As you know, Leslie Burns is a great photographers consultant who is very involved in the photography community. Through her blog, podcasts, and manuals she offers quite a bit of free advice for us, of which I’ve learned a lot from. That said, she just posted an instructional video on the good and bad things you should take into consideration for your website. It’s a video presentation and costs $45. Not a bad price considering all the other free advice she gives away. Check it out. It’s good and informative.
The bigger reason to this entry is her latest blog post on the 10 Photographer Commandments. The list as a whole is a great mantra for photographers to live by as well as any other creatives. I know I have and try to. This is all stuff I’ve thought about a lot, but never really formulated and written down. Number 3 is well stated, and is definitely reflected in my last post.
I’m quoting this directly from Leslie’s post. (Ok I tried to create an indented quote, but the new typepad editor is retarded and won’t do it anymore?):
“1. Understand and accept that you will make mistakes. You are going to forget a battery or mess up a setting or forget to double-dog confirm that one stylist or something. None of this is terminal. You’re a creative problem-solver–you’ll find a way through it.
2. You are not your images. If you show your book to someone and they don’t like it, don’t take it personally. Art is subjective. Just because your work isn’t right for them doesn’t mean you suck.
3. No matter how much you know, someone else will always know more. Always be learning and be willing to learn. Take classes. Listen to clients. Be open to other ideas.
4. Don’t get stuck on the final. You may know exactly what image you want to make, but if you stop there or hyper-focus on making only that image, you may miss out on an even better image. Play.
5. Treat people who know less than you with respect, deference, and patience. Bob Smith, corporate “suit” client, may offer up the lamest idea in the universe on a shoot. Be kind to him–he is trying. Be kind to your assistants and other crew too while you are at it. You are not a god (read #1 again) but another human being like those around you (you just have talent in an area they don’t). Don’t be an egotistical jerk.
6. The only constant in the world is change. ”While we’re here, can we just shoot…” and (on-set) “I just found out we need the model to be blonde” and the like are opportunities, not difficulties–if you choose to look at them that way. Same for market changes and technology changes. Be open to change.
7. The only true authority stems from knowledge, not from position. You can’t force a client to respect you, but you can earn that respect by demonstrating your professionalism compassionately and openly at every opportunity.
8. Advocate for what you believe, but gracefully accept defeat. They client may say they want your look, but sometimes the boss of the client’s boss’ boss wants is how s/he wants it and that is just that. Pitch your ideas, advocate for them passionately, then let go when it won’t change a thing and cash the check in peace.
9. Reach out. You can’t expect people to know about you and your work just because you have a website and even if you send promos. You need to get out there and meet people. The more you put yourself out there to the world, the greater the chance you’ll connect with someone.
10. It’s art–not a tumor. If your work is serious work, like drudgery, then you might want to think about another career. You need to love what it is you are doing–making images needs to be a joy, a release, a passion–it needs to be the fun part. If you don’t absolutely love it, you need to try to re-find that fun/passion/joy. Otherwise, you might as well do something that has a regular paycheck and health insurance.”
Click here for her original post.