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Get Out of Your Rut!

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By Skip Cohen

Here’s the scenario:  I was sitting at Arby’s at the Akron Canton Airport having a sandwich before my flight.  I was just livin’ the dream!   On the magazine stand was this month’s issue of “O”.  The cover story:  “28 Genius Ways to Get Unstuck and Make Your Dreams Come True.”  Well it got me thinking about a blog theme and the end result is  “24 Not So Genius Ways to Get Unstuck and Make Your Dreams About Photography Come True!”

1) Stop saying, if I only had that exotic lens, I could change the look of my images.  If you can’t afford it, then rent it!  Rental gear gives you a chance to try out virtually anything.  So if you honestly believe different gear will help you and cash flow is short, then rent that lens or camera body and give them a work out!

2) Practice, practice, practice! Work to get your images dead on, right out of the can.  The long hours in Photoshop cleaning up images because you took a short cut are killing your ability to market yourself, work with clients or simply practice your craft!

3) READ – READ – READ – from magazines to blogs to books – there’s a ton of information out there to help you through virtually every aspect of professional photography.    And don’t just read magazines about photography, but read the magazines your clients are reading.  Every wedding photographer should be reading at least one bridal magazine.  Every children’s photographer should have a copy of any one of the major family/parent magazines.  Commercial photographers should be looking through magazines fashion magazines, etc.

4) Do a press release!  The only one out there who’s going to watch out for you is YOU! So, let’s start with a press release about something you did recently.  Here’s a blog to read that will take you through the entire concept.

5) Do another press release!  You can’t do just one and then walk away and see what happens, because you have to develop a pattern, a stash of releases.  If you’re going to become a publicity machine, remember – publicity doesn’t happen by accident.   And your initial reaction is probably, what can I talk about?  Well did you buy any new gear recently?  How about a new state of the art printer?  Did you attend a workshop or conference?  Are you in the process of diversifying your specialty?

6) Attend a workshop – there’s no excuse for not attending workshops and conventions – they’re on line, in your own backyard, in every major market.  CreativeLive is FREE if you attend at the time the webinar is scheduled.  PDN’s first Virtual Trade Show with ten webinars just took place, but there are more coming throughout the year.

7) Be a stalker!  Okay, I’m using this in the purest of business sense, but there are so many people in this industry willing to help you…follow Scott Bourne, Dane Sanders, Bambi Cantrell, Tony Corbell, Kevin Kubota, Chase Jarvis, Art Wolfe and the list goes on and on and on!  Identify the icons whose specialty is closest to your interests and then bring them into your network.

8) Look at pictures…here’s the fun of photography – you really can just look at the pictures!  Look at the work of photographers you admire.  Look at images from photographers in other countries.  Pick up any consumer magazine and look at the pictures in the ads!  Our clients are influenced by the images and trends in their environment – TV, magazines and the newspaper are all influencers.

9) Look at MORE pictures…here’s where blackbook.com (www.blackbook.com) and workbook.com (www.workbook.com) come into play.  You should take one morning a week, for half an hour and just look at images.  Both sites specialize in images by commercial photographers.   Here’s your chance to be inspired and stay in touch with the trends going on in advertising.  I’m not suggesting you copy anybody’s work, but pay attention to the lighting, the exposures and the composition.  As a wedding photographer you might get a new idea on how to do a great shot of the wedding rings looking at jewelry photographers.  Children’s photographers might get ideas from commercial work of children and lifestyle photography.

10) Start your own blog!  A blog can help more people get to know you and your work, but if you only blog once a month or inconsistently it’s a waste of time!  You need to pick an interval and then stick with it.   One of my favorite ways to start has been photographers who start posting one new image every day.  It’s fun to watch, but I’ve also noticed their photography gets more and more interesting as they become more disciplined.

11) Design next year’s holiday card!  No photographer should ever send out a Hallmark card!  You’re photographers – be proud of your work and use your holiday card this year to show off a little bit.  And, on the back of the card make sure to put your name and contact information.

12) Photograph something completely different today in a way you’ve never photographed before!  Change the aperture, the exposure, play with the depth of field, shoot wide open with different focal lengths – whatever it takes to do something you’ve never tried before.  If you’re experimenting in the studio, then switch your lights around, change your camera angle – just make things different!

Okay there’s the first 12 – give me a few days and I’ll have at least 12 more!

There are reasons for being stuck in a rut, but there are NO excuses.  We’re an industry of people who tend to help each other and watch each other’s backs.  It’s okay to be down in the dumps trying to figure out the best way to jump start your career, but it’s not okay to be complacent!

And remember, you’ve got me and Scott Bourne here to help you snap out of it and get that career moving towards reality!

____
This post sponsored by WHCC – White House Custom Colour – Get Five Free 8×10 Prints From WHCC

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Written by scottbourne

May 26, 2010 at 7:19 am

Posted in Business

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