Peekaboo… 2014 come and go, 2015 has arrived and before we know it, 2016 will just be around the corner… I hope this post allow you to look at professional photography differently and for those who are sitting on the fence, these are things that you need to know.

It is always kinda a dream job being a photographer, be it maternity, newborn, baby, family, wedding or pet photography, most people’s perception is it is a cool job and all you do is go out, enjoy what you are doing and getting paid doing what you love…

I need to pop that bubble for you… majority of what you do as a professional isn’t sexy at all… It’s a lot of hardwork, a lot of trusting the gut going the opposite direction and continue to do what you believe.

Here is the hard truth…

You can’t do the same thing that everyone is doing and expect different results and the only person that is going to be successful is the one who continuously change and adapt to the situation and condition.

So what do you have to do to survive this competitive market?

1. Be yourself.
I know, it is easier said than done but you will find it easier and easier when you ignore noises that surround you.

Have a vision of what you want to say about your life, your work is going to be as good as what you want to say about your life.
Never ever start a photography career until you know what you want to “say” through your work. With good technical, yes, you can make an ok living out of it, but sooner or later, meeting the ends takes over and creativity is flush down the toilet. Photography become a mundane and nothing more than a job.

2. Stop looking at other photographers website, pinterest, etc
Though it is nice to know what is out there, one thing you need to stop doing is to start analyzing what others are doing. You are not someone else, so don’t wish that you are that person. Spend your time doing soul searching, practice your photography and stop looking and feel small about yourself. Chances are, if there are people paying for your service, you are good enough. Just need to continue to improve both technically and professionally.

3. Find Mentors
A good mentor makes a lot of different and will shorten your learning curves and fix that bad habit of yours. Although, finding a good mentor is really difficult. It pays to be persistent and polite when looking for one. A good mentor do not praise, but continue to find faults in you so you can improve. Beg them, pay them, or whatever it takes to get through their door and let them allow you to learn from them.

4. Attitude is everything
It isn’t important what is happening around you, but what is your attitude towards them determine your future success. Being honest takes double effort but in long term, it will reward you as well.

5. What your competitors do and say has no bearing on your success or failure.
As soon as you can forget about the noise that is out there and concentrate on what you are doing, you are on the road to create your own. They can tease what you say, they can disagree on what you say, they can even call you whatever they like… you have no control of it. So why worry about it?

6. Create a business that make sense to you and you enjoy doing it.
There isn’t a right business that fits everyone, but you CAN create a business that fits you. If you don’t enjoy doing wedding, don’t do them. If you don’t enjoy offering softcopy, don’t do it, if you don’t like working on weekends, then don’t do it… If you have a very strong vision that translate into your work, clients who seek you will work with you in your term. There is no right or wrong in doing business. Just because someone do it, doesn’t mean you should.

People can feel what you LOVE doing, and they will LOVE to work with you. Don’t be afraid to create a very personal business that fit you nicely.

For example, I hate selling, so I don’t sell anything to my clients, I simply allow them to purchase what they want through online gallery. It has worked well. I know I can sell well face to face, but I enjoy it more when clients purchase what they like and tell a million people.

7. Keeping your promise
Sound simple, but it is very rare to find business that able to keep their promise. Knowing how to photograph means nothing if you can’t deliver it to your clients the way you promise it. You don’t have to under promise and over deliver, you just need to deliver your promise every single time, day after day, month after month and years after years.

So I hope by end of 2015, you are splashing a great time….


Hart Tan