Photo by Paul Bergmeir
Once again, we find ourselves in the position of reading advice for photographers on how to get into the business that leaves the MEAT of the matter out and glosses over some of the most important steps.
Yeah, practice a ton! But BEFORE you start accepting money, BE LEGAL…seriously. It’s incomprehensible to us that purported industry “rockstars” have the cajones to come out with advice that will inevitably lead to failure.
A platform to help is a wonderful thing. Profiting from that platform; well, we can’t blame anyone for seizing a business opportunity. But contributing to the failure of others with incomplete and in some cases, plain BAD advice, is disingenuous at best, and plain awful at worst.
We took a stab at it and we like what was included in our guide…We didn’t gloss over the less glamourous aspects. Read the ShutterCliq guide here!
The reason all these people listen to the “Industry Rockstars” is that they (usually) have consistently turned out above average work, that has gained them notoriety amongst their peers. And now have a platform from which to speak. But even more consistent than their work, is their ability to seemingly make some of the most BASIC precepts of running a business seem completely invisible. We’re not saying that all of the speakers on the touring circuit are bad…there are some amazing photographers out there who are more than willing to share a TON of their knowledge and help you get better at your craft. Usually what you find with those same people, is that they will avoid the sugar coated bubble gum attitude around the industry, and give you the meat of creating better images, without trying to sell you anything.
One of the best things I’ve heard from any speaker ever was from a New York Photographer who said: “My clients don’t know that I do workshops, and speaking engagements, and frankly, I don’t think they’d give a shit if they did. They want their product, and they want it at a fair market rate. I can’t charge clients any more because a bunch of photographers like my work and want to learn from me. And when I leave the studio to go teach, I’m not shooting.”
Basically, I thought his session fee would be DOUBLE what mine was because of his reputation in the industry, when in truth, we were charging the same amount. Goes to show, a reputation in the industry will only take you so far.
You can’t be a successful photographer, without being a great businessperson first. So here’s a news flash for you. A lot of these “rockstars” are looking to make a buck off of YOU! If they tell you its a struggle to get into the industry, and that you HAVE to pay taxes, have a legal business and do the LAWFUL things involved in running a business (bookkeeping, taxes etc.), chances are you’re not going to want to buy what they are selling…which in most cases, is themselves or maybe an overpriced light/set of actions/system etc.
But by bringing newbies into the industry with promises of easy money, work your own hours, post some stuff on Facebook and you’re on your way, is awful. Fact is, it takes years of practice, incredible business acumen, hard work, and a PILE of failure to finally “make it”. And even when you’ve made it, the principles of success don’t change. Work your butt off, practice all the time, keep learning and never stop trying.