If you’re trying to make a career as a photographer, you know that the road to success is not straight. There can be many photographers more successful than you, and comparing yourself to them can sometimes make you feel frustrated. Don Giannatti shares seven common assumptions we make about professional photographers, but also about our own work. These assumptions can make us see ourselves as we’re not good enough. Because of this, Giannatti explains why we should stop assuming and change our mindset, so we can achieve success of our own.
1. Professional photographers are more creative that we are
According to Giannatti, we assume that “highly successful, professional photographers are more creative than we are.” The truth is, of course, somewhere in between. Some are more creative, but some actually aren’t. As Giannatti says, you can be very creative, but not too engaged in marketing your business and promoting your work. It’s not the lack of creativity but the lack of networking that can make you less successful. On the other hand, a moderately creative photographer who is active and who markets their business can achieve more success than you. So, in addition to your creativity, talent, and hard work – make sure to promote yourself, too.
2. Professional photographers are gearheads
Again, some pros are gearheads, and some aren’t. Sometimes you are a gearhead because your profession calls for it. But there are many professional photographers who are minimal about their gear and only buy what they really need. On the other hand, some people take up photography merely as a hobby but really enjoy buying gear and gadgets (and talking about it, too).
3. Professional photographers are “chosen”
If you look up to popular and highly successful photographers, you may feel as if they are chosen, special, and lucky. Like they’ve got something “magical” that you don’t. But the truth is: there’s a lot of work behind every success. They weren’t “chosen;” they chose themselves and then worked their butts off.
4. “No” means “you suck”
Giannatti says that many of us assume that “no” means we suck. In other words, if we show someone our work or offer photographic services, and they reject it, in our minds they think we suck. However, it’s not necessarily the case. Although it can be hard on the ego, “no” often simply means your work isn’t suitable for a certain purpose. It doesn’t mean it’s bad. You didn’t get this job, but you’ll get the next one.
5. We assume that everyone knows what we do
You may think people know what they do if you’re friends (or at least Facebook friends). But you would be surprised that sometimes they actually don’t. Giannatti shares an example: a friend told him he needed to hire a photographer. Then he said: “You know a lot about cameras, do you happen to know anyone who shoots professionally?” It’s a funny situation, but things like this can happen. Giannatti explains that it’s important to be on top of someone’s mind when they need to hire a photographer. This is why you need to be “out there,” promote your business and offer your services if you want to get gigs.
6. We assume there must be a secret to success
Just like you may feel highly successful photographers must be “chosen,” you may feel that there’s some kind of a secret to their success. The truth is that there’s no secret. There’s just a lot of hard work.
7. There must be a “roadmap” to success
People assume there’s a pathway, some “formula” that will guarantee us success. Giannatti explains you can attend tons of workshops in marketing, but there’s never a guarantee of success. But, there is something you can bet on: hard work and making an effort is the only “roadmap” to success. If you don’t work, you won’t build the portfolio or get the gigs.
I must admit I can relate to the fourth assumption. I used to think I suck if I get rejected (not only in photography). Now I’m over it, fortunately, but it’s still a bit hard on the ego sometimes. Have you ever had any of these assumptions about professional photographers or about your own work?