Tag Archives: Allebach Photography
HOW TO BE AN ARTIST AND AN ENTREPRENEUR
How would you categorize a professional wedding photographer? As an artist who runs a business or as an entrepreneur who makes art? ShootDotEdit works with professional photographers from all over the world and have found the most successful to be a mix of both artist and entrepreneur. Being able to manage a thriving business doesn’t make you any less of an artist.
The policy consultant and author, John Howkins once said,
“Entrepreneurs in the creative economy… use creativity to unlock the wealth that lies within themselves. Like true capitalists, they believe that this creative wealth, if managed right, will engender more wealth.”
ShootDotEdit has compiled some tips to help create success as both an artist and an entrepreneur.
1. IDENTIFY YOUR STYLE
Cultivate your own personal style, your own “signature” look and feel for your images. Find a niche and work within it. This may mean that you make a strategic decision to only work on weddings, passing up other opportunities. Find a balance between what you are best at and what you love most, and then build your brand around it!
2. EMBRACE EFFICIENCY
Setting up efficient business practices will create time for you to focus on your passions, on personal projects, and on serving and loving your clients. Not only will it allow you to spend more time on being creative, it also helps you make more money. Streamlining your business through efficient business practices will save time and money in the long run. ShootDotEdit has great resources for being efficient. Ultimately, faster delivery to your clients = happier clients.
3. PRACTICE & BE PASSIONATE
Entrepreneur and Marketing guru, Seth Godin says,
“Practice alone doesn’t produce work that matters. No, that only comes from caring. From caring enough to leap, to bleed for the art, to go out on the ledge, where it’s dangerous. When we care enough, we raise the bar, not just for ourselves, but for our customer, our audience and our partners.”
Channel your passion into your work and you will always deliver an amazing product.
Georgia O’Keefe stated,
“To create one’s world in any of the arts takes courage.”
Running a business is hard work. There is a lot more than just creating a beautiful image. Stay positive and focused on your business, and keep moving forward. Remember: your business must succeed to provide a platform for your art. The two go hand in hand.
5. SAY NO.
Don’t compromise yourself. Say no to people who want you to work for free. Say no to things that fall outside of your niche. Your time is the most valuable thing that you have, so don’t waste it on anything that doesn’t work towards moving you and your business forward.
Related Article: Just Say No – Why Extreme Focus is Important
6. LEARN TO SELL
Talent alone doesn’t book the next appointment. Understand the basic ideas of how to sell. Listen to your clients and ask solid open ended questions to determine their needs. The most successful photographers know how to get brides and grooms to buy.
Related Article: How Professional Wedding Photographers Can Simplify Sales
7. NETWORK. EVERYWHERE.
There is no better testimony than one from a client who is happy with your work. The beautiful thing about wedding photography is that you can meet clients everywhere. Don’t be afraid to ask for referrals. Go to industry events. Talk to other vendors. Become friendly with venue owners and wedding planners and other people who are a part of your industry.
A professional photographer doesn’t have to be either an artist OR an entrepreneur. To be truly successful, whatever your definition of that may be, embracing both attributes will help generate growth as a person, as a business and as a photographer.
The prime ages for wanting to change the world are right around 18-25. You’re old enough to do something, but young enough to think it’s possible. For me, I was also too young to know that I had weaknesses. I think I always just pictured that someday I’d be famous enough to make a big speech about all the injustices I cared about and they’d go away. Then I turned 26. Then 27. Then 30.
Somewhere along the road I realized that aside from not having the skills to do the things I’d always thought I would, I mostly lacked the commitment. I was certainly committed to other things in my life, I just wasn’t committed to anything that didn’t benefit myself.
Somewhere around my 30th birthday, I came to a realization: I needed to stop waiting for myself to figure everything out. For all the gifts and skills I lacked, I had developed a few good ones too. That’s when I realized that no one that does great things figures it out first. They’ve just figured out how to go do something.
So instead of trying to get noticed, I just tried to get moving. Amy and I bought tickets to Kenya. We spent 2 weeks taking photos for an organization (eduKenya) that we’re passionate about. We spent a TON of money to do it. We got sick. We were uncomfortable. Sure, we made a few friends and we learned a few new things, but mostly we just worked. That’s the best we could do.
When we got back, everybody asked us how the trip was. I think they all expected elation, but the truth was… It was really hard.
Since returning from Kenya 2 years ago, I’ve changed in subtle ways. I’ve started to realize how small the world is. Mostly, I’ve started to realize that if I really want to see things change then I better do something before I ask anyone else to. There’s a lot of people that will tell you everything that bothers them, but not enough that just put their head down and do something about it. For me, that’s meant a few things:
- I need to get used to the idea that I won’t keep a lot of the money I make.
- I have to make time and sacrifices to make things happen without any potential rewards.
- I need to learn that it’s ok if things don’t work out.
In the last two years I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out what my skills are and how I can use them. At first that started as a print sale with our business. Then it turned into a Christmas gift and print sale. Then I started doing a bit of design work for eduKenya. Then I started The Giving Gallery.
The Giving Gallery is a way for photographers to donate an image that they love and for people to buy prints of that image at a good price. All of the money that’s made from sales (about 50%) goes directly to our friends at eduKenya. We do all the admin work ourselves and pay for all the little things involved.
I’d love to sit here and tell you that we’ve donated millions of dollars and that The Giving Gallery is a modern day success story. The truth is that we’ve done OK. It’s been a lot of work and a lot of time trying to get people to donate or to buy. Ultimately, it might be a huge success or just fade away. Either way I’m fine. It’s not that I’ve given up on trying to change the world. Quite the opposite! It’s that I’m learning that the joy comes from both the process and the results. If I truly want to change the world, then I need to be satisfied with just being part of the process without getting credit for the results. I think I’m getting there.