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Change is Constant

Markets change, trends change, buying and selling opportunities change. That means if your business model (be it formal or in your head) is the same as it was three years ago it’s likely you’re working with a competitive handicap. And that means if your goal is continued success as a photographer you have to (you guessed it) change.

The very real, and very bottom line, need for continued evolution applies to both commercial and fine art photographers. Let’s be specific about changing and evolving versus merely adapting. If you only adapt you are reacting rather than being proactive, and are potentially missing the business success that can come with real change.

One way to respond to and, in fact, anticipate change is to initiate change in yourself and in your work. (Remember: whether you’re a successful commercial or fine art photographer, there are always other very creative, and always changing, people actively seeking to take away your business.) And one of the easiest, quickest and most fun ways to initiate change in your work is to take a workshop.

Remember that “change” often implies “different”. So don’t choose a workshop about what you already know. No. You want a workshop that introduces you to a new style, technique or philosophical approach to your creativity.

For example: Still life photographer
A fine art photographer whose core style incorporates still life considers what may come from a workshop on street photography. Quite a stretch. Yet, as I discovered during my workshop in Cuba, street photography offers numerous still life photo opportunities once I started training myself to look for them. They were all around me. It just took several days before I began to see them because they appeared in a different form of still life than I had previously worked with. The workshop really changed the way I viewed still-life opportunities around me.

still life

Another example: Commercial Photographer
If you are a successful food photographer you might take a workshop on landscape photography. Two seemingly unrelated subjects. Yet, here’s where the change comes in. In the process you the food photographer discover little gems in the landscape workshop that you can directly apply to your “bread and butter” work. Perhaps you are inspired to incorporate landscapes into your food layouts, and this new approach and style refreshes the interest of your clients.

Now that I’ve introduced you to the broad value of using workshops to explore new areas in your photography, let me briefly point out other less obvious but equally important advantages of workshops.

Other Advantages of Using Workshops as Catalysts for Change

First: workshops are structured. Someone else has already figured out how to get from A to Z, and new, clearly defined routes are always valuable resources. Second: workshops force a commitment on your part. Once you pay the fee, you have financially and mentally made a commitment to explore new opportunities. Third: workshops offer immediate, power-packed, focused and concentrated learning (see A to Z, and reapply). Fourth: an instructor in a well-led workshop will help you fine-tune the learning experience so that it may better complement your existing work. Finally: there is a great and intangible value in the synergy you experience with fellow attendees, and this synergy often leads to unexpected and change-laden “Aha” moments.

My Challenge for You

So here is your “Change Challenge”—make a commitment that by February 1st you will sign up for a workshop that takes place before June 2011. DO IT NOW! You will effect a change in your marketing opportunities, expand your creative vision, and have great fun while you’re at it.