Have you lost your mojo because you work so hard that you don’t have time to ‘waste’ on your own photography projects? The kind of project that made you fall in love with photography in the first place.
Have you ever wondered why some photographers seem to grab all the fame and adulation, without necessarily being any more talented than you? Often the ‘rock star’ photographers become famous because of their projects more than anything else.
The ideal solution is to find a project that doesn’t just excite you, but also helps you grow your business.
The right kind of project benefits you in many different ways:
- It shows off your creative talents
- It helps potential clients get to know and like you
- It gives you exposure through articles in the press, local radio and exhibits
Here’s a project idea to consider:
Photograph your town’s unsung heroes
- Use the local paper, community websites and social media to research and track down the people in your neighborhood who are doing great things.
- Offer to photograph them free of charge so you can build a portfolio of the great and the good. This gives you a chance to write engaging press releases for the local paper, interesting blog posts on your website and even exhibits. It also gives you a chance to mix with the movers and shakers in town.
- The reason it’s so cunning is you’re getting good coverage without having to blow your own trumpet – you’re blowing theirs. It also positions you as a kind person who cares about their community. As a photographer your personality and the way you make people feel is your brand. People hire people they like, trust and respect, particularly if you can build an emotional connection with them.
Inspiring ideas in action
The basic premise behind the whole idea is to think of a project that inspires you, pushes your boundaries, engages people, helps people, creates publicity and enables your target market to feel they know and like you.
Here are some touching and imaginative projects that embrace the concept beautifully.
- The Least of These is a project by Steve Paxton, a wedding