June 23, 2010

Shoot Every Day (How To Move From Average to Better)

I was listening to a podcast on photography the other day called Photofocus. This podcast, led by a professional photographer and his weekly guests, answer questions sent in by listeners. These questions can be about anything related to photography. They cover a diverse set of topics ranging from photo shooting and lighting techniques, to various post processing workflows and tools. They can also cover photography equipment including cameras and information on the business side of photography. The show is great because you get to hear answers to questions that can address issues you might have yourself.

I usually listen to this podcast in non-work times so I am not always following each question intently. So the other day, when I heard this one question, the answer really caught my attention. This question and answer got me thinking about more than my photography hobby. It got me thinking about my business. It might do so for you too.

The questioner asked “How can I move from being an average photographer to a good one? What do I need to do to get better?”

The answer was not what I expected, but was what I thought it should be.

After pausing for a moment to think, the guest host replied “Shoot more pictures.”

I listened to his reply and thought, surely he will give a more detailed answer. He’s going to talk about getting more formal education. He’s going to talk about organized training courses and other learning opportunities. He’s going to talk about attending photography workshops. And, of course he’s going to talk about acquiring newer, higher-end equipment. After all, professional photographers use the very best cameras and equipment. You can’t become better without upgrading your equipment and tools.

But he didn’t. He just repeated his original answer, “Shoot more. In order to move from average to better, just shoot lots of pictures.” He did qualify the statement saying that you needed to experiment and test different situations, locations, and topics. He talked about fully getting to know your existing equipment. But most importantly, he said, just ‘SHOOT’.

As I absorbed his words. I thought not only about my growth as a photographer, but also my business. How often had I looked to formal education, training, better equipment, the right timing, to be the thing I needed to improve my productivity, my efficiency, my effectiveness. Was I spending too much time focusing on these other areas or was I just doing my job daily.

How about you?

Are you a chef? Then grab a cookbook, some pots, and get mixing.

Are you a painter? Then grab some brushes , find a canvas, and start drawing.

Are you a writer? Then find a pen (or computer) pick up some paper, and write.

Are you a sales person? Then get a client list, find a phone, and start dialing.

And of course, if you are a photographer, grab your camera and just Shoot.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

1 comment:

Scott Herring said...

This entire concept is somewhat in the vein of Malcolm Gladwell's "10,000 Hour Rule". Practice, practice, practice. In that effort, you have to capitalize on your successes, perhaps more than learning from your mistakes, to really improve.