Author Topic: What does SUCCESS look like?  (Read 1743 times)

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Offline Todd Muskopf

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What does SUCCESS look like?
« on: June 12, 2015, 08:56:42 AM »
When people see your site, when they come to your studio, when they see you on the street, do they see a SUCCESSFUL photographer?

What does that look like?

If you think of a successful photographer in your town or maybe someone nationally or internationally known, what are the traits that set them apart?

What are things that we can cultivate which will send the signals of success to our clients and thus bring more individual success to ourselves?

Offline Todd Muskopf

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Re: What does SUCCESS look like?
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2015, 07:07:54 AM »
I think of success as:

Confident
Happy

Well kept

Nice but not ostentatious--home, vehicle, clothing, etc.

Very good equipment.  No compromises, but maybe not this week's newest.

Able to face challenges with a smile.

Being able to travel-- charge enough that you don't have to slave away to pay the bills.

Not really having to advertise.  Being a "known entity".

Offline Jeff Behm

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Re: What does SUCCESS look like?
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2015, 09:49:58 AM »
I'm not sure I know any more - at least for the fiscal part.  Could be a result of being 64 years old with 31 years at this, watching how much has changed, and especially how much the changes have moved away from what once was considered desirable.  I remarked in another forum that your high school seniors are properly exposed, tastefully composed, will lit, with normal color balance.  By comparison, the photographer in the example was using crushed highlights, Instagram coloring and a fair amount of lens flair, all of which I was trained to avoid.  In fact, much of that ilk I see as the result of poor technique, lazy preparation and the "everybody can be a star with a DSLR" (sing it to yourself) mentality eroding this industry today.

On the other hand, and in some ways, watching the advent of these undesirable elements to the forefront of what's now desirable reminds me of what I've read about the coming of the Impressionists.  The Guilds hated them, and much of what the Impressionists did was aimed directly in the face of the establishment.  The Guild types thought it was sloppy work and tried to cast them into the outer darkness.  The Impressionists thought the Guilds were restrictive and strangled artistic expression and interpretation. And here we are, 100 years and more later, holding the best of the rebels up as geniuses.

In partial answer to your question, avoiding the purely theoretical and speaking as a business, success is what continues to work to attract clients.   On a personal level it's what pleases me.  They aren't always the same.  Finally, despite my openness to some of the new imagery, I continue to "see as I see".  That sometimes gets in the way of my wishing to change things that I do.  Untraining myself so that I can seek newer looks is not as easy as I'd hoped.

Offline Todd Muskopf

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Re: What does SUCCESS look like?
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2015, 04:01:01 PM »
I'm thinking a lot about having two cameras with me all the time during a shoot and shoot every seen with both.  One would have my preferred lens on it, use my normal lighting whatever that would be.  The other would be a lens baby on a FF 1Ds 2 that would probably be OOF 80% of the time--but the other 20% might be cool!

A little devil-may-care processing on those prior to the viewing and ordering session, and hey...maybe I can be cool, too! :)

Offline Jeff Behm

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Re: What does SUCCESS look like?
« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2015, 04:39:37 PM »
Once we get your tongue out of your cheek maybe I'll understand.... 

But seriously, first is a fairly traditional recent business headshot.  Second is a High Speed Sync headshot done outdoors at f4, specifically to enhance the subjects's separation from the background using DOF outside.  1/400, f4, ISO 100, 200MM  It's something I'm working to use more often as away to distinguish my work from the more traditional, should it be desired.  I guess, if played with some scene brightness and crushed some highlights like your example elsewhere, it could work. 

Offline Todd Muskopf

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Re: What does SUCCESS look like?
« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2015, 07:25:39 AM »
I take people outside too.



I've just got to quit using strobes and posing them!


Offline Darren Cassese

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Re: What does SUCCESS look like?
« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2015, 07:45:18 AM »
I think the images displayed are one of the most insignificant factors in what makes someone appear successful. 

I've been thinking about this for two days, however, and I'm struggling to come up with anything solid. 

In the past, I've typically been told who is successful and it influences what I think.  Looking at Baltimore / DC area photographers, I can't tell who is rolling in the dough just by looking at the photographs. 

Blogs influence me.  If someone is blogging like crazy with one shoot after the other, I'll conclude they are very busy with paid work.

If they have a blog and it isn't being used much, I'll conclude they are not successful.
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Offline Jeff Behm

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Re: What does SUCCESS look like?
« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2015, 08:42:32 AM »
I've just got to quit using strobes and posing them!

