Stop Thinking Photography Is a Competitive Business, and Here’s Why!
Hey, gang, I'm And. Welcome to the last frame live. We're going to take a short detour from our gear conversation tonight.
Look, I know some of you were really looking forward to chatting about the lighting brands and I promise we will get back to that next week. But look, I've had one too many people talk to me about their competition in the last few weeks and I really want to address this concept of competition. And I promise, as always, to do a Q amp A before we wrap up.
So start typing. I'll do my best to answer all of your questions in the next 60 minutes. Listen, if you're watching Live, you know the drill. Leave me a note in the chat. Let me know where you are or who you are and where you're watching from.
Already. I've got John here in Indiana, john in Harrisburg, willie in Germany, corey from St. Louis area. David in San Diego. Let's see here. I got Ty in New Jersey, john in Chicago, Danny in Vegas, david and Jersey. We got Blaine up in Canada, people from all over the place.
Allen just snuck in here from Denmark, and Crystals even right down the street in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Awesome. Thank you. And look, if you're watching the replay, no worries. Drop a comment below the video so that I know you were here.
All of you are part of a growing global community in over 100 countries who tune in to watch The Last Frame every week. And for that, I will work really hard tonight to help you with your photography. And you know the drill.
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You can hit the Share button or you can share the link that I just put in the chat, the Last Frame Live. Twitter, Facebook, they're usually the fastest way to get the word out. Okay, so three quick little tips. First of all, I've been mentioning at the end, and I'm going to mention at the beginning, I'm coming down to the wire on the open registration for my Togk Knowledge community. And I'm not going to take a lot of time in the beginning OVF the show to tell you about Toggnoledge. But here's what I'll do.
I know that a lot of my Togknowledge members are here tonight. So if you don't know what Togk knowledge, is, there's a link below the video? Or you can just feel free to say, hey, somebody tell me what TOGG Knowledge is, and they'll let you know their thoughts about it. But things that are coming up that are important for you to know if you are available. I'm going to take myself off the screen here and I'm kind of excited about these. So on Saturday, October 22, I'm going to be doing a presentation for the Yerba Buena chapter. That's yerba Buena, California Chapter of PSA.
And these folks are amazing. So this is a full day event. Like, I'm not kidding. This is Pacific Time at the times 09:00 A.m. In the morning until 430 in the afternoon.
These folks are paying me nicely to do a whole day for their chapter, but they have the technical capability to be able to host a lot of people. So they have opened the registration up. Anyone can register.
And it's free. Yes, free. So there's going to be four presentations during the course of the day, right? If I last that long.
The first one, in fact, I'm going to put myself back on the side of the screen. There we go. The first one is called Understanding creativity.
Honestly, it's one of the most fun presentations that I do for me, because it's a thinker. It's one of those that really makes you think. Plus, it's actually loaded with a lot of really great tips.
Some are reminders, some will really open your eyes, right? The other one is a talk called Practical Composition. None of that rules stuff. No rule of thirds, no fibonacci spirals. This is a very practical approach to really upping your composition game. Regardless of what kind of photography shoot. None of these talks are specific to portraits at all.
Okay, the third one, abstract Photography. Believe it or not, I actually shoot more abstract photography than I do portrait photography, just that that's not what you folks know me for. So this talk is all about shooting abstracts and ways to approach it.
Some cool DIY gear for lighting, and even closeup lenses without having to use macro lenses because I don't know macro lens. But I do a lot of really, really close up abstract work. And then we'll finish up the day with me doing my basic processing workflow. There'll be Q and A's in between. There are breaks I would not be able to last straight through.
But that's coming up again. That's Saturday, October Pacific Time to 04:30 p.m Pacific Time. And it's free.
Also, Imaging USA. I'll take myself back off this screen here. And by the way, all of these events that I mentioned here are linked below the video.
I'm not going to put them in the chat here while I'm talking, but you can find links below the video. Imaging USA is coming up in January. It is being held in Nashville, Tennessee this year. I encourage you, if you can make it to an Imaging USA, you should go. It is worth every penny. And if you're a PPA member, your very first Imaging USA ever is free.
You just have to get yourself there and pay for the hotel, of course. But you can take all the classes, see all the talks. I am going to be doing a very fun talk.
It's called creative color. It's easy, it's powerful, it's emotional, and it sells. So it's basically, as they say here, inspiration and technique. We're going to do a demo shoot. We're going to talk a lot about color, how I choose color, how I use color.
Going to give you some great tips to really learn how to make color palettes work for you, how to pick the colors that are going to help your images get the response that you want. And then in April, also another one that I'm uber excited about. The Texas School has been on my wish list of places to teach for a very, very long time, because it's different and it's unique. It's done by the Texas chapter of PPA. The talk that I'm doing, and it's not a talk.
The class that I'm teaching is, do different, be different. Create images that stand out. But here's the cool part.
It's five days. Yeah. So if you sign up for this, you're stuck with me, just me, for five days. So when you sign up for one of the tracks here, you basically picking your instructor, and then you're spending an entire week with that instructor, and you are learning all of it from beginning to end my entire process. We are going to have a lot of fun. We'll be working with makeup artists.
