So do you have your New Year’s resolutions list handy? Are you sticking to them – or have you broken them already?
For me 2010 is going to be all about focus. So as a way of passing my “focus” intentions along to you, here is a list of 7 New Years resolutions you should make a photographer – and keep the whole year through.
1. Become the best photographer possible.
How does your photography stand out from the competition? When people look at it, do they say “WOW”? If not, get practicing. Attend a class. Give yourself assignments. Find websites from 10 photographers online whose photography you admire. Use them as inspiration, and head out for practice sessions to see if you can shoot similarly. (Notice I’m not saying copy – use it as inspiration to develop your own style.)
2. Become better at technology.
Like it or not, technology is here to stay. And technology is going to be a strong part of what separates professionals from amateurs. Anyone can pick up a point-and-shoot and take a fairly decent image. That’s why so many photographers are struggling; if a client can’t see the difference between your work and theirs, why should they pay a high price? But if you use technology to make your photographs go from okay to WOW, they’re going to know you are a professional. And be willing to pay for it too. If you need to brush up your skills on Photoshop, I highly recommend Lynda.
3. I will get the gear I really need, and use it to its fullest potential.
What’s your favorite lens? What lens do you hate, and complain about every time you bring it out? Start by selling the lens that’s not suited to your photography, and investing in something more usable. Not sure what you need? Start by renting lenses to find the perfect one for you.
Once you have your gear, learn how to use it in every day situations. Get creative. Think outside the box. I’m always amazed at a great shot when you find it was taken with a small point-and-shoot, or now even an iPhone. It’s not always the camera – it’s the eye.
4. Always shoot RAW.
By reading the last 3 resolutions, this one should be a given without any explanation. If you’re going to photograph an image and use technology to enhance it, starting out with the RAW format will give you the biggest possibilities. Make sure you save your RAW images, and work with a copy. That way you can try many different things without risking the original file.
5. I will become a master at relationships.
Are you connected with other photographers? Do you share regularly ideas and strategies that can help all of your businesses grow? If not, get started today. One of the best ways to grow is to work together in collaboration with other photographers. There is only 24 hours in a day, and 365 days a year. Chances are you don’t want to work that entire time. Instead of turning away the business you can’t do, help out your friends, and keep all of your calendars filled. A strong recommendation will turn a client quicker than any other form of marketing.
Also work at establishing relationships online. If you’re a wedding photographer and you build a strong relationship with a coordinator in another city, you never know when she might hand you a great referral – and it will be the start of your destination business. But you have to build the relationship first. The business comes; it just takes time to nurture and grow.
6. I will share my photographs online.
If you’ve been one of those photographers afraid to put your work online because of copyright issues, change your thought pattern in 2010. Social media, blogs, and online marketing is here to stay. People find work because they are willing to share what they do, and aren’t afraid to have their work shared by others. Instead of being afraid of people “stealing” your work, how can you benefit from it and still make a nice profit? We’ll be exploring those ideas in 2010, so stay tuned.
7. I will treat my photography as a business.
Hoping and wishing will never turn your photography into a business. Planning and goal setting is the only way to see it through.
If you haven’t legally set up the business side, what’s holding you back? It’s a fairly easy process to start a photography business, and you can get help from a variety of sources, including your local Chamber or small business development center.
If business was slow in 2009, what are you going to do to change that in 2010? What new services can you offer? How can you reach out to clients in a new way? In order to get different results, you have to do things differently. So get started in a new direction, and put aside the things you found not to work last year.