge, is no longer accessible to the public, and it’s our fault. That’s right, one of the most iconic landmarks in the PNW is closed. The instagram sensation will have to live on in our memories and #throwbackthursday posts. Thankfully, the rumors of someone falling off being the principal of the closure are unfounded.
Quitting gets a bad rap. There is a certain stigma attached to the quitter as if they have somehow failed. We offer them compassion instead of congratulations. We imagine they are haunted by countless "what if's" and regrets. We muse that perhaps there were circumstances beyond their control. What if I told you that quitting can be the ultimate form of regaining direction and control in your life?
Wyatt Neumann took to Instagram to post photos he took of his daughter on a road trip. While she was clothed in some images, she was fully or partially nude in a number of them as well. But to Neumann, there was nothing unusual about a two-year-old girl without clothes. What he though was perfectly innocent, many called child pornography. The extreme hatred grew across the Internet, and overnight, his Instagram account was shut down.
For the longest time I viewed tethered capture as a nice-to-have reserved for high budget shoots and simply shyed away from it. I tried it a few times and after constantly being plagued with technical problems, I decided I'm better off sticking to my camera's LCD screen and didn't give it a second thought. Through my ignorance, little did I know how much I was actually losing out on and how much time I wasted in the process.
Our DSLRs have confused us. We obssess over the wrong things. Sharpness at 400%; bokeh characteristics of lenses produced from what-must-surely-be prancing magical unicorns; high speed burst frame rates that make cameras sound like gatling guns; 4k resolution to shoot better cat videos; 100 auto focus points that still won’t focus on what we need them to; and noise performance at 400,000 ISO. Absolutely none of these will make your photographs better. Shooting film will though, here's why.
There are few things I see photographers skimp on more frequently than a good camera strap. While the default manufacturer straps can certainly get the job done under most circumstances they're pretty limiting in terms of style and functionality and can serve as a un-needed advertisement for the gear you're packing. The guys over at Cecilia Gallery want to give you an alternative to the stock strap that provides a similar minimalistic design with high-quality materials and some cool little nuanced touches.
If you’re a professional photographer, being pulled in a million directions probably feels like a daily occurrence. There seems to be a never ending stream of tasks that we should be completing, some of which are paid, some of which aren’t. Our trade-off often involves balancing paid work - be it desirable or not - with unpaid tasks that we hope will provide business in the future. The question is, how do we know what’s going to be helpful and what’s going to turn out to be a waste of time?
The Samsung NX30 is a very affordable, DSLR-like mirrorless camera with a lot of features and a lot of promise. It's Samsung's number two camera in terms of "levels" (much like a 5D would be second to the 1D in Canon language) and is designed to appeal to an emerging photographer as well as the everyday user (like mom or pop), but is it be a camera worth considering for anyone semi-pro and above?
In addition to lifestyle, I have an affinity for shooting natural light portraits/beauty/headshots - whatever you want to call them. It's not something I shoot often, but when I do, I'm reminded of how much I love it. In fact, you may recall a few months ago, I wrote an article detailing my ideal natural light setup for the black and white portrait / headshot photos that I occasionally shoot. In the article,
When teaching workshops and talking to other photographers, I’m constantly asked how I market myself to gain more exposure and business. While there are no surefire ways to insure your success when it comes to marketing, I have found four really unconventional ways to better market myself.