We'll have models. We'll be shooting in studio, we'll be shooting on location, all of it. So make sure you check that stuff out. I hope that I'll get to see you there at one or more of these. Okay, so let's dive in this week's discussion.
It is all about competition and how that applies to photographers. Now, just a quick note here before I get too far in this conversation. Tonight has nothing to do with photography print or photography image competitions, okay? I know there's a lot of buzz going on right now because WPPI dropped their print competition for this year, and a lot of people are really upset.
But that's a whole different conversation, and it's one that I'll gladly share my thoughts on later, but that's not what we're talking about. This, to me, really is a critical topic, and it's one that I am realizing is getting in the way of a lot of photographers finding the success that they seek. And remember, only you can define what your success looks like.
Not me, not the Internet, nobody else. So what I'm trying to do here is not hold you to my standards. I'm trying to help you reach your goals with your photography.
In fact, just to give you an example, when I shared tonight's topic on social media today, a photographer responded with a comment, and I'm gonna quote it here. I'm not going to out the photographer, but I'm going to quote this. I might have to tune in for this one. I find it to be extremely competitive here in I'll leave the town name out to protect the guilty. This photographer went on to say, though, even though there's some of us that talk to each other like friends, but there are many others that just put up their noses to other photographers and kind of shut them out. That was the first comment.
So I responded and I said, listen, I know your area, and it's not actually very competitive at all. In my opinion, that the challenge is you just don't know the photographers there that are making the big bucks, and that's because those photographers are smart enough not to compete. But here's the kicker. This photographer added in another comment, joe Edelman, you weren't wrong in that statement. I mean, I don't compete to be the cheapest anymore.
I got out of that mindset that I had to be the cheapest to get the work. And he finished by saying, far too many people at the bottom, so move to the middle and the top, and there's far less competition. There unquote. And there you have it.
Like so many photographers, this photographer knows his competition. This photographer is focused on his competition and aware of how much of it exists and who they are and what they do. So that brings the question, why are photographers so damn competitive? And please, this isn't some kumbaya conversation where we should all get along. But no, this is about you, focusing on you and your success. The question about why are photographers so competitive? I used to think that it was just like a machismo or a mari macho thing, right? But I've learned over the years, especially while feathering new photographers, more often than not, competition, it's an excuse.
It can even be a kind of selfinflicted trap that so many photographers fall into. And look, I see it every day, photographers. In fact, it's in the chat. So whoever typed this in the chat already, I'm sorry, I know you were part kidding, but I see it. Every DIY photographers talk about how hard it is to make a buck because they have to compete with every Tom, Dick and Harry. It with a camera or worse yet, a smartphone.
I hear photographers constantly talking about how they shoot a particular style or maybe they overpower the sun or they offer a specific package because their competition does it. And it's popular, especially on instagram. And that list just goes on and on.
You've all heard these things. All of these things. All of them is just excusing laziness. It's excusing failure and mediocrity. These photographers that use these excuses or make these statements, these photographers put more effort into watching what others are doing instead of improving what they do for themselves and for their customers sake. I even saw articles just in the past week in the photography blogs telling photographers how to compete with other photographers.
Look, all these articles do is stress people out by convincing them that they've got to become marketing geniuses if they want to get ahead. I promise you, you don't. Now, here's a statement, bold statement. Don't hate. Hear me out.
I don't have competition as a photographer, I'm proud of that. I haven't had competition for a very long time. Now, does that mean that I'm better than everybody else? Heck no. Far from it. Come on.
Does that mean that I'm just lucky? No, not at all. It means I've learned to be practical and I work hard. John Wuth, thank you so much for the super chat. I sincerely appreciate it.
Let me read you a quote every now and then. You know, I like to throw a quote in. This one really fits. It's from the automaker Henry Ford. It's kind of very telling quote. The competitor to be feared is the one who never bothers about you at all, but goes on making his business better all the time. So let me give you a little history about me with competition to set this up for you, because this will maybe make some of you feel a little bit better about your predicament.
I am very competitive by nature. I gotta tell you right now. It drives me insane that my grandson can beat me at cornhole game after game after game. I mean, I don't think I ever let my son win at anything after he hit the age of six. He had to earn his wins. He might say it was probably more like the age of four, but we'll see.
Look, these things, they're competitions where we keep score. They're based on accomplishments, like scoring a goal, hitting a ball, winning a race. That's not the same as the competition we're talking about here. But here's the thing. That kind of competitive nature winning it was actually a very large part of my early photography career when I worked as a photojournalist.
I was blessed to work in newspapers in the late 1970s and early 1980s, which was the heyday of photo journalism. And back then, photos were used big and often in newspapers and magazines. Spot news, fires, accidents, shootings, whatever.
Spot news was an essential part of the news mix for any small town newspaper here in the US. And I'm proud to say I excelled at being first on the scene and getting photos that no other media outlet had. But here's the thing.
Landscapes, portraits, weddings, events, products, food, pretty much every other genre of photography is not competitive like photojournalism, right? If you are one of the folks that struggle with competition, I want you to remember these six words, and I seriously would encourage you repeat these six words daily as a mantra. Competition is a selfinflicted problem. Six words. Competition is a selfinflicted problem. Look, here's the bottom line, folks. Straight talk. I know I'm going to step on some toes here, but I'm going to give it real.
