4 Pieces of Advice to Stand out in the Photography World
This task seems daunting, doesn’t it? This age-old topic, that applies to so many facets of business and industries, is also the most coveted.
That’s what everyone is searching for! For us photographers, we try to have a different color palette, we try different angles, we try to do brand new things, all this to try and set ourselves apart in the sea of photographers, whether amateur, semi-professional or professional.
And here’s the even more challenging part – More often than not, the people you’re comparing yourselves to and competing with, are more than likely just as technically proficient as you are! Resulting in the fact that you can’t just be GOOD. Taking a good photo isn’t enough anymore.
So now what? Here’s a few things that we’ve learnt, building and running a business that has done well, and is still growing:
1. Ignore the Crowd.
The first step to make it through this struggle that plagues us, is to IGNORE that sea of photographers floating around you. This is much easier said than done, but it’s a necessary step to preserving your sanity and growing as an artist.
Growing as an artist is one of the key factors to setting yourself apart. And to grow as an artist, you have to ignore whatever is going on around you and let your own voice shape and mould your work.
So ignore them! If there’s a competitor on your newsfeed that just makes you think that your work is crap and their’s is so good, then unfollow that person. Stop looking at their instagram feed. It’s not worth it, the stress and the hit to the self esteem. Especially because, it’s most likely untrue that their work is better than yours, and that yours is crap.
Ben Sasso, one of the photographers I truly admire in this business, wrote a Photographer’s Manifesto, you can read it here, http://bensasso.com/blog/photographers-manifesto/, and he flat out said, YES. You’ll feel jealous of other photographers, their seemingly perfect lives and their wild crazy adventures to far off places, which you never seem to have. This is such a true statement, because the grass is always greener!
But if you let that jealousy consume your thoughts and you’ll never be able to get past these feelings and start to grow!
2. Tough Love, But not too much!
Be your own worst critic, but don’t tear yourself down. Daniel and I are never happy with our work. We always pick out the things we could have done better, we talk about how we could have improved the way we did things. We are never just happy with what we’ve done and I think that absolutely pushes us to be better. We want to know more, we want to learn new techniques, which brings me to the next point!
3. Hone your craft – Evolve & Learn
Photography is an art form and a craft that has so much depth, more than it is being touted to have in this day and age of readily available equipment and knowledge. The key thing to remember is don’t ever stop learning. Even though we both went to the same photography school and are both really well trained since it was such a great program, we aren’t in any way the best or anything close. We know we don’t know all there is to know about photography. We know that we still have to learn and brush up our skills. Now, that doesn’t mean sign up for every workshop possible, because Lord knows, there’s SO many out there! You don’t have to break your bank to improve!
– Identify your weak points, and work your way down your list. creativelive.com is great, books are a wonderful resource, as is youtube and even blog posts by other photographers!
– Then apply what you’ve learned! If you learnt different techniques on how to master that perfect Sparkler exit shot through your research and learning, grab a group of friends and try it out!
– Find time to do personal projects and try a myriad of different things. Doing personal work also inspires and reinvigorates, because you’re not doing anything for anyone, but yourself. This is pivotal especially if you feel like you’ve been in a slump!
Whatever you may learn through your ongoing journey of education and how you choose to apply this knowledge will most definitely set you apart.
4. Form Relationships
Last, but far from the least, form true, authentic and genuine relationships with your clients and your industry peers. Because you want your clients to inspire you and you want your industry peers to inspire you.
The best reviews I have ever gotten is reviews from clients that essentially became friends and much more than clients. That’s because they know I care about them in a true and genuine way. They may not be friends that I can call to go shopping with, just because that kind of friendship takes time and cultivation, but i KNOW that if i was put in that situation that I was going to go shopping with them and it will be just fine, because we know each other on a level that is beyond a transaction. Your customer experience doesn’t have to be a gorgeous package with stellar packaging. Don’t forget that people remember most about how they FEEL about anything they encounter, rather than what they saw or what they received. (I thank Hey, Sweet Pea for that wonderful and beautiful piece of advice) 🙂 So create a stellar customer experience with truth and authenticity and you’ll stand out easily!
For industry peers, it’s important because everyone has so many different experiences, situations and ideas, bouncing all this energy off one another, you’ll discover more in your industry!