On Wednesday, we will feature articles from some of the most inspiring personalities in various creative fields. Watch out for excellent posts by leaders in photography, business and social media marketing.
Lately, I’m convinced that Scott Kelby is a genius who has somehow devised a system to attract all the nicest and most talented people in the industry to work with him. Case in point: R.C. Concepcion. R.C. is an inspiring education and curriculum developer for the National Association of Photoshop Professionals, co-host of the D-Town TV videocast for DSLR shooters, and a best-selling author of Get Your Photography on the Web. R.C.’s laundry list of accolades is enviable – but he’s also a really nice old-school gentleman who enjoys connecting with people through their passions and of course, photography. Here, R.C. muses on his experience navigating through Princess Leias and Tie Interceptors (don’t ask me!) at a Star Wars Convention.
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Post + Photos By RC Concepcion
I was chatting with Scott a couple of days ago about my experiences at the Star Wars Celebration that just happened in Orlando, FL – and he thought it a good idea to share them in a post. I walked into this opportunity not really being a Star Wars fan. I’d seen the second half of the movies as a kid, but never really got around to watching the three prequels. For the most part, I don’t watch a lot of movies, so it wasn’t something that I felt I was missing out on.
Why I Went
I’m a passionate person by nature – because of that, I find myself attached to people who are really into being passionate about things. I don’t follow sports, but I’ve always wanted to be friends with one of those superfans who paint themselves with the letter D and hang out by a stadium.
I’m the guy who drove by myself a ton of hours to go to the “RC Cola Moonpie Festival.” I love talking to people about the things that they love talking about. The sparkle in a person’s eye is just awesome – I guess it’s why I enjoy environmental portraiture as much as I do. To be able to go to a place where people get dressed up to pay tribute to something that they love was just something I couldn’t pass up.
I packed a bunch of lights in my car and headed out to the convention. I was prepared for anything – from small lights to a pack and head scenario. More often than not, I’m usually the guy that’s packing six strobes so this isn’t entirely out of character. It’s the McNally in me. Last minute – I threw my tripod in the car, not really knowing why.
A good portion of my clients are women – and as a photographer, I have found it helpful to figure out what makes each woman tick in order to reach out to your clients and take better photos with an authentic connection. Michele Miller, founder and editor of Wonderbranding, a wonderful resource for marketing to women, has an interesting story to share about how understanding female generations could help your photography business.
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Post By Michele Miller
More than anything, I just wanted to get home.
Three hours earlier, I had wrapped up another two-day Wonderbranding workshop and was concentrating on the reward of a good night’s sleep in my own bed for a change.
Judging by the number of people waiting to board, I could tell it was a full flight. I took my window seat and was soon joined by an older woman, probably in her early 70s, on the aisle. Silver hair, huge gold hoop earrings, wearing jeans and a T-shirt that said “I Love Las Vegas.”
Shortly after that, a girl of about 15 squeezed into the middle seat. She was definitely an East Coast native — long dark hair, bold makeup… dressed in a black leather bomber jacket over a skirt that resembled a ballerina’s tutu, psychedelic tights, and combat boots. She sat down, stuck the earbuds from her iPod into her ears, and with a sullen look, stared straight ahead.
About halfway through the trip, the captain made one of his usual announcements about the weather. When he had finished, the girl removed the earbuds and turned to the older woman to ask what the captain had said. At first, I didn’t pay any attention, but I soon realized that the two were engaged in a highly animated conversation. I eavesdropped with fascination for the rest of the trip (I’m good at pretending to read business magazines), as they discussed everything from where they were headed, books they were reading, fashion, makeup, and politics to where the best skateboarding parks are located in San Diego.
I thought it was interesting that the young girl had turned to the older woman to talk to rather than me. After all, I am closer to the age of her mother, I mused. Then it hit me – that’s exactly why she turned to the grandmotherly figure. These two generations have many more things in common than most people realize. A woman from the Baby Boomer generation who could very well have marched for women’s lib and peace in Vietnam, and a girl of the Millennium, the generation increasingly concerned with how to make a difference and preserve the future of the world.
Experts like David Wolfe and Ken Dychtwald have been raising the flag of marketing to boomers for some time now and rightly so, as boomers hold the purchasing power of today and tomorrow. But how about thinking ahead?
What are some ways that you can appeal to the lifestyle and core values of Boomer women and, at the same time, resonate with those same core values within the younger generation? What a way to cultivate your customer of the future!
