There is only one way to be an exceptional photographer:
Find out what makes you exceptional, and use that to build your business.
The reason we have the great photographers of the world is because they have leveraged their unique talents in such a way that they “get known” for what they are great at.
If you jump in and try to be a general photographer, taking in whatever prospect calls in and offers you money, you’re not building your greatness.
If a business offers you money for a product shoot, and it’s to develop a catalog for car parts, it may be a lucrative venture. But if you love working with babies and new families, and car parts are the furthest thing away from how you picture spending your perfect day, you’re not building up your greatness.
Be Aware Of Today, Get Excited About The Future
If you’re just starting out, you may not know exactly what you want to do. And that’s okay.
When we started out, we were generalists. Then we moved into weddings. And then we added babies and families as our wedding couples started having families.
We started out as generalists because, well, that’s pretty much how everyone starts out.
But we became exceptional photographers when we narrowed down our interests, and really focused in on what we wanted to be good at, what we wanted to develop over time.
If you don’t know what your unique talent is yet, don’t get discouraged. In all reality, unique talents change, build and grow over time.
I know what worked in the past. We loved weddings, and all they had to offer. We loved capturing one of the most exciting days in a couple’s lives. So we made it the focus of our business.
And when I look at growing towards the future, I simply sit down, and ask myself a few questions.
What do I like most about what I’m doing now?
How can I help people in the future?
What do I want most out of my life over the next few years?
You can see by the questions I ask, I focus completely on what I most enjoy, and what talents I can use from that to share with others.
When you find where the two meet, you’ve found success.
Hopefully you can also tell how that changes year after year, depending on how you’ve changed.
And that’s the key. Time doesn’t stand still, and neither should you or your business.
Find Your Flow
Have you ever looked up at the clock and said, “Where has the time gone?” That’s how you know you are reaching your exceptional status.
When you can work for hours on end because its fun, thrilling, and you put your all into it, that’s when you’ve reached your peak. You flow from task to task not because it’s a JOB, but because you love doing it, no matter what.
You flow state changes over time.
I loved doing weddings – hours would fly by because I loved every moment of every day we spend with our clients.
Until it didn’t hold the same level of excitement. That’s when we made modifications.
There’s nothing good or bad about it. Its simply a natural change in your flow state, and how you perceive your perfect day.
If you don’t hold the same passion you once had, why not?
What can you do to change it?
Strategic Photography is about taking what you love, and building a blueprint around it to find a successful destination. This isn’t an easy process. In fact, many never achieve it.
Its easy to find what you love, and wish and dream you could do it forever. But taking it to the next level and actually finding a way to build it into your life is the great challenge.
Most photographers fail to gain traction because the owner simply isn’t congruent. If you don’t know who you want to be and how you’re going to get there, how will your clients know? How can you ask people to invest in your photography when you aren’t sure what they are truly investing in?
You must decide and plan for what you want from your clients, and from your business.
That’s the only way to become exceptional.
Exceptional photographers don’t achieve success by wishing for it, or having “luck” enter their lives. They become exceptional because that plan for it.
The more you discover your key talents, the more they define how your clients see you. It’s a creative process, one that changes all the time. Take some time to think and plan for it – you may be surprised where you end up. The answer isn’t always where you expected it to be.