[OK the first time I posted this, A lot of people replied thanking me for my career advice. I don’t think it was clear that this was tongue-in-cheek. Just remember that a lot of well-meant advice is at least half bullshit.]
Having second thoughts about this whole photography gig? Want to go back to that comfortable day job?
Here are my Top 7 Rules to making your photography career as short as possible:
1. Don’t be an asshole.
I learned this all-important bit of advice as a young pup. Unless you want to be successful, this rule is your fastest ticket out of the industry.
2. Respect the craft.
Most successful photographers compromise the integrity of their craft once they realize that a great image does not always translate into dollars. Don’t be one of them.
3. Share your knowledge with others, and they will reciprocate.
If your mentors really shared useful knowledge with their competitors, do you think they would still be competitive? Earnestly share your knowledge, and you are certain to find yourself a new career – as a teacher perhaps.
4. Focus on creating meaningful relationships with your clients.
Take the effort to connect with your clients on something deeper than just a creative fee, and you’ll have many friends to hang out with at the pub. Once you start your real job.
5. Advocate for your fellow photographers.
Helping your colleagues get the rates and treatment they deserve ensures you’ll get what you deserve in the end.
6. Be bold in your creativity, humble in your accomplishments.
Few photographers ever gained lasting success by creating mediocre work and convincing everyone how extraordinary it was. The few successful ones, that is.
7. Take time out every day to remember what inspired you to begin with.
Every day, take a deep centering breath, and try to get back to that place you were at the beginning, starry-eyed, with a heart full of dreams and nothing yet to show for it. Do this enough, and you’ll be right back where you started.