Making a career out of photography requires so much more than your talent: interpersonal and business skills, constant learning, and time management skills, to name just a few. In this video from The Art of Photography, Ted Forbes discusses three things that I think are in common for everyone who wants to be commercially successful or recognized as a photographer. Regardless of the skills, knowledge and the talent you own, these are three things you should (and shouldn’t) do if you want to succeed.
When we start learning something, many of us want to become good at it as soon as possible. And more often than not, not seeing the results soon makes us give it all up. It’s just frustrating when you don’t see the effort pay off immediately. In this fantastic, inspirational video, Sean Tucker talks about time: why you need it to master photography (or anything else). And if you’re currently not where you thought you’d be with your work, make sure to watch this.
Estimating, along with cold-calling, is probably one of my most difficult tasks as a photographic businessperson. There are so many variables that can potentially come into play that it can be downright maddening. Add to that the fact that sometimes clients feel an estimate is a bit more fluid than is reality, and it can become a nightmare trying to juggle client expectations with the original budget while not undercutting yourself or upsetting them by having to change it.
The best way to eliminate a lot of that hassle is by thoroughly feeling out what the client’s needs, expectations, and usage of the final product will be. Photographer and mentor J.P. Morgan of The Slanted Lens gives us some pointers on gathering the information that we need.
Making money as a creative can be is a tough grind.
As an established photographer once told me when I was just starting out: “My job is everyone’s hobby.”
Essentially, what he was saying was that everyone wants to be a famous photographer, musician or actor, but so few have that special combination of talent, personality and luck to actually make it happen.
The reality is that ridiculously talented creatives are a dime a dozen (literally in many cases…), but those who are able to translate talent into commercial success are a very rare breed.
With that in mind, I am going to look at an example from the musical side of artistic talent that I personally find inspiring because of the way these creatives have leveraged their considerable artistic talent into the kind of commercial success that we all aspire to.