The idea of keeping up with your competition is ridiculous. Now, come on, work with me for a minute. Just open your mind and think about this. When you got hooked on photography, when the bug bit, was it because somebody told you to get hooked on photography? Of course not. So why would you let someone else dictate what your behavior should be, how you should shoot, how you should run your business, any of those things? Why would you do that? The solution to all this is really pretty simple.
Honest. There is only one you. You are the only person who can see the world through your eyes. You are unique, but you have to choose to embrace that uniqueness and indeed, explore it. So, given that you are unique, you can't argue that that's a fact. Why would you choose to follow a trend to be a part of a bigger crowd? Why would you structure your business in ways that match what other companies are doing? I mean, come on. If you've ever used a copying machine,
you are well aware that a copy is never as good as the original. Heck, even if you can do it better than the original, which most can't, you're still going to have a ton of work to get your version to stand out in the crowd. By doing what everyone else is doing, you are, by default, making it harder to succeed. By doing what everyone else is doing, you always look to either side, what's this guy doing? What's that guy doing? Instead of looking ahead at the potential opportunities. By doing what everybody else is doing, you are choosing to have competition. And again, keeping it real.
In my opinion, choosing to have competition is also lazy at the same time. But it's a fool's kind of laziness. Sorry. Now, let's put a pause right there. Let's break that down, because if you're paying attention, it should sound like I just contradicted myself, right? We've already established the most significant advantage that you have in your photography is that no other human being sees the world the same way that you do. Okay? So if you combine that fact with genuinely creative work, work that reflects your vision, your ideas, and you add in, here comes a tough part.
Excellent technical skills. In other words, foundational knowledge of photography and an outstanding client experience. So if you combine your uniqueness with genuinely creative work that reflects your vision and adds in excellent technical skills, and you provide an outstanding client experience, by default, you will have images with a higher perceived value that will create greater demand.
But look, that paragraph right there, that's the rub. I just said it would take creativity on top of excellent technical skill and an outstanding client experience. And so many of you are frustrated that you don't feel you're creative enough. And so many of you don't really want to have to get into the weeds with the technical stuff, and so many of you don't really want to have to do the whole touchyfeely client experience.
Look, no photographer ever got hooked on photography because they wanted to provide a great customer experience. Like, seriously. OVF course not. Many, and I mean many photographers today would rather not put in the effort to learn the foundational skills of photography. I mean, why should you when you can go and watch a YouTube video and in less than ten minutes figure out how everyone is doing that cool new trend? John, I'm going to come back to your comment there because I feel that you're horribly wrong, but I want to help you and try and give some context because your opinion as you've offered it, it can be useful to watch what others are doing so you can find the gaps and things they miss and explore those areas. No, nobody picked up a camera for that purpose, John.
Nobody's creative for that purpose. No, it's wasted energy, and the science proves it. I'll get to it, folks, seriously, like, do yourself favor, hold your opinions because I'm not going to listen to your opinions. What I'm telling you tonight is science based.
You're intelligent people. You have an option. You can listen and you can walk away and say, edelman's a moron, or you can listen and consider it and grow from it. But I'm not going to debate you. This is my classroom.
Okay, look, so many photographers, a lot of you that are here, I've seen the comments go by already. So many of you think that you have to shoot what you shoot because that's what every other photographer in your area shoots, or that's what all the photographers and your social media feeds are shooting, and they get lots of likes with those pictures. So many photographers build their websites like every other photographer. They include the same information. In fact, sadly, a lot of photographers even use the same words that the other photographers use because that's what all the other photographers used. And I'm a photographer, not a writer.
So many photographers buy their gear because some influencer on YouTube says it's the greatest gear ever made instead of doing actual research. Watching an influencer is not research. Go look up the word influencer. Watching an influencer is just that, watching an influencer.
Research is comparing the specs, learning what those words in the specs mean, because a lot of times own it. You've looked at specs and didn't understand half the words. That's okay if you take the time to learn the words because they apply to that piece of gear that you're about to spend thousands of dollars for, thousands of dollars without knowing what that stuff is. Wow. Okay.
Research is comparing those specs. It's learning what they mean. It's visiting a store, a physical store, and trying the gear before you buy it.
And look, the same rules apply. Even if you don't have a local store you could purchase from an online retailer that has a good return policy and accomplish the same thing. So you see, honey, competition as a photographer, it's a lazy choice. Period. It is a choice to not be creative. It is a choice to do something that other photographers do instead of pushing your creative boundaries and exploring new and uncharted ideas.
If your everyday focus is on how do I warn up the other photographers? Then you're not focused on improving your work and creating demand for your work. Instead, you're thinking about their work and their company instead of your own. So the solution to this is both easy and challenging all at the same time as it often is. You need to do you. What does that mean? Look, these other photographers on either side of you, you have no control over what they do.
None. But you do have control over what you do and how you do it and how you shoot and what your images look like. So instead of focusing on this perceived competition, focus on the things and the people that will help you succeed. And I'm going to give a little bit of leeway here and I want to add some other tips in. If you're a person who can't let go of the idea of being competitive in business, the first thing I would say off the cuff, get myself in trouble.
