If there is one thing that years and years of practicing photography helps us understand, it is ourselves and the wider industry we work in. Of course, along the way there are a multitude of technical facets that we learn to craft, but the holistic observations are far more pertinent to the success of our business and our career. These are some of the important lessons about photography.
Real World Experience Makes All the Difference
Although there is some merit in taking a course and studying photography, nothing quite compares with the reality of the job. There are endless variances in what you learn in a class room compared with being out amongst the elements, not to mention, schools don’t quite prepare you for the business side of things and dealing with clients.
Love What You Do
It might sound cliché but if your heart isn’t in it, then you should probably consider something else. There are going to be countless times where you will work late, or be required to skip meals. So, if the motivation isn’t there from a passion perspective, step out and save yourself the time. This includes certain segments of photography too – find the one that matters to you and gets your creative juices flowing.
The Industry Will Not Sit Idly by for You
Photography is one of the most competitive industries around. Not only do you have a range of highly skilled professionals competing against one another for work, you then have general enthusiasts and DIY hobbyists who believe they are of equal standing. Combine this with general apathy from clients who fail to distinguish the photographer from their camera, and it’s critical that photographers have a thick skin and are able to keep up with the industry’s demands and create a unique offer.
Patience is Essential
Whether it’s the patience to land that perfect shot, the patience in dealing with a difficult client, the patience to make it through a long work day, the patience to build up a portfolio, or the patience to make it in the industry – you must maintain perspective and composure on your journey within the industry. Things don’t and won’t happen overnight. They will take time and you need the tenacity to keep going when the challenges smack you in the face. Stay calm, maintain an open perspective, set realistic goals and build your business one step at a time.
Draw Inspiration from Industry Leaders
Sure, everyone wants to create their own vision and execute it accordingly, but there is still considerable value in recognising, appreciating and learning from the work of respected peers in the industry. At the same time, seeking feedback is another approach that should be utilised at every possible opportunity. What’s more, it doesn’t hurt to actively seek this out, rather than wait to receive it.
Always Prepare for the Unexpected
From time to time, things will inevitably go against you. Therefore, it’s important you are versatile enough to respond and adjust to the circumstances. Plan for the best, but ensure you are prepared for what might not work out. Even though perfection might not always be possible, it shouldn’t stop you from striving to reach it.