There's your answer!  I get what Darren is saying re: blogs, too, but I'm not sure if that's the average person's take or not.  It might just as easily be that they're too busy to stop and blog.  I don't know.

Offline Todd Muskopf

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Re: What does SUCCESS look like?
« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2015, 09:22:10 AM »
I think the images displayed are one of the most insignificant factors in what makes someone appear successful. 

I've been thinking about this for two days, however, and I'm struggling to come up with anything solid. 

In the past, I've typically been told who is successful and it influences what I think.  Looking at Baltimore / DC area photographers, I can't tell who is rolling in the dough just by looking at the photographs. 

Blogs influence me.  If someone is blogging like crazy with one shoot after the other, I'll conclude they are very busy with paid work.

If they have a blog and it isn't being used much, I'll conclude they are not successful.

I don't read blogs, and I don't write on my blog much.  What I do is post on FB and IG several times a week...even if it's new photos from old clients.  This gives the impression that I'm really busy, and it works.  I meet people who I haven't seen in a while and they always tell me "I see your posts and it looks like you're really busy!".


Offline Darren Cassese

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Re: What does SUCCESS look like?
« Reply #9 on: June 14, 2015, 03:39:22 PM »
What I do is post on FB and IG several times a week...even if it's new photos from old clients.  This gives the impression that I'm really busy, and it works.  I meet people who I haven't seen in a while and they always tell me "I see your posts and it looks like you're really busy!".

Sure - that too.

I think wherever you decide to be visible - blog, facebook, Instagram, Twitter - etc...you have to keep it up.  It pays off in that people will follow you and see that you're busy.

But stop and then I think people assume you're not doing well.  That's the pitfall of it and why I don't start.  I have Facebook pages for Noir Boudoir and Fotoglyphics, but I think they just make me look bad.  I simply can't keep them up.
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Offline Houston George

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Re: What does SUCCESS look like?
« Reply #10 on: June 16, 2015, 07:46:00 PM »
When people see your site, when they come to your studio, when they see you on the street, do they see a SUCCESSFUL photographer?
I think my site accurately represents my skills and what I can deliver. I have no illusions of grandeur. On the street I would say I try to project professionalism more than success (are they different? I think so). I do know that if I'm doing a home project or working in the yard with shabby cloths and an unshaven face and find myself needing to make a run to Lowe's, I worry about running into a client. It makes me hesitate.

 
What does that look like?

If you think of a successful photographer in your town or maybe someone nationally or internationally known, what are the traits that set them apart?

I don't think success necessarily has a certain look. For me, a successful photographer is one who has control of the art itself and creates beautiful images. Maybe that translates into business success and maybe it doesn't.
   
What are things that we can cultivate which will send the signals of success to our clients and thus bring more individual success to ourselves?

Maybe the place to start is making sure we are doing the things that actually lead to success. Honing skills and constantly striving to get better along with honest business practices. Obviously the number one indicator of success is having a steady flow of customers. When it's real, you don't have to worry about creating appearances.

I think of success as:

Confident
Happy

Well kept

Nice but not ostentatious--home, vehicle, clothing, etc.

Very good equipment.  No compromises, but maybe not this week's newest.

Able to face challenges with a smile.

Being able to travel-- charge enough that you don't have to slave away to pay the bills.

Not really having to advertise.  Being a "known entity".

Good points. The first 4 go without saying. Personally, I don't see traveling as a sign of success. It may indicate nothing more than a higher balance on their credit cards, which is why I don't put much stock in the outward appearance of success based on window dressings. Lots of people are drowning in debt these days all in an attempt to impress.
Houston

Offline Mike Nykoruk

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Re: What does SUCCESS look like?
« Reply #11 on: June 16, 2015, 10:55:15 PM »
Success sounds like a ringing telephone.  8)

Offline PR-IMAGES

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Re: What does SUCCESS look like?
« Reply #12 on: June 18, 2015, 03:21:12 PM »
Having your work displayed on prime time TV


Offline Todd Muskopf

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Re: What does SUCCESS look like?
« Reply #13 on: June 22, 2015, 08:11:02 AM »
Especially if you get a photo credit!

Offline Jenny Gavin-Wear

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Re: What does SUCCESS look like?
« Reply #14 on: June 22, 2015, 09:08:11 AM »

I've been thinking about this a lot. 

I'd really appreciate feedback.  Does my site look like that of a successful photographer?

http://www.jgw-photography.co.uk/