But then maybe you should consider therapy because it's going to get in your way. But at a minimum, understand that your advantage as a photographer, as a business person, doesn't come from playing keep up with the other photographers, right? And that's simply because you're taking a lot of time to look left, look right, and then change course to try and keep up. That's not how you get an advantage. You get an advantage by being you. Do. You follow your vision, develop a style and a service offering that is beyond compare, period. You see, one of the things that you have to realize, if you follow me for a while, you've heard me say this before, okay? At a 500 foot level, the key to making money as a photographer or building an audience as a photographer, this doesn't have to be about money.
Remember back to the beginning. You define what success is. Not me, not anybody else, you. But the key to making that success happen in today's world is do what you do to the best of your ability. Keep pushing, keep striving to grow, to improve, to do better.
But do what you do to the best of your ability and then find the people dumb enough to pay you for it or to follow you. Now, I like to say it with that dumb word and just to get people's attention, but look, sorry, go all the way back history here, folks. This is a Joe making crap up because it sounds cool history, go back to the Grand Master artists.
How many hundreds of years do we have to go back for that? What did they do? They found people that were dumb enough, if we use my phrase, to put a roof over their heads, give them a place to work, put clothes on their back, food on the table, support them in exchange for their work. So, yes, those artists didn't make a ton of money, but they found their audience. So the challenge is like, for instance, the photographer who made the comments that I read in the beginning, he knows all about the stuck up photographers who don't help other photographers and turn their nose up and don't be a bottom feeder net. But it's an amazing amount of information to know about other photographers and not focusing on his work. And is it unique, right? That's where you lose out. So, unfortunately, last piece and then we'll get to the Q and A.
So if you have questions tonight, feel free to type way now's the time. If you have questions about what I've had to say and something doesn't make sense, by all means I'll answer it. Okay? I'm just not going to debate anybody.
But if you have other things that you're working on, which I hope you do photographically, come on, let's solve some problems. That's the fun stuff, right? That's where we learn. But the last piece here, right? This comes down to the same lesson that actually I teach almost every week. And the same lesson that's built into almost every single topic that I speak about.
If you want to find success, you define it. I used to have my definition of success that I would give to people, and I stopped doing that. You know, what cause who the hell am I to tell you what your success should be? That's up to you.
But I guarantee you the statement I'm making, it applies to your definition just as well as it applies to mine. I guarantee it. If you want that success, you got to be the one to do the hard work.
And the hard work includes the basics, the foundational, skills. You've got to be honest with yourself. We live in a time period where the technology is incredible. I am so blessed. I mean, I think right now, today what is today's day? Wednesday, October 12, 2022. I think this is the coolest time in history to be involved with photography.
The technology that we have available is amazing. And the technology is pushing ahead so fast, it's incredible. And before anybody starts trashing AI. I think AI is awesome.
Sure, it's going to present some problems. And I don't mean, oh, it's going to make it harder for photographers to make money. No, because you're already anticipating competition.
Why would you anticipate competition? Do you and AI can't? Do you you because they're not putting you in the AI unless you participated with the companies that wrote the Adios. You're not in the AI. All those other photographers that are following the crowd, doing the trends there in the AI oops a lot of you just realized you've been contributing to the AIS. Oh my God, what a mistake. The technology we have is incredible. The technology we have, it creates a false sense of ability because you can pick up a camera knowing nothing about photography.
Hell, you can pick up a smartphone knowing nothing. And you can take pretty damn good pictures. And if you are really of a creative mindset, you can take really good pictures. But can you do it consistently without the foundational skills? Nope. Not with this. Not with an expensive camera.
No, you can't. It's the foundational skills that create a situation where you have no competition. Because with the foundational skills added to creativity and hard work, you can create whatever you want, however you want, and make it completely different.
And the last piece of advice on all this, don't get in to the trap of thinking that and I completely lost my choice. I'm not going to lie. I had this really good last point that I want to throw in, and it's gone.
So the last couple of minutes was stuff that I thought of beyond what I wrote. So listen, gang, obviously this is a topic that I am I'm very, very passionate about it because I literally when I was younger and I gave you my history, photography was competitive for me, man. Even just the idea. Like, if you had a question about photography, I'm not proud of this, but I'm going to own Rim Light. Like the person who left the comment on my Facebook post, talked about local photographers that won't help people and that kind of stuff.
When I was in my twenty s and thirty s, I was that guy. I was told that guy. My only defense. I started out in the newspaper business. It was all about competition.
And that stuck with me. Anybody with a camera was my competition. And I was going to help somebody.
You're kidding me. Not unless I was getting something out of it. I'm not proud of that. But it kind of almost came instinctively that way, which it does for a lot OVF people, right. That's the point.
But after nine plus years now of teaching and educating and really taking the time, because a big part of teaching and educating and creating all the material that I do for you, a big part of it's stepping back. It's stepping back and looking at the fact I've been doing this for 52 years with a camera and stepping back and looking like, okay, this is what I take for granted, but what's really going on here? And as you all know, I'm married to a cognitive psychologist. So another big piece of it is really looking at the psychology of why do people respond that way, think that way, et cetera. And I promise you, listen, you can go look up don't take my word, flor it. I'm just some guy on YouTube.
