I’ve spent the better part of the past two weeks traveling, first to New Orleans for a meetup with the Starting a Wedding Photography Business group from Flickr, and then to Las Vegas for Skip’s Summer School. Two very different events, both incredibly inspiring and motivating in different ways. My head is full of things I want to write about right now. One theme that kept coming up over and over again for me though is that when in business – especially a creative business like photography – it is essential that you value your work properly and you tap in to what makes YOU uniquely you.
It hit me again this morning as I caught up on Sean Low’s fantastic blog, The Business of Being Creative. (If you’re not reading Sean’s blog – start. He is brilliant.) One of his most recent posts on the value of your business really hit home as it is a topic I’ve struggled with in the past. It is so tempting to be a generalist sometimes; you don’t want to turn away what seems like easy income at first. But it costs you a lot more than you realize in the end. You lose your edge.
You can not be all things to everyone. You can’t please everyone. You can’t be a generalist and thrive in a creative business.
In a world full of photographers, you will never stand out to anyone unless you focus on what makes you unique.
What makes you unique, by its very definition, is different for everyone.
While I think it is absolutely essential to build on your education and learn new things, and to have an arsenal of tools at your disposal to make your work the best it can be – be careful. You should use these things to enhance your unique perspective.
This Education Reference Desk guide contains more information about ebooks and includes links to the Library’s collections of ebooks as well as listings of free or partially free collections available on the open web.
There is no single magic item that will make you an overnight success. Many times, if you fall repeatedly into the trap of the latest and greatest things you absolutely must have, you will only water down what makes you unique and your work will end up looking like everyone else’s. You will no longer have an advantage.
What is it that makes you stand out? Why should someone want to work with you over the next person they meet with? What do you bring to the table that no one else can do?
Please vote for our SXSWi panel on copyright and creatives! I hope to be presenting with Katie Sunstrom, Jonathan of Plagiarism Today, and Charles Lee Mudd Jr. Whether you’re attending SXSWi or not, we need your vote!