Things I Learned in 2016
If I'm not learning then I'm not getting better. Here are 12 things that I learned, relearned, improved, or just simply realized in the year of 2016.
1) Getting Better at Saying No: It was not until mid 2015 when I decided to start saying no to offers, and it took another year to become comfortable with it. I can honestly say that for a while I found this to be one of the hardest things to do, and at times still do, especially if there is money involved. I kept thinking that every time I said no it was one less chance for exposure, one less paycheck, one lost client. While that is true, every "no" leaves the opportunity to a "yes" on something I really want to do.
2) Getting Better at Accepting Rejection: Always a hard one. No one likes being rejected. I'm sure this is something that I will never like. I mean, who would? I can say I'm definitely getting better at not taking it personal, and avoiding over-thinking what I could have done differently.
3) Bigger is Not Always Better: This one I'm sure there will be some controversy, but I will still stick to my statement. Your big ass DSLR is not better than my much smaller CSC, nor does it make you a better photographer. For a long time I was going to upgrade to a Canon Mark iv, but instead I went for a Sony mirrorless CSC. Probably the smartest thing I ever did. NO, I don't feel inferior because is much smaller, quite the opposite really. While everyone in the media pit is complaining about their wrist hurting after hours on top of hours of shooting, I'm enjoying my lightweight camera that does everything theirs does with the same quality. Don't even get me started on how functional it is for traveling. Adding Fujifilm to my collection is in my future though.
4) Adventure Sports Photography is Totally for Me: There's not much more to say about this. This year I had my first, small taste of adventure sports photography, I immediately fell in love with it. After so many years of climbing strange/dangerous places to get the shots I wanted, I don't know why it took me so long to start shooting people doing crazy stunts as I did the same.
5) Phone Check: Oh man, oh man, oh man. This is something that I never would have thought was going to be a thing I had to do. As much as I was aware that every monitor is different, and one picture can look slightly different from monitor to monitor (even with saving for web), it never crosses my mind that cell phones obviously fall under this category DUUUUHHH. When it comes down to it, most people use their phones more than their desk tops. Taking that extra time to view the images on my phone, gives me the security that my image will look great regardless of the the screen its viewed from.
6) Help a Stranger: This is something that I have always done, but it was not till this year that it hit me on how effective it is towards my business...Now, I'm not talking about helping strangers with things like crossing the street, opening the door, or helping the little old lady with carrying her groceries (although these are things I do because it’s just just the right thing to do). I'm more talking about not being afraid to use (show off) your skills as a photographer to help those around you. What do I mean exactly? Here's an example, I'm at a bar or dark place (maybe outside),I see a group of people trying to take a selfie/ picture (with a cell phone or camera, whatever).Immediately I see everything they can do to take that picture better, now I'm not going to approach them,take over, and tell them what they can do. Instead, I do something simple like,shining my cellphone flashlight at them so they can get better lighting. There you go, instant positive reaction and conversation starter once they see their picture.
7) Staying Strong: Everyone has rough times. Over the years I've had my share of rough times, some longer than others. This past year I came across a moment that staying strong seemed very hard. Talking to someone close about my fears when it came to the business part of photography, was exactly what I needed to not give up. Sometimes you need that coach to keep you strong.
8) Stick to Who I am: Not giving a fuck about what other people think I should be shooting because "that's where the money is". I no longer feel insecure when I say wedding photography is not me.
9) Challenge a Lens: Something that every artist goes through is "creative's block". Subconsciously we all know what we should do to solve this problem, but I feel like we always have to remind ourselves it when this happening to us. Taking a stroll in the city my city and doing street shooting works for me. I found that adding a small challenge like taking one lens with me (my least favorite one) is exactly what I needed to step outside my comfort zone and break through that "creative's block".
10) Print Magic: Nothing compares to that magical feeling I get when I print my work.
11) DIY: When tight on money, Do It Yourself. That's right, no shame in making my own reflector or softbox.
12) I'ts all About Marketing: Yep, it sure is. Took me this long to accept that marketing is what really makes the biz. I kept thinking that my talent would sell itself, and over the years I would get so frustrated finding out that some of my competition was getting tons of clients and feeling that their work was not even that great. I'll admit, I was refusing to accept that their skills and talent were marketing and how they promoted themselves rather than their skills as a shooter.
I hope you enjoyed these, and who knows maybe it will help someone. Let’s see what 2017 has to teach me.