Up until the late 90’s there was a growing trend in television infomercials…. Always something like “it’s so easy!” Or… “in only 12 minutes a day you can achieve the results you want!” You may be asking “What do infomercials from 1999 have to do with being a successful photographer.” Just bear with me here. Along about the turn of the millennium, the truth came out. A simple fact that there really aren’t any shortcuts. This brought the era of boot camp work outs and tough love fitness. People began to realize that you have to work hard, stay focused…and yes, endure a little bit of occasional pain in order to get what you want. The EXACT same thing is true when it comes to your photography. See…I told you there was a point.
In this article you will learn some hard truths about what it takes to be successful in any type of photography. There are a few simple lessons that will quite literally place you into the mindset needed for success. The steps aren’t inherently difficult but the ultimate course isn’t an easy one. You will learn how to take your photography to the next level and achieve your goals…if you want it bad enough. Let’s get started!
Understand What You Want to Do
This may seem as it should go without saying. Finding out what direction you want to take your photography is paramount to success. If you don’t have at least an idea of where you want to end up then there is no way to know what steps you must take to get there. The key is to start small and build to your ultimate goal.
Begin with small accomplishments such learning a new skill or perfecting a technique you’ve always wanted to master. Rome wasn’t built in a day….
Be Prepared to Work Hard
If there’s one inescapable truth for funding success with your photo work it is just that…work. The reason your favorite photographers became your favorite photographers wasn’t by chance. Opportunity presents itself more constantly to those who never stop and who never quit.
Become a workaholic when it comes to your photography. In some cases, you must be ready to work harder than you ever thought possible.
Embrace the Failures
Yes, that realization comes to us all but it is nonetheless a difficult pill to swallow. No matter how much success you aspire to there is no escaping failure. Whether it is larger or small, failure will come to visit you one day. They important thing to know about failing is that the outcome is always relative to your response. Do you simply sit and accept your failure or do you get back up and try again. My experience has been that the later always pays many more dividends. You will always learn more from your failures than your successes.
Freedom from fear goes right along with the acceptance of failure. Don’t be afraid to fail and don’t be afraid to go your own way. None of the so called “great photographers” ever got anywhere by reproducing old work. Set your creative mind free to roam and conjure the photographs that you want to make regardless of anything else. Don’t be afraid to be yourself.
Fear is one of the most if not the most limiting factor when it comes to being the best photographer you can be. Don’t hinder yourself by clinging to self-imposed barriers to your own success.
If there’s one thing that ends up paying off more than anything else when it comes to photography it is the notion of helping others. It’s not always the easiest thing to do, helping your fellow photo makers I mean, but I can personally assure you that it can be the most rewarding.
Answer those questions, participate in discussions with whatever photography groups you may follow, never forget that we all had to start someplace. Find a way to give something back to the community that shares your passion for the photographic arts. We are very much our own best friends.
The secret to finding success in photography is really no secret at all. Find your direction, work hard, accept failure, don’t be afraid, and give back to those who are standing in your previous shoes. While the path we travel on our own particular journeys may seem unique, it actually is one common to most photographers. We share the road with our fellow camera jockeys and exist in a beautiful solidarity whether we realize it or not. The important thing is to appreciate that nothing worth having ever comes easily.