I say that all the time. Go look up a lot of the interviews from Warren Buffett, one of the richest men in the world, right? He actually talks about competition a lot. And of course, obviously he's talking about it in the financial world. But I promise you, if you go look up those interviews, he basically tells you the same thing I did. Just switch the words finances and money and companies to photography, etc.
It's the same stuff. It really actually does come down to all of it comes down to human nature, and it comes down to some psychology to help understand it better. But you'll find that the most successful photographers in the world actually do very little marketing because they don't need to. They create the demand. But part of what made them the most successful photographers in the world is that they put in the hard work to learn the foundational skills. They put in the hard work to be able to problem solve consistently and effectively with their cameras.
And if they're doing client facing work like portraits and weddings, they are very aware that in order to make sure people see value in what they do, it's not just about their pictures, it's about the experience that they provide to their clients. And I gotta tell you folks, even if you're a landscape photographer who wants to sell big fine art prints online, if you think that that gets you out of having to provide a good client experience, you're not going to be making a lot of money with your print sales online. You're just not.
In fact, I would argue that selling landscape and wildlife imagery online, well, by the way, there are a lot of photographers that do it very effectively. But I would argue that the client experience piece is actually elevated in terms of what you need to make sure is happening simply because there is a disconnect. You're not standing in front of your client. So you actually have to work a little bit harder to make sure that that client experience is above board. Okay? So again, something for you think about for those of you that are here tonight because you thought we were going to be talking about, like, Godox and LEDs and all that stuff, I apologize.
I promise you I'll be back to that next week. But this is important, and I see I got a bunch of questions, so I'm going to scroll back to the beginning OVF the chat and I'll come back down through them but I promise you get your head wrapped around this give us some thinking. If you're not a member of my top knowledge group join the top knowledge community and we'll continue that conversation okay? Because trust me. I know that a lot of you have things kind of what we say built in ingrained habits that maybe you weren't taught it but you've lived with those habits it's the way you've been doing things for a long time so I know that a lot of what I told you tonight.
It's kind OVF like I don't know. Like it sounds cool joe always makes it sound cool but I don't know about that. I promise you it's the real deal.
This is not something I made up again, I'm some dude on YouTube so don't take my word for it. Go and do your own research you'll find plenty of resources that will teach you how to be competitive and they're all teaching you to be lazy because look. If you're willing to work hard enough you can take the competitive route and grind it out and spend lots of money on marketing and advertising and invest a ridiculous amount of time ultimately selling the same crap that everybody else is selling is that why you picked up a camera? I don't think it is, that's my point. Okay, alright, so going back to the beginning here again, I'm going to kind of head all the way back and see what we've got for comment jeremy Carter but everyone and I know he's potentially kidding so I'm not going to dump on Jeremy here he was here early and we were going back and forth but everyone is a photographer with their phone.
I do think it's kind of hard to drum up business for senior portraits when these kids think they can just get their friend to take pictures with a phone and that's why I wanted to put your comment up Jeremy, so I would agree with you. No, it's not hard to drum up business for senior portraits because number one, you have to remember that the seniors themselves, the teenagers, they're not spending the money in the first place so the challenge with senior portrait photography is that you actually have two clients in one, right? It's generally going to be the kid who is one either going to find the photographer or two. Who is going to sign off on mom or dad's find of the photographer so that means that. Yes. The work that you are doing.
It needs to appeal to those teenagers while at the same time being something that mom and dad would love to have hanging on the wall right. But number one. That's also about marketing and drumming up business that's not competition but where so many senior portrait photographers fall flat is they're not working to provide something that's unique they're not working to provide a really unique experience. They just want to like shoot and burn. Here's the files. Good luck. Yada yada right? They're doing the same stuff that everybody else is doing.
They're going to go out, they're going to take pictures in the park or dress the kid in their sports uniform, in their band uniform, take out their Go Dots 8600, make it two stops more powerful than the background. Yada yada. And it's the same old crap. All right, that's not going to make a whole lot of money, right? It's just not.
So scrolling down here, spinning wheels, photography actually that's my quote. That's my line here. Where DIY it go? I just lost it. There it is. It's not a personal competition.
You always say, Joe, your next shot is your best shot. The competition is to make each one of your ranges better and right at a personal level, it absolutely is. And even at a business level, Dang, I hate to tell you and that's why I've tried to talk about both the business and the non business parts of this competition thing. But especially at a business level, the minute that you become complacent, meaning like, okay, I've got a good thing and this is it. This is what I'll do for the next one ever.
Trust me. That's when your business starts to fall apart. That's when people start to become disinterested. That's when the perceived value goes down and I promise you that's when it will really start to feel like work for you big time.
Okay? All right, so let me see here. Like most creative fields my spouse and I are of the mindset be different in some way, no gain and beam just like everybody else. And believe me that is absolutely the case. You simply make your life harder by doing what everybody else is doing.
