- 2013 Photographer's Market: The Most Trusted Guide to Selling Your Photography
- How to Create Stunning D igital Photography
- Best Business Practices for Photographers
- The Fast Track Photographer Business Plan: Build a Successful Photography Venture from the Ground Up
- Group Portrait Photography Handbook
- 500 Poses for Photographing Women
- The Best of Family Portrait Photography: Professional Techniques and Images
- 500 Poses for Photographing Group Portraits
- Selling Your Photography: Ho w to Make Money in New and Traditional Markets
- Starting Your Career as a Freelance Photograp her
- Photographer's Survival Manual: A Legal Guide for Artists in the Digital Age
- Legal Handbook for Photographers: The Rights and Liab ilities of Making Images
- Taking Stock: Make money in microstock creating photos that sell
- Going Pro: How to Make the Leap from Aspiring to Professional Photographer
If it’s not clear to you by now, then you should know I’ve always been bitten (and deeply) by the entrepreneurial bug. My primary motivation for starting PhotographyTalk.com was to help more people become better photographers. Just like the most successful entrepreneurs, many of whom are my heroes, I combined my passion with my recognition of a need in the marketplace, and happily confronted the challenge with all my energy, knowledge and resources.
One of the qualities of the successful entrepreneur that I like to think I recognized early is that what you need to know and do to succeed changes constantly, sometimes daily. That’s why my radar is always sweeping the marketplace, other entrepreneurs and the world in general to find the books, products and other items that will take me one step farther forward on the road to success. It’s a never-ending task and one I take seriously.
I’ve recently discovered 10 of these “personal and professional growth tools,” if you like, that I want to share with you. Many of them relate specifically to succeeding at the profession of photography, or making money or a living with your camera. Others will help you with any goals in your life, including improving your photography success, although you don’t aspire to own and operate a photography business. All of them offer ideas and information that I truly believe will help anyone. The deeper takeaway, however, is that, like me, you should be scheduling a significant portion of your day seeking similarly unusual or slightly offbeat products or aids that can have a profound effect on your life and whatever you want to do with it. Life, as well as photography, is a journey of discovery, which means there is something new to learn or experience everyday…if you are moving forward!
1. The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy
This book truly grabbed my attention, as it challenged me, as it will challenge you, to recognize the importance of knowing in what direction your compass is pointed. It helps to clarify the effect and meaning of your actions, not just today, but also 2, 5 and 10+ years down the road. The author’s message should resonate with any photographer whether his or her goals are casual or professional. This book is a game changer and I highly recommend it as one that must be in your library. This book sheds new light on the concept of goal-setting and important principles that will shape your success in any career and your personal life. It focuses on the small, everyday routine decisions that we all make. During a 24-hour day, they might not seem like much, but when compounded during a longer period of time, they will either take us to our desired goals or to struggle and hardship. You may also want to purchase the audio version, so you can listen to it in your car, as I often do (Running the simplest errands in Southern California can take hours).
2. Green Vibrance
The label of this product calls it “A Comprehensive, Restorative, Advanced Daily Superfood + Vegan D3.” The label also states that it contains 25 billion probiotics. I don’t know what you think of these kinds of supplements, but I know it works for me. I think it’s worth a few bucks to determine if it has the same positive effect on you. Like me, I’m sure you are working long hours and in contact with many people...and their germs and viruses. Staying healthy allows us to spend more time with our cameras and provide support for our families (not necessarily in that order).
I’m a believer in this product and take it daily. It proved to make a big difference when I spent a week in Tennessee with people from Sony. The company flew me to the Hickory State during October to see its new A7r mirrorless camera. Five days prior to my departure, my wife took three days off work because she caught a bad cold. Now, I had been already taking daily servings of Green Vibrance, so I started to double my intake that week. Green Vibrance is a powder you mix in the appropriate beverage. It’s also available in capsule form. I had no intention of missing my trip to Tennessee with Sony, or arrive sick, and potentially spread my wife’s cold among my Sony hosts (That could have been awkward). With a bit of tongue-of-cheek humor, I’ve told many people that Green Vibrance is its own food group. The healthcare community and FDA may not recognize it as such, but it’s a great drink that will supercharge your immune system when you need it!
3. Writing a Daily Journal
Few entrepreneurs have had as profound an effect on me as Richard Branson. I like to think of him as the mentor I’ve never met, except through his books. He, as well as other entrepreneurs who have experienced similar success, take the time everyday to write in a journal. Not only will this exercise help to record daily decisions and events that could prove useful in the future (and you might otherwise forget), but also scientific research has shown that recording your daily thoughts and feelings is good for your health. It allows you to be in more control of your life, and can boost your happiness, self-esteem and productivity. Now, you can keep your journal on your computer or tablet, but many journal writers say the positive effect is even greater when you write with a pen or pencil (you remember them) in a nicely bound journal. You don’t have to write much, maybe a few hundred words, but you may be surprised how different you’ll feel after a few weeks of this daily exercise and what you wrote when you review old entries.
4. Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation by Sally Hogshead
Here’s another book that captivated me, which is the point of the book. The word, “fascinate,” is actually based on a Latin word that means “witchcraft,” which uses spells and magic potions to hold you spellbound. In the context of this book, the author uses the word to help a company make its products and/or services irresistible to its customers. Fascinate is certainly a word that applies to photography. As your skills improve, your images should prove to be more fascinating and alluring to those who view them. Understanding how to persuade and influence others through your images is a worthy goal as a photographer. When people are transfixed by your compositions, it’s a sure sign that you are succeeding.
5. Business Plan Software
If your goal is to succeed at professional photography, in any capacity, then reaching your goal will be much more difficult, if not impossible, without a business plan. Such a plan doesn’t need to be dozens of pages or address all the very precise specifics of what kind of business you want or how you would operate it. In fact, it would be a mistake to develop a business plan that is too rigid or one you think you must follow exactly. The best business plans include some flexibility or contingencies, so you can make adjustments as the marketplace and opportunities change. Successful entrepreneurs, and photographers, would tell you that their best-laid plans were abandoned in whole or part because of new opportunities they never contemplated in advance. Writing a business plan is even easier today because there are so many guides and software packages available.
6. Legal Handbook for Photographers: The Rights and Liabilities of Making Images by Bert P. Krages
In legal terms, what you produce as a photographer is intellectual property. Given the litigious society in which we live, your success could be derailed without any warning if you don’t understand your legal rights. This book receives 4.5 stars on Amazon’s 5-star scale, so you know it has helped many photographers and probably saved the bacon of quite a few. You protect yourself and your future success when you know the legalities of shooting on private property, copyrighted materials and children (to name a few) and how the national security laws apply to photographers. This should be one of the most important books in your library.
7. Marketing Your Photography
The greatest stumbling block for many photographers, who have dreams of succeeding as a pro or business owner, is not photography techniques or even legal issues, but marketing. With the addition of online, social media and mobile marketing to the mix of sales channels, successfully marketing yourself and your work may seem overwhelming. Like any subject, however, it starts with knowledge; and Amazon is filled with excellent books on general marketing of photography as well as using online and social media. I think it is safe to say that the new marketing channels fit photographers much better than traditional marketing tactics, such as newspapers, direct mail and broadcast. Most of these are too expensive, can’t be precisely directed at a specific audience and aren’t immediate enough for today’s online, socially conscious and mobile consumers.
Ambition, persistence and ceaseless motivation, whatever term you use, it is an essential ingredient of success...and it’s free! A few people seem to be born with it, but, for most of us, we need an outside influence to fire our passion and cause us to drive hard for our goals. Of course, the marketplace is overflowing with books, CD and DVD series, seminars, workshops, etc. providing motivational tools. Without a doubt, the #1 book is Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Lessons in Personal Change. It’s a good place to start because what you read and learn should motivate you to want to know more. It’s easy to become a “motivational junkie,” spending too much of your time filling yourself with drive and ambition, and not enough time applying what you’ve learned. Be selective, which is why it’s important to talk with accomplished, successful photographers and/or find a mentor to understand how they motivate themselves.
9. Bowers & Wilkins C5 In-Ear Headphone
Because of my busy schedule, I find it convenient to listen to podcasts and motivational and marketing content when I’m at the gym or even shooting. I found this Bowers & Wilkins C5 headset to be far superior to the typical ear buds. With most ear buds on the market you can’t move your head much or certainly exercise without them falling from your ears. The Bowers & Wilkins C5's are designed to remain secure (and they do!), regardless of what you are doing. I can’t say enough about this headphone’s amazing sound quality, which is especially important when listening to someone speak. Plus, the MFi cable is Apple-approved, so this headset works perfectly with your iPhone or iPod. The cable also has a remote control and microphone.
10. Microsoft Surface Pro 2
I’m firmly convinced that Microsoft has created a device quite different in the Surface Pro 2, and one that fits a photographer’s needs precisely. You’ll learn all the details about this new “tablet/computer” when you read the series of articles at PhotographyTalk.com. What sets the Surface Pro 2 apart from the typical laptop is that it is smaller and lighter, but with a screen that is almost the same size. More importantly, the Surface Pro 2 operates as both a tablet and a fully functioning computer when you add an optional keyboard. The big win-win for photographers when comparing it to an iPad Air is that the Surface Pro 2 runs Photoshop and Lightroom, which the iPad Air doesn’t. I think the Surface Pro 2 is definitely a success tool for photographers and offers all the specs you’ll ever need in a “field” or on-location computer.
I could have probably continued this list until it was book length, but success as a photographer doesn’t occur overnight, so I wanted to provide you with just 10 of the success tools that are often overlooked or I’ve found to be helpful to me. The great thing about success is that it’s always available to pursue and achieve, which is why learning how to succeed and applying success tools and aids must be a lifelong task; therefore, you best start today!