by Skip Cohen
Scott Bourne and I, along with all of the faculty for SCU, spend a great deal of time talking to photographers. The questions that come up literally cover every topic you can think of regarding photography. But there is a common theme, especially with new professional photographers. They all think they’re alone in working through the challenges of starting a new business!
Not only are you not alone, but there isn’t a single one of us in the industry who hasn’t felt your same concerns, doubts and frustrations! Every one of us have experienced those moments of just asking the question, "What am I doing here?" Sadly there are some incredibly talented people in our industry who every now and then just give up and it's not because they lack the skills. They lack a support group.
"Most people give up just when they're about to achieve success. They quit on the one yard line. They give up at the last minute of the game, one foot from a winning touchdown." Ross Perot
There’s only one purpose to today’s post – to remind you that you are absolutely NOT alone!
In May I'll be celebrating four years since I left Rangefinder/WPPI and headed out on my own. Every day has been an adventure, not always in the right direction, but a learning experience nonetheless. When I started this journey, even a few members of my own family thought I was nuts. It was suggested that I should just be satisfied with where I was in life. After all, I was president of Rangefinder and WPPI, what could be better? It was suggested that I was too old to be starting a new business. Then there were those who had to tell me I was nuts to start a new business in the worst economy since the Great Depression!
So, I set out and followed the wisdom of Dr. Seuss: “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind. “
Just a few weeks ago, with help from a whole bunch of great friends and photographers who share a common belief in education and raising the bar, we launched SCU. The usual critics are out there, but this time there's a whole crew of photographers looking for something better and more focused than what's currently available. On March 8-9 we'll launch the first live program with lots more coming in the year ahead. It's another dream slowly becoming reality.
I’ve learned a lot in the last four years, about the industry, chasing dreams and especially myself. Just like everybody, there’s always more to learn. But along the way I have picked up some pointers that might just help you through the process:
· Surround yourself with positive people.
· Listen to the advice you’re given, but make your own choices. Always go with your heart!
· Short term compromises are fine, but don’t compromise your long term goals.
· Read, follow and meet those people who you admire most in the industry.
· Spend time just kicking-back and daydreaming! Some of your best ideas will come out of just being relaxed and thinking, “What if?”
· Set a goal to understand every aspect of the photographic process and don’t let yourself be frustrated over how much you don’t know – just take it one step at a time.
· Build your network by attending workshops, local meetings, national conventions and trade shows. Being a great photographer is about education – and you can never stop learning!
· Never stop dreaming! And in the words of SCU's Dean of Portraiture, Matthew Jordan Smith, "Alway dream big!"
"The future belongs to those who believe in their dreams! Eleanor Roosevelt"
Photo credit: © Digikhmer | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.