Us photographers get it tough. I mean, it seems like every week there’s another fancy new gadget, another must-have piece of equipment to add to the collection, and a constant deluge of distractions for our time – and our hip pockets.
Is it just me, or do you get caught up in the clever marketing of our industry too? The messages and annoyingly distracting glossy images that make us feel we can’t do our best work unless we have the latest fandangled piece of equipment?
Tell me you get distracted by these bright shiny things too…?
Our industry is saturated with products all vying for just a tiny slice of the billion-dollar-a-year-photography-industry pie. So it makes total sense that they would spend enough to feed a small nation on new product development, market research and clever advertising, just to persuade us to cough up for the latest and greatest photography trinkets.
Just the other day I splurged on the new Nikon camera body (yep, I shoot Nikon!) and it cost me…uhmmm *coughs* well let’s just say these things cost upwards of $6000 USD. I promised myself a reward for all the hard work I’ve put in this year in my business, and I definitely had room for it in the budget – I wouldn’t have done it otherwise. But it’s a huge outlay – albeit one that made me giddy with excitement.
But I digress…the point is, it’s ok to splurge sometimes….
Like when you’ve been really good and stuck to your diet all week long, so you let yourself have that extra glass of wine on the weekend.
Or after you’ve completed your fifth session with your PT for the month so you binge watch the whole first season of Game of Thrones (because once wasn’t enough).
But when it comes to your business, before you run out and throw all your hard earned money on the newest, latest and greatest the industry has to offer, ask yourself this question:
‘How will this help move my business forward?’
Is a brand new camera going to have you booked months in advance, or will your skills as a photographer be the thing that clients rave about to their friends?
Will the best tripod turn clients into loyal fans, or will your commitment to customer service and attention to detail make you the go to in your field?
Would the latest lens and light diffuser catch people’s attention, or will it be smart, strategic marketing that’s going to move the needle for your business?
It’s so easy to get caught up in what’s new, believe the hype and hope it will set your photography apart. But, and this is a big BUT, if money’s tight (and it usually is in small business), or buying the thing doesn’t deliver hard business outcomes (which is critical for sustainable growth), then you probably shouldn’t be buying the thing. #justsayin
Here’s what I believe we should be investing in instead – ourselves.
I believe the smartest thing we can do with our money (after paying expenses) is to upskill. Continuing our education, whether it be sharpening our photography prowess or building our business muscles, is the single best investment we can make.
→ boost your confidence
→ beef up your offerings
→ accelerate your business growth
And then it will:
→ help you get to where you want to be faster
Don’t waste time meandering along the same path you always have. Get out there and try new things. Take a different road, try new adventures.
Don’t let your photography become outdated, your messaging go stale, or your business practices get left behind. Instead, take consistent, daily action to keep moving your photography business forward.
Luckily, there are a ton of online and in person learning opportunities available, *literally* at your fingertips. There really is no excuse!
Here’s a rundown of my best picks, get clicking and check them out:
One of the best places for online learning is Creative Live. They offer an excellent selection of photography and business classes, and the instructors are amazing! Plus, the prices are pretty sweet too.
If you’re a member of Professional Photographers of America (PPA) you now have access to Photovision, an enormous learning library for photographers. They also have some amazing photographers to learn from.
If you’re more of an in person learner, you can find some fantastic photography workshops at Anderson Ranch art centre and also at Sante Fe Photographic Workshops.
You’ll be sure to find a class on anything you desire, from senior photography to newborn workshops, just be sure to double check the class size and curriculum.
If you’re looking for something more specific to your niche, I suggest contacting your favorite photographer to see if they are offering workshops.
I’ve attended a number of workshops, and I believe workshops with fewer students are always better because you get personal attention and more shooting time with the models.
And if you’re a pet photographer – this one’s for YOU!
If you’ve been looking for a pet photography workshop that covers everything from studio lighting and off camera flash, to tricks for working with dogs, and all the business nitty gritty, then you can’t go past this one.
I would love you to join me and my dear friend, pet photographer extraordinaire, Margaret Bryant for Dog Photography Bootcamp. It’s the only in-person workshop I run all year and it’s the best fun! It’s coming up in Sonoma, CA this September, but we limit it to just 9 students, so you have to be quick, this will sell out! Check it out and jump on board here >>
So if you’re wondering what to do with that extra cash from your last shoot… I recommend skipping the gear you probably don’t need anyway, and putting that money into something that’s going to accelerator your professional growth and not just depreciate and gather dust in the corner of your studio.
And remember, running a business is not a quick, tactical sprint. It’s a marathon, and we’re playing the long strategic game here. Investing in yourself is like a giant energy drink for you and your biz so you can keep going and reach your goals in a way that’s sustainable and hugely rewarding.
Here’s to lifelong learning!
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