BlahBlahBabble Reverb10

Make – Reverb10, Day 6…

Make. What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it?

I’m exempting photography from this. Not that it isn’t significant, but it is something I make all the time. So instead I’d rather talk about something else, my knitting!

I love to knit, but I don’t make enough time for it. That really needs to change, and I’m working on it. The last thing I made and completed was a sock. I finished the first of the pair while I was on the road in Mexico that I mentioned the other day, the crazy highway with all the curves, and I’ve been working on sock #2 to complete the pair. They are Trekking XXL yarn, a fantastic wool. I love Trekking!

There are SO many other things I want to make! While I was in London last month, Pixeldiva Ann gifted me with the most amazing bag full of awesome wool yarn from The Yarn Yard. Natalie, the owner of The Yarn Yard, took one dye and made one skein of everything she carried in that same color of dye. Absolutely fascinating to see how each individual type of yarn picked up the color differently. It is just stunning! It ranges from maroon to plum to nearly black, and as light as a dusty rose. Oh goodness. I love it so much! I’m planning out my projects for it, and every time I look at it it makes me smile & think of Ann & Karl, since it matches the color of Ann’s wedding dress. Just brilliant! Natalie was so wonderful to deliver this bag of delicious fiber to London and hand it off to me personally! After snuggling with it for a bit, I shared it with the other knitters too, and we all ooh’d and ahh’d over it.

Now begins the hard part – matching up the perfect project with each of the yarns. I’ve been researching on Ravelry (I’m Christine over there) and gathering up ideas. Have any suggestions? Most is lace to sock weight, and I have enough to make shawls or a pair of socks out of all of them. Or gloves, mittens, etc. – similar yardage options. What would you make if you had a lot of yummy yarn?

I need to make some photographs of that yarn as well – it is really too beautiful not to share! Hopefully this weekend!

Getting Down to Business Worth Keeping

The Problem Is 18 Months…

Jim Coudal of Coudal Partners was recently interviewed at Design Glut. You may not have heard of Jim, but if you’re a photographer that delivers DVDs or CDs as an end product to clients you have probably heard of – and he is part of the team behind that. Matter of fact, you can read all about that and more in the article.

The part I really want to highlight is all the way at the end of the interview. In the last question, after sharing a lot of his story, Jim was asked “What’s your advice for people who want to set out on this path?” This was in reference to web & graphic designers, but it truly applies to any of us in a creative field, or even in a small business of any form.

You need to have the stomach for risk and you need to have good ideas. Let’s just assume that those are the givens, that without either one of those nothing else makes a difference.

I know a lot of people who are in our position, who used to work for The Man or whatever, and now are making records or making films or designing clothes or creating products or screening posters or any of a million other things. And all of them, without exception, all say exactly the same thing and they say it in exactly the same words: “I should have done it sooner.”

When you think to yourself, “In 18 months I’m going to start my crocheted beer coaster company,” the problem with that sentence is the 18 months. What you’re really saying is, “I’m afraid.” Do it now. If you bankrupt a company before you’re 25, that’s like a badge of honor! Get out there.

So often I hear people giving excuses about why they have to wait to do something. That is fear talking. Almost every single time, if you get to the bottom of it, it is fear.

Don’t let your fear stand in the way of your greatest success. Do it NOW.

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!

Getting Down to Business

Standing Out in a Crowd of Creatives…

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.

When you read Sean’s post, be sure to read Rachel’s comment about photographers and their portfolios as well. So insightful and inspiring!

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!

Creative Geek

Why I Blog, And What I Should Blog About…

I couldn’t agree with Tom Peters more in this video. Blogging in the past 9 years has totally changed my life. I still remember a time when I said I blogged and people looked at me with that strange look. Now? I can honestly say I’ve got friends all over the US, Europe and Australia that I know thanks to blogging – some I’ve met in person, some I haven’t, but that doesn’t matter. I don’t discount their friendship based on that. They are my friends just the same.

But my blog has suffered thanks to Twitter (which I’ve claimed before has killed my blog) and because of my work as a wedding photographer. I still have a lot to share that I write about frequently on forums (SWPB, Fast Track Photographer) and on PhotoLoveCat, but I don’t write about here. (I don’t plan to stop writing over there in those places.)

Recently I’ve started wondering why? Why not? Some of it may be of no interest to my older blog readers (like the methodology behind pricing photography) but then again, it might be interesting to many others. I love to read and talk about marketing, branding, pricing … all the things that make a business run. Even a creative business.

I considered writing about these things over on my business blog — but it just seems out of place there. Not that I have anything to hide from my clients – many of them know where this blog is at and if not it is easily found via Google – but just because it doesn’t seem to fit in. Or does it?

As I ramble about business topics, should I post them here? Or over there? I know Big Pink Cookie has nothing to do with marketing & branding and how to run a photography (or creative) business, but seriously, it makes you smile when you say the name out loud. Go ahead and try it. See? Smiling, right? It is my personal brand. It is me. I am it. We are one.

Now tell me what you think?