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These 3 A's Work Together to Propel Your Photography Success
Embarking on a career in photography is a journey filled with hopes and dreams but without the three things I’m going to get into in this blog post, they are just that. Hopes and dreams.
Hello Fellow Shooter. I’m so glad you found this post today. It’s not going to be worthy at all if you’re skimming. Let’s test your attention span. Today I will explore three pillars that can guide your path to becoming a successful professional photographer. Today’s post illustrates the importance creating a game plan for your photography career so you can propel your work forward in the face of challenges and setbacks. - Carty
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#1 Ambition: This Fuels Your Photography Dreams
Ambition serves as the foundation of every photographer's journey, igniting the flames of determination and driving them forward. What is YOUR ambition? Do you want to be the best in your niche? Or do you want to make 100k with your camera? What are the goals that you are trying to achieve with your camera? This is your “ambition”. Without ambition or having clear goals set, there is no possible way to achieve them. Let’s get into how ambition can shape your pursuit of a photography career:
Helping Others: One of the most fulfilling ambitions is to be of service to others. Imagine the satisfaction of mentoring and guiding 10,000 aspiring photographers toward the next level in their careers with my channel on YouTube. That was my ambition. Because I chose the route of being of service to others, This week I hit 10k Subscribers on YouTube. Now, I’ve reached that goal. This is the result of personal ambition.
Setting a goal to get hired twice per month to make photographs is a good ambition. Setting a goal to help 2 people per month with new photos to make them look better with their socials, or helping 2 small businesses each month get more attention because of their photography are even better goals that put your focus on helping others. This noble aspiration not only benefits others but also strengthens your position within the photography industry AND will make you money. The mindset shift to becoming a benefit to others will change how you’ll approach your work and your outward reach.
Recognition: One of my ambitions was to broaden the reach of my work and increase the global awareness of my photography. This is another goal that my ambitions with my YouTube channel helped me achieve. Do you have a website? Do you have an active Behance profile? If you’ve made “global recognition of your photography” one of your ambitions, With unwavering focus, you can transcend geographical boundaries and establish your name on an international stage.
Professional Milestones: Set your sights on specific professional milestones like having a professional photography website and Behance profile, or creating 500 professional connections on linkedin. Work towards mid-sized goals such as being publishing or being hired for a commercial project. These professional ambitions will keep you motivated and focused on your journey. Try not to create goals that you can’t control like social media followers or likes on posts. Looking outwards for validation is counterproductive.
#2 Actions: Building Your Path to Success
Our Ambitions must be complemented by consistent actions. These are the actions that you do to reach the ambitions or goals that you have set for yourself. Your actions must directly relate to fulfilling your ambitions. Your actions are building blocks that lead you closer to your photography goals.
Continuous Learning: Whatever your exact ambitions are, dedicate yourself to continual improvement in your craft and strive to make each photoshoot better than the last. Just as I constantly try to improve each video, I’m also constantly working on my main craft (which how I make a majority of my money), photography. For over 10 years I’ve also been making money creating video content, so I also have to continually be improving my video skills and telling stories well. We continually get better at making photographs as long as we’re always seeking opportunities to learn and grow. It never stops and is not dependant on age. Are you still with me?
Service to the Industry: It’s impossible for me to list all the goals and ambitions that you may be considering. Instead I can tell you what I did to “action my ambitions”. I wanted to help photographers get to the next level, so I started a photography podcast sharing insights that could benefit my fellow photographers. Being of service to your community not only fosters goodwill but also contributes to your growth as a photographer. I waited way too long to start my YouTube channel. I had already been doing photography education in schools and in person. I could have been doing this years ago but the break of 2020 gave me the time to really map out my ambitions. Have you waiting too long to set your ambition and start your photography career?
Start Now: Waiting for the perfect time to start your photography career won't lead to any kind of success. The best time to start your photography career was yesterday, and the next best time is today. Plan your attack first, and then, act. Procrastination hinders your progress, so take action now. Don’t compare yourself to any other photographer out there. Comparison is the thief of joy. Don’t fall into that trap. Your only competition is yourself.
#3 Attitude: The Unseen Force
Your attitude plays a pivotal role in this journey. If you’ve watched me for any length of time or read my newsletter for a while, you know I’m incredibly positive. I have a positive outlook on my life and where I’m going. I apply positivity to every situation and I know that my intentions are good. A positive attitude and unwavering determination makes all the difference. And I constantly try to motivate you to get out there and do great things with your camera.
Self-Improvement Focus: Instead of dwelling on external factors like recognition or popularity, turn your focus inward. Concentrate on honing your skills and producing outstanding work. If your only focus is being the best photographer you can be, and your only goal to be of service to those that need what you do best, how can you fail? Have no emotional attachment to your work and you’ll be able to maintain a positive attitude regardless of critique or negative feedback. This is especially beneficial when you’re working with paying clients. You are in the business of being of service to them, your emotional attachments have little to do with it.
Responsibility for Success: Avoid the blame game when faced with setbacks or challenges. Your question to yourself should always be “What could I have done differently in this situation?” In the demanding world of professional photography, remember that your primary competition is yourself. Most of your progress or lack of progress is on you. Channel your energy into self-improvement rather than external factors beyond your control. Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, either way, you’re right”
Persistence Pays Off: Back in the gold rush, there were two miners who set out to find gold. The rich miner, eager to strike it rich quickly, bought all the necessary equipment and began mining with great excitement. After a month of hard work, he declared, "There's nothing here!" Discouraged and frustrated, he sold all his equipment and land for pennies on the dollar.
On the other hand, the poor miner, with unwavering determination, purchased the discounted mining equipment sold by the rich miner. He had money saved so he also bought the land under that the equipment. He started mining in the exact spot where the equipment stood. To everyone’s astonishment, on the very first day, he hit the biggest gold ridge that had ever been seen in the area. The poor miner struck gold because he saw opportunity, and never quit.
If the rich miner hadn't given up so quickly, he would have experienced the success the poor miner was now enjoying. This old tale reminds us that persistence, even in the face of apparent failure, can lead to great success.
The holy trinity of Ambition, Actions, and Attitude can serve as your guiding principles on your path to becoming a successful professional photographer. By setting ambitious goals, spending valuable time actioning those goals, and maintaining the right positive attitude throughout your journey, you can master the core principles of making a living as a Pro. You’ll also leave a lasting mark in the world of photography. No one that quits, makes it. You need not worry about not making it, because you know quitting isn’t an option.
Remember, persistence, dedication and staying positive will be your allies in realizing your dreams as a professional photographer. You got this. If you need help, I’m at your service. Leave a comment to ask me how I can help.
See ya next weekend.
Toronto Photowalk: Sept 17th at 2pm EST
My second photowalk of the Season is my End of Summer photowalk and it takes place next weekend, Sunday Sept 17th at 2pm. We will meet at Underpass Park. We shoot rain or shine. Dress for the weather. If we get a day with really bad rain, I will make a post here and likely reschedule.
29 Lower River Street, Toronto, ON M5A 1M6. Under and around the Eastern Avenue and Richmond/Adelaide overpasses, between Cherry Street and Bayview Avenue you’ll find underpass park.
How to Access:
From River Street, south of King Street. click the map below to take you to google maps.
I recorded 3 podcasts last week and uploaded this new video.
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