Intro by Skip Cohen
It's Throwback Thursday, and I usually turn back the clock exclusively to old images or videos. But this morning, wandering through my archives, I found one of my favorite guest posts from my good buddy, Scott Bourne. I've shared it a couple of times over the last few years.
Scott and I go back a lot of years to my Hasselblad days, later to helping me launch Skip's Summer School, then writing a book together and a never-ending stream of projects and new ideas year after year.
In 2012, while at Summer School, Bobbi Lane did her best to get the two of us to be serious for a portrait session. She was successful, but only for a minimal time!
The post below is so relevant today. Life is very different for this year's graduates than it was when Scott first wrote this. However, as much as things change, to his point, the importance of relationship-building NEVER varies.
Most people see the challenges created by the pandemic as a liability, but for this year's graduates, I see opportunities. So many things in our lives have changed, giving this year's grads the ability to indeed be pioneers in virtually every field.
While business may have slowed down over the last few months in photography, we're all part of an industry that itself has never slowed down. More than ever before, your greatest marketing tool is relationship building!
by Scott Bourne
Commencements are coming up all over the country in the next couple months. As someone with gray hair, I can’t help but have a very different perspective on photography than someone of college age. I am often asked what advice I’d give someone just breaking into professional photography. The usual response goes something like this…
“Be prepared for lots of hard work – sales and marketing should dominate your day – show the work every chance you get – network like crazy – shoot what you love – repeat.”
But while that’s all good advice, there’s more I would say if I were speaking at a commencement.
I’d talk about understanding the high degree of importance graduates should place in each and every relationship they engage in during their career. Whether it’s the mailman or the recent client, these relationships are really all that matters. I didn’t know this when I was young and it hurt me…both personally and professionally.
So obsess over gear and f/stops if you must, but if you really want to succeed, pay attention to the people in your professional life. Build solid, long-term relationships with them. Care about them. Help them. Put them and their interests ahead of your own. You never know where that will lead. You might be dealing with that person 30 years later. They’ll remember how you valued (or didn’t) the relationship when you were young. And so will you.
If you believe business is built on relationships, make building them your business.
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