Is there a secret to be a successful individual? Well, judging by the number of motivational books one can find in the book stores, there are definitely a few things to be learned. So what is the number one rule of success for a photographer? Let’s see.
Always have your camera ready
I guess it happened to all of us at some point that we showed up somewhere, and just wished that we had our camera with us, but it isn’t. So make it a rule to always have it with you, have your battery charged and your memory card inside. Yeah, we all do have these amazing phones in our pockets these days, but what distinguishes you and that other guy next to you, that you will have a camera, therefore you are now The Photographer.
Put In Some Effort
Just sharing your photos on instagram is unlikely to get you anywhere these days, sad but true. However, if you enjoy shooting certain things, compile those in a collection, publish them somewhere (in a blog, social media or even as a video on YouTube), and send them over to people whose opinion you care about. Send them to the clients you worked with previously, and tell them you could shoot something similar to them if they find it interesting. Success doesn’t come to those who sit in their living room with their arms crossed, waiting for likes on social media. Be proactive about your passion. Yeah, it can happen that someone will come around your work and offer to exhibit it, or buy a print, or hire you for a shoot, but judging from experience, you have to be a salesperson for your own skills and abilities like with anything in this life. If you don’t market yourself, someone else will do and they will get the job you were hoping for, just because you didn’t ask. What’s the worst thing that is going to happen? They will ignore you, but if you didn’t ask and didn’t share, the results are the same. Don’t take rejection personally and even if you get a NO, remember, no matter how badly you want something to be, if it didn’t happen, there might be something better waiting for you out there. Just put in more effort and the results will follow.
Don’t Half-ass the Work
Let’s assume you’re an inspiring photographer and you’re looking for someone to trust you enough with their project so that you can finally build some portfolio to put you out there, and then your cousin//auntie//neighbour//school-teacher says: “hey, I’ve got this hand-made jewelry//pottery project//I artistically decorate tables with the chewing gum//whatever, can you take photos of that?” and you think to yourself, Oh God, I was hoping for some fancy-shmansy brand, not you asking me to do this questionable-quality products documentation… Think again! You never know, maybe your buddy is going to become the next big thing on the market, like Huda Beauty. I remember the days she was working with us at Savoir Flair, writing articles and my colleagues not appreciating her efforts decided that we’d be better without her. And where is she now? Her products sell all over the world and her instagram is in top 50 most followed. Huh? So yeah, if you can’t get yourself motivated to shoot your cousin’s jewelry properly, just imagine you were shooting for Dior, and how much effort you’d put if it was true. Then add 10% more. Between you and success lies that thin line that you have to cross in order to stand out. The same with exercising, every time you think you can’t do one more push up or abs crunch, you gotta finish another five. Six pack doesn’t come to those sitting in their living room with their arms crossed, I am telling you.
Have a Positive Mentality
It is so easy to blame others on your failures, but instead you gotta try to always find solutions. I used to work in the tendering department when I was living in Moscow, and how many times at 5 pm someone will show up and say: “Oh, there is a bidding ceremony tomorrow there and there, do you think you could compile a tender until the end of the day?” It does take quite a bit of time to prepare a proper tender with the engineering solutions, pricing and technical descriptions, plus you gotta multiply the copies by 3, sometimes by 5, and bind it, and pack it and deliver it on time, so the first thing that comes to your head in the light of this question is Nooooot Gonna Happen. But between impossible and done lies work done overtime, and the willingness to try. Your negative mind will always tell you khalli walli, why should I even bother trying to do long exposures today when it is so dusty? Why don’t I cancel the workshop in the desert, the weather is kinda too windy. Well, why don’t you go and see how you can overcome these challenges? Yes, it can still turn out to be a total crap show, but at least you’ll have a story to tell people in the end. Did I know it’s gonna rain on the New Years night? Kinda yes, still I went to camp in the desert, and man was it a night that I would never forget.
If you have people who are trying to bring you down at the project you are working on, there is always an option to exercise your sabr, kindness and tolerance, or sarcasm otherwise. Be the person with 100 solutions, not a person with 100 complaints. How good does it feel to say at the end of the day, that despite all we made it happen, and we did put the truck on the Meydan Bridge, and I did edit 50 photos overnight for an exhibition in Dubai mall.
Stay True TO Yourself
Media Agencies and clients always think that they know better how they want it done, and they will come with their briefs and inspiration images, and you will most probably have to shoot it the way they see, just to avoid conflicts, but be relentless about sneaking an opportunity to propose your own ideas and visions, because you are the creative tool out there in the end. Copying someone else’s work for each project will never get your name out there. Even if your ideas are tacky and don’t look so appealing, it is kinda cool when people see your images and know right away who took them. Wide angles on people’s portraits with legs as leading lines? Why not? Not pointing fingers at anyone here, haha. You want to try to shoot with gels? You have time for it? Do it. Same goes for rejecting projects that you know will leave you dead inside. Don’t want to shoot influencers portraits with Marina skyscrapers in the background? Just pass it to the friend who does. But you never know, maybe the influencer will actually turn out to be cool, and recommend you to 40 other people which will pay your next trip to wherever you want… consider selling your soul for a piece of financial freedom, lol, but stay true to yourself.
Don’t know if you found any of this useful, but perhaps somebody did.
Stay strong and live with passion.
2 thoughts on “You Want To Be A Successful Photograper? Here is 5 Tips to Keep in Mind.”
Hey Anna , I first of all appreciate the contents you put as a photographer life and his enthusiasm, passion , feeling all the way you brought perfectly here. It’s lot of motivational tips and something it’s not coming when until we worked out ! Yes we need to step out and do creative and always passionate to bring the story. Love it
Instagram account: naikmiran
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well you have to take your 10 000 bad pictures until you start seeing how to take a good one, but the more you enjoy the process and the more you invest yourself into learning how to do it, the better photographer you’ll be. thanks for stopping by, appreciate it.