Okay Dan, I've had people comment that they knew a shot was mine because they recognize my style and Dan, that's exactly what you want. I mean that's the comment that I get routinely with my work. You want people to know you for your work, not for what you do. Okay, now I want to go back since I dumped on John in the middle of my conversation.
John is part of my mentoring group and I want to make sure that I get this message across clear here. So John typed in it can be useful to watch what others are doing so you can find the gaps and the things they miss in the spoiler there's areas. John, here's why that is a horrible idea. Science by the way, brain science. If you don't believe me, I'll let you talk to my wife the next time we do one of our consultations for the mentoring program and she'll confirm what I am saying. What you're suggesting is the equivalent of learning all the rules so that you can break the rules once you've put in the time to see everything that's there.
Even though your intent I got your intent. Look for the gaps. Look for the opportunities and the gaps. The problem of it is you're building up a box.
You're building up this wall in front of you. This is what's there. This is what people do. And you're making it harder to see the opportunity. It's always easier to find opportunity with a blank slate. You know, people routinely here. This is one of Joe's little things he runs into all the time, especially in the Allentown East in Bethlehem, Lehigh Valley area where I live.
I will run into photographers or meet a new photographer they don't know. And the most common thing is in the course of a ten minute conversation, they'll name 15 photographers. Do you know so and so? Do you know so and so? Do you know this guy? You're not that guy. You ever know this guy? I don't know any of them. And I always feel like, God, am I some kind of jerk that I don't know all these people? Or am I just like, people don't want to be my people don't know me? What's up there? Why are these people? And I realized after a while I got to stop letting it bother me.
Because here's the thing. Even with Instagram, Facebook, all those things, I don't death scroll through Instagram looking at pictures, that to me is the most boring damn thing in the universe. Why would I do that? Why would I want to death scroll through picture after picture after picture after picture after picture after picture.
Why? Why would I want to do that? I didn't pick up a camera to look at somebody else's pictures again. I told you, I'm going to keep it real tonight, gang. One of the things that a lot of you don't realize about yourselves I'm not getting any names. You just need to do some soul searching and be honest with yourself. A lot of your frustration with competition, it's actually jealousy. Yeah.
Quote me, jealousy. Because you're seeing other people having the success that you would like to have because they've put in the work, but maybe you don't like what they do. Maybe you don't like their outlet. Maybe you don't think they've worked hard enough, but clearly they have cause they've got what you want.
So this competition thing, jealousy. Grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. Look, I've been there. Younger Joe will own it. It's kind of a human nature thing, right? But that's the point.
Be honest with yourself. So yeah. John unfortunately, science says that's not the ultimate way to really find inspiration.
And if you actually look up things like, oh, gosh, I'm completely losing the words. It's a creativity process. I'll find you the words and I'll share them later. John but there are methods of kind of idea creation that really are based they're very effective. They're used by major corporations. They're used by advertising agencies, are used by creators around the world, and they are designed to kind of eliminate that what's in front of us kind of thing.
It's a no barriers thought process, and then you're filtering from there based upon what it is you're trying to do, et cetera. So, yeah, just looking at a bunch of what other people are doing is honestly, it's entertainment. We can call it entertainment. That's what it is. But you're not learning from it at all. You're just not.
Okay, tmstone eight three five. Copying others is also rampant in IP. Yeah, I mean, it is human nature.
It's shortcuts, it's laziness. Unfortunately, it's just what it is. So let's see. Crystal, speaking of working on improving your art, do I do portfolio reviews? I do. Crystal, if you're in all town, reach out to me, like message me on social media or shoot me an email from my website.
I'm a phone person, so just make sure I get your phone number and let's talk. Absolutely. Okay. Let's see. Daniel, I need to arrange portfolio shoots. Previously, I've only worked with performers.
I want to approach makeup artists, customers. What do you offer creators like those to make it beneficial for them? Well, actually, Daniel, number one, it depends on the quality of your work. Hopefully you have work that kind OVF matches the quality level of the person you're reaching out to and then simply doing a trade. I do have two videos on my website, and Daniel, I'm pretty sure you're a member of Todd Knowledge. So if you are, shoot me a message in Todd Knowledge.
Or actually, there is a post here. Let's do this, because, Daniel, I know you're in tod knowledge. In Todd knowledge, daniel, you can access it in the community center. There is a post right here.
It's the top one right now from Michael Roberts. He's asking about working with hair makeup artist on location. Okay, that's cool. That's not your question. I know that, but I did respond to his comment.
He mentions the videos. Give me about an hour. When we wrap up, I will link the two videos. I have two YouTube videos that go into a lot of detail about finding makeup artists, working with makeup artists, communicating with makeup artists.
Also like being a good guy, even if you're doing a trade, giving them a kit. See, remember, if you're doing a trade, you can use your cameras over and over and over again, and it doesn't cost you a dime. The makeup artist, all the makeup that goes on the model's face, they've got to go out and replace.
Right? So offer them a kit fee. Also, make sure, Daniel, let's say that you talk about portfolio shoots. Your idea for a picture may be this really cool headtotoe fashion shot with flowy dress and all this stuff, and the makeup artist spends an hour and a half, and does this really crazy creative makeup. Your full length picture is useless to them in their portfolio.
They may think it's a really cool picture, but it ain't going to give them the work because it doesn't show the quality and the detailing in their work. So if you're doing a trade and honestly, in my opinion, even if you're paying them, you do your shot. That's the first priority. You get it and you nail it.
But then do some closeups. You don't have to reset all your lights. You don't have to redo everything, but do some closeups so that they can have some images that are going to show off the detail behind their work. Okay? All right. Also, Daniel goes on to ask, and how do you convince newer costumers makeup artists, etc.
E that there's value in professionallooking images of their work? Well, first of all, you don't tell them that their images aren't professional. You got to take a little bit of a soft approach. But anyway, I'll tell you what, make sure that you are at the community meet up tomorrow night, Thursday night in Talk Knowledge.
And this is actually a great conversation have, and I'll go into detail and I'm not going to have enough time to get into detail on it tonight. And so for the rest of you, if you're interested in that conversation, you've got till tomorrow night to get signed up for Todd Knowledge. The links below, by the way, if you wait till November 1, it's going to cost you money to get in. Like, no games telling you how it is.
So if you want to get in for free and if you want to be grandfathered without having to pay, you've got two weeks to do it. Okay? So let's just see here. Allen, thank you so much for the super chat, man.
Hey, I really appreciate it. Okay, let's see. Still scrolling down here, TC. No, I'm sorry, TC. Every time I see this, like, Tony Chelsea goes through my mind that I know it's not Tony Chelsea.
Not knowing the foundational skills is the only reason I can't make money in photography. I can get good pictures, but I can't guarantee all my work. And you know what, TC? I probably shouldn't make this analogy, but what the hell, right? It's kind of like, what does it say about alcohol? The first step is admitting you have a problem. The fact that you are at least willing to say that out loud in a public forum, honestly, that's a good thing because unlike a lot of the people that are here, TC, that are watching this, you are at least being honest with yourself. And it's not that you kind of have to out yourself to the world.
Okay, I commend you for being brave enough to say that, right? But the fact that you are aware of it and the fact that you are being honest with yourself about that, that's the first step. It really is. Because, number one, even if you don't have the time in your life to put in the extra hours to really get the foundational skills in and say, you know what? In the next couple of months, I really want to up my game, maybe you don't have the time. The benefit of being honest about where you are and what you know, what you don't know is that all the pictures you take in the next six months, you're not going to be beating yourself up because my work is not as good as those ten other people that are on Instagram that I follow, and I love their photography.
Right. So, seriously, congratulations for being honest with that and most importantly, for being honest with yourself about that. Daniel, thank you for the super chat.
I'm sorry that went by and I didn't see it. Thank you very much. So, anyway, yeah, I mean, I think it's very good to be able to admit that to yourself. Okay, let's see.
Cory, how do you feel about South Dakota's new competition show pertaining off? It's a show right out of the box. That's a problem. But here we go. His show pertaining to this subject, does it just feed into the problem, or do you think it's good for pushing creative boundaries? I'm not going to lie to you, Corey. I know nothing about it.
You have to be a fan to follow somebody. I'm not a fan. I don't follow YouTubers. I couldn't tell you. Right. So, Crystal, crystal, you and I definitely have to have a conversation.
I hate marketing. So do I. Honest, I'm kind of good at it. Like, I'm one of those people, you can hate me for this.
I'm kind of lucky. Like, the concepts, I get them pretty easy. But trust me, it's a pain in the ass. Just is. Right? But here's the cool part, Crystal. That's why you take my advice from tonight and you forget this competition crap, and you make your photography unique, and you make it you.
And literally, you do that and you provide an amazing client experience. Then the marketing, 90% of it, I promise you, 90% of it will take care of itself. It really will. Okay? But again, the key is you got to be putting out great work.
That's the bottom line. So let's see. Daniel, most of the makeup artists and costumers, your approach already have access to production images from the live shows. They dress well. Yeah, but Daniel, that's the thing.
Number one, if you're going after people that are doing high end work, live shows, et cetera, okay, you can't go after them and say, hey, it's cool to create with you. You've got to present them with an idea that they're going to salivate over, okay? You've got to give them an idea that is going to make them say, whoa. But at the same time, I'll give you a little piece of advice. Daniel, you better be damn good at what you're doing if you're going to go after those people. Otherwise, you're going to develop a really bad reputation right out OVF the box, because those people have worked with the best of the best. So my sincere advice to you, just don't do that.
I'm not kidding. And I don't mean that I'm not evaluating your work. I'm just saying, look, let's keep it real. If I were you, I would start out by finding a young makeup artist it's right out of school, who shows some promise, but is not the most amazing makeup artist in the world yet. Because here's the thing. When you watch those videos I'm talking about Daniel, you'll understand better working with a makeup artist if you're going to develop a really, really good work and consistent output.
It's a relationship, okay? You've got to be able to get to a point. Communication is everything. It's everything. You've got to be able to communicate the way that makeup artist is going to understand it.
They've got to understand you. You've got to be on the same page. Otherwise, trust me, from experience, not being able to communicate with somebody you're working with is a nightmare. It is an absolute nightmare.
So find somebody that's young, find somebody that's fresh out of the gate and develop that relationship and teach each other. And the cool part is, then you're going to have somebody that's going to be readily available, who is going to want to work with you routinely and also going to save you a ton of money until you're at a point where you're getting paid by clients to do the various work. Okay. TW something I had to learn a long time ago. You can only compare yourself to yourself when it comes to success and growth, and that applies to all professional areas.
Amen. It absolutely does. Okay. Gator, same thing.
My greatest competition is with myself to do better than me. Yep. Daniel kitfi.
Wouldn't have thought of that. You're very welcome. Kit feed. Nothing else. It's a good gesture.
I mean, that's really what it comes down to, right? It's a good gesture. Okay. John mary, do I have a link for the online program? I'm not sure what 1024 is your thing? Yes, john it's in the description below the video. Okay. It's 1022, October 22. It's a Saturday. Okay. Let'S see. Daniel yeah, I know the character counts
a little rough, but, hey, it's not a problem. Seriously. TC I turn down work because I can't guarantee my work, and I say that to them, and honestly, I guarantee you people appreciate that.
Honestly, I think that's very wise. Okay. Awesome. All right, gang. Wow. I've got four minutes here. I thought it was overtime, because I'm usually overtime. Crystal okay, you've got it. Good.
Okay. Yes. Sometimes when it freezes, the easiest thing to do is just refresh. Gang so, just a couple of last words since we're just about out of time and I'm caught up on the questions.
This never happens, so I need to take advantage of it for those of you that may not know about Cog knowledge since I've been talking about it. So a couple OVF things you need to know before you run off and try and sign up to number one, right, when you go to sign up, you're going to have to fill out a little questionnaire. It's called an application.
You're going to fill that out, and as long as you fill it all out, you'll get access right away. But part two, after you fill out that questionnaire, you're going to have to upload a profile picture of yourself. It needs to have your face. This is a community to understand this is not a social media thing.
So don't come in saying this like a Facebook group, because it ain't no Facebook group. You will have to upload a picture of yourself that shows your face. You will have to share a link to your Instagram profile or to your website where we can see your photography. That is only fair so that when you comment on someone else's, we're not going to evaluate it, you're not going to get reviewed.
But when you comment on someone else's pictures, good, bad or otherwise, it's only fair that they can get some context as to, well, who the hell are you and what do you know? Easiest way to do that, look at your photography, right? So nobody's getting judged, trust me. There are people that have like, ten pictures on their entire profile. There are people with some really bad pictures on their profile, but they're learning. That's why they're there. So you share the link.
You're going to have to answer a few more questions when you're in that last final step right before the community. Things like tell us a little bit about yourself, how long you been shooting? And then you're going to select groups. There are two sets of groups you're going to select. One, it's simply, what camera brand do you use? Don't worry. No, hate to any camera brand. They're all listed. You pick your group.
Two, you're going to tell me, just by checking off the boxes, all the different genres of photography that you are interested in, that you enjoy. Okay. And you pick off as many as apply. That will get you in. Crystal.
The group is Podnowledge.com. I'm going to give you the URL here in the chat. Just bear with me 1 second. I'm typing it, which should never do, but we're going to type it togknowledge.com to get it right. I did. Nope. See, that's why we never typed, because I left out two important parts. There you go.
There's a URL. So if you go ahead and hit that, the page will tell you a little bit more about it. But we have a lot of cool stuff in there. Crystal and.
Everybody else some fun stuff. There's literally a quote of the day. More importantly, there's a photo share channel where you share your photos.
There is an image help. If there's something that you're working on and you're not getting the results you want, you can post it and you'll get a video feedback from me about how to do it. Okay. There's a photo education channel, which is like every three days, it's a new article and a new video from me. There are interviews with famous photographers that I have done latest photo news, latest software news, and gear news, all aggregated from all of the photography blogs within moments after it's posted live, all in this community.
So you don't have to go to five different websites to get all your news. It's all right there. It's all in one place.
We do weekly video meetups, which are literally a social kind of thing. But the best part is, each week we wind up tackling a different topic. People sometimes will have images that they want to show off, or that they have questions about, or they'll have questions about shoots that they have coming up.
So it's very much kind of like a camera club online. It is social. You will get to know people from all over the world.
Right now, we have people in 36 different countries that are part of todd knowledge, which is also really cool. But the best part of it is it's not like a camera club. It's not like a lot of the online stuff where your stuff gets critiqued. If you don't want to get critiqued, you don't have to enter any competitions. And I mean, like printer, image competitions, none of that crap.
It's a learning community. That's the idea. It's a safe, supportive place to learn, right? Okay, so that being said, time for me to go, right? Number one, tough topics tonight. I really do appreciate all of you listening, and I hope you will take the time to consider it for your sake, okay? I think that a lot of you honestly could benefit from a little bit of an adjustment with that. And I think, honestly, it'll take a lot of the stress away from what you're doing to try and accomplish your goals, right? So, as always, thanks for watching. I do hope you found value. And please remember, you're not getting any younger.
You've got less time left than you did yesterday. So go pick up your camera and shoot something, because your next shot gang. It's your best shot. Adios. Take care.