Don’t discount the teenage and college-aged women of today, and don’t be fooled by the language they use, the color of their hair, or the style of their dress. After all, it seems like only yesterday that society was up in arms over those damned hippies.
They didn’t wear tie-dyed peasant blouses forever… now they wear T-shirts that read, “I Love Las Vegas.”
They also carry big, fat wallets.
Stop thinking about marketing to women as a “universal” theory and screw those stereotypical categories like “Soccer Moms.” It ain’t that easy. But… if you start viewing female customers as individuals and members of a generation with shared values, you’re halfway there.
John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing is one of my favorite marketing and business resources – and I love the refreshing and practical insights his articles offer. This article resonates with me as a business owner because running a photography business means I have to take into account calculated risks and balancing effective operations with the creative side of photography. He is spot on that contrary to popular belief, a successful entrepreneur is not a poker-faced risk taker – to succeed, you’ll do well to follow his 7 steps :)
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Post By John Jantsch
I’ve hung out with thousands of entrepreneurs over the last few years alone and I can tell you, they’re not who you think they are.
So much of the popular literature on entrepreneurs portrays them as some sort of gut-wrenching risk takers walking out there on the bleeding edge daring to tread where most fear. A few of those do exist, but more often than not, those are the ones who fail. What I’ve found is that successful entrepreneurs possess and grow a handful of traits that are rarely mentioned and certainly aren’t found in textbooks on the subject. I’m not sure if these traits can be learned to tell you the truth, but I do think it’s helpful if they’re understood.
In my opinion, people who naturally possess the following traits are more likely to succeed as entrepreneurs.
I’m not aware of any MBA programs that teach this, but it’s such a wonderful trait in business. To want, need to know what’s next, how something works, why people aren’t buying, or how to do something just a little faster is a trait I look for in any potential employee and one that successful entrepreneurs are almost plagued with. (Insatiable curiosity is often encumbered with boredom of the routine.)
This one throws people, but successful entrepreneurs are not any more wired to take risks than most, but they are wired to spot opportunities and possess the confidence that something, perhaps not what was originally envisioned, can be made of the opportunity. They are often better at letting something that’s clearly a bad idea go, limiting the ultimate risk.
This goes hand in hand with risk. Successful entrepreneurs enjoy the planning process, not necessarily completing a plan, but this is what makes them averse to taking foolish risks. They often so value the plan for their life that they always hold a glimmer of the vision of the business that can serve that plan.
Successful entrepreneurs are trustworthy. They keep their promises, but more than that, they are trusting. In other words, they extend trust to others and focus on results instead of blame when something goes wrong.
It’s tough to succeed long-term as an entrepreneur when you judge one or most of your actions as failed. Successful entrepreneurs have an uncanny ability to look at every misstep (and there will be plenty) as a learning opportunity. The key question is what did we learn from this as opposed to why did this fail.
I might get some challenges on this one as my research is a bit shaky here, but most of the successful entrepreneurs I’ve worked with view things from a different point of view than the general population. They can do puzzles. This includes seeing how seemingly random sets of ideas fit together in simple and elegant ways. If they excel at math, it’s probably geometry over calculus.
Here’s another one I think is misunderstood. Successful entrepreneurs I’ve met are very realistic about what’s possible and are very practical in terms of getting there. That doesn’t mean that they choke off growth by being overly cash sensitive, but it does usually mean that they have a great sense of how many units they can really move next quarter and what action steps are needed to do it.
So, are you an entrepreneur? Where do you stand on these traits?
Countless photographers have gotten into trouble with law enforcement – when you are in the face of a potentially great shot, common sense takes a backseat to the photo. I certainly am no stranger to being in situations at the wrong place and wrong time. Let’s just say I’ve trodden into the “gray” areas – and have used my feminine wiles more than once to get out of some pretty tricky situations. Still, all photogs get somewhat antsy when they see a cop and this immediately signals to them “something’s up.” Here, Photoshop Guy Dave of Kelby TV’s Ask Dave recounts an interesting encounter…
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Post By Dave Cross
There has been a number of well-publicized stories about photographers having run-ins with the police. In a number of different cases, photographers has been detained, questioned and in some cases, threatened with arrest.
Here’s a couple of examples of recent cases, as reported on the Digital Wedding Forum.
After watching those videos, I must say that although the police did seem to push things a little far and were pretty harsh, in two of the videos I watched, the photographers were being pretty hard to get along with and in one case, they almost seemed to be looking for a fight (Um, I think I’m going to take a photo of some cops while I happen to have my friend with me video taping).
I’ve had a couple of discussions with people about this whole situation and agree with the concern many raise that law enforcement people often seem to take things a little too far, a little too quickly.
So imagine my surprise when I had my own photographer/law enforcement encounter in San Jose. Here’s what unfolded…
I was walking along a downtown street with my camera over my shoulder, at this point really just walking, not really thinking about shooting. I crossed the street at a point where the lightrail system runs, realizing as soon as I got to the other side that I probably shouldn’t have walked where I did. About 30 seconds later, in my peripheral vision, I saw a sheriff’s car stop, the deputy getting out and I hear “Excuse me Sir.
“Oh boy”, I thought, “I’m going to get a jay-walking ticket.”
Instead, the officer asked, “What are you taking pictures of?” As my mind raced, thinking about harassment stories I’ve heard, I find myself becoming defensive, saying, “Nothing really. Just looking for interesting things to photograph. Haven’t taken many photos actually.” He gets closer and after a brief pause, he says, “Well, you might want to check out City Hall – it has won awards for architecture and it’s a really interesting spot to photograph.”
Now, I’m pretty much speechless until he asks, “What are you shooting?” (pointing at my camera), to which I mumble “D300.”
Officer: ”What lens?”
Me: “18 – 200.”
Well, very quickly it was clear that he was a photographer whose “real” job was a Deputy Sheriff. We chatted for about 10 minutes about studios, lighting etc., at which point he mentioned that he was still trying to learn more. So I told him about D-Town TV and our other podcasts, and he pulls out his pad to write down the name (I realized later that observers probably thought I was about to get a ticket).
Here’s where it gets even more interesting, from a small world perspective: I tell him all our podcasts are on KelbyTV.com to which he responds “Oh, I just bought a couple of Scott Kelby’s books and joined NAPP.”
We exchange business cards; he invites me to shoot at his studio next time I’m in town and I walk away thinking, “How cool was that!”
So thanks, Deputy Sheriff Robert Eng for making my law enforcement encounter have a much different ending then I imagined when I heard “Excuse me Sir.”
I grew up with successful parents who had their own businesses – perfectionism isn’t just a buzz word, it is my way of life. The paradox for many artists and photographers is, that perfectionist streak is what makes them review their thought process and consistently improve upon their work. The flip side is we can beat ourselves up over mistakes or what we perceive as imperfections. If you’re a relentless perfectionist, you and I have a lot to learn from Leo Babauta of Zen Habits – who tell us that mistakes and failures are part of what makes us continually learn and grow.
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Post By Leo Babauta
When you make a mistake, big or small, cherish it like it’s the most precious thing in the world. Because in some ways, it is.
Most of us feel bad when we make mistakes, beat ourselves up about it, feel like failures, get mad at ourselves.
And that’s only natural: most of us have been taught from a young age that mistakes are bad, that we should try to avoid mistakes. We’ve been scolded when we make mistakes — at home, school and work. Maybe not always, but probably enough times to make feeling bad about mistakes an unconscious reaction.
Yet without mistakes, we could not learn or grow.
If you think about it that way, mistakes should be cherished and celebrated for being one of the most amazing things in the world: they make learning possible, they make growth and improvement possible.
By trial and error — trying things, making mistakes, and learning from those mistakes — we have figured out how to make electric light, to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, to fly.
Mistakes make walking possible for the smallest toddler, make speech possible, make works of genius possible.
Think about how we learn: we don’t just consume information about something and instantly know it or know how to do it. You don’t just read about painting, or writing, or computer programming, or baking, or playing the piano, and know how to do them right away.
Instead, you get information about something, from reading or from another person or from observing usually… then you construct a model in your mind… then you test it out by trying it in the real world… then you make mistakes… then you revise the model based on the results of your real-world experimentation… and repeat, making mistakes, learning from those mistakes, until you’ve pretty much learned how to do something.
That’s how we learn as babies and toddlers, and how we learn as adults. Trial and error, learning something new from each error.
Mistakes are how we learn to do something new — because if you succeed at something, it’s probably something you already knew how to do. You haven’t really grown much from that success — at most it’s the last step on your journey, not the whole journey. Most of the journey was made up of mistakes, if it’s a good journey.
So if you value learning, if you value growing and improving, then you should value mistakes. They are amazing things that make a world of brilliance possible.
Celebrate your mistakes. Cherish them. Smile.