(This post was originally featured here on Rock the Shot. The response to my inbox was so overwhelming, so enjoy the read if you missed it!)
Fight to the Death! Only One will be Victor! May the Odds be Ever in Your Favor.
Such a TRAGIC, FICTIONAL STORY, right?
Maybe not so fictional in the Photography world. Any of these phrases sound familiar?
That client is MINE! Every man for himself, no I will not network! Are “the Odds” in my favor to be successful?
My dear friends, what if I could provide 3 tips that would ensure that the Odds would FOREVER in Your Favor?
#1: Find Water First.
New photographers, I love you. I cringe at the pressures you feel. The business world you are jumping into is vastly different than the one I jumped into. I am sorry. :( I have noticed a tough trend in how the photographers I mentor feel.
The minute they decide to go “real-deal” in the industry they feel pressured to have the following: Logo, website, Facebook business page, custom Facebook tabs, free download, promo video, mailing list, monthly newsletters, boutique packaging, 1,011 photoshop actions, customized gift cards, stationary, fancy camera bag, and-the-list-goes-on-and-on.
I plead with you, friend. Listen to the surprisingly brilliant, Haymitch. Find Water First. Discover the most crucial survival tool in the arena…
Water = YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY SKILLS
You may have a stellar website design, a rockin’ logo, a fancy $500 bag, and even a perfectly make-you-cry promo video, BUT – how are your images? Your ability to capture amazing photos in any kind of light, at any time of day at any location on a consistent basis is KEY to your survival in the arena.
YOU CANNOT AVOID the need for water.
It will eventually catch up to you.
Before your spend your time and hard-earned money into the outer-needs (most of these needs should be categorized as WANTS) of your business, spend your energy “Finding Water” by refining your photography skills. Don’t you feel so Katniss right now?
Need recommendations for truly nourishing photography workshops? Email me and let’s see what workshops would most benefit where YOU are at.
The lovely Kate learning to Master Light in my most recent Light Workshop. Yes, we were shooting at 1PM. She rocked it.
#2: Under-promise and Over-deliver:
From District 12? Feeling a little underprivileged? Underdog? Awesome! My heart breaks every time I think of Peeta saying “My mother said, ‘It looks like District 12 may finally have a winner.’ But she wasn’t talking about me. She was talking about you.” Moment of silence for that SAD thought, people! One of the most satisfying parts of the entire series is the “unlikely victory” of Peeta and Katniss.
There is nothing magical, jaw-dropping, or special about the Careers winning the games year after year.
So…add some SPARKLE to what YOU have to offer in the arena.
Tell your clients they should expect their photographers in 3 weeks, and deliver in 10 days. Remind your clients to expect 25 images after the session, and bring 30 because you JUST COULDN’T let them miss those extra 5. Did they order that darling accordion book for Grandma and Grandpa? Fabulous. Include 2 accordion books when you deliver, just in case they need an extra Christmas idea. They will be your greatest fans, supporters, and in many ways…sponsors. :) The arena can be such a happy place.
#3: Build an Alliance & Remain Loyal. Always.
Meet my mentor, the lovely Brooke Snow.
Find a buddy/buddies through your journey. Husbands, dogs, roommates, and your sweet momma don’t count. Find a buddy that is in the arena too (a photographer.in case you missed the symbolism!). Set up a private facebook group where you can bounce ideas back and forth on, chat on Skype once a week to stay accountable to each other, and sincerely invest in each others survival & success.
Unlike the typical “Games” there can be more than 1 winner, in fact – everyone can win.
Contrary to popular belief, there are plenty of clients. Enough clients to keep us all booked, successful, and friendly. Remember, there is no amount of money, fame, or opportunity that will ever be worth losing your Alliance in the arena. Share in successes! Laugh through failures together, and most importantly – remain Loyal. The time will come when an opportunity to get ahead will present itself (maybe your Alliance’s old client has now showed interest in you…what are you going to do?)… Remain loyal. Always.
Who would have thought the Hunger Games held such wisdom for us Photogs? Take the mystery, fear, and desperation out of the entire process as you Find Water First. Under-promise and Over-deliver, and Remain Loyal to your Alliances.
It’s a beautiful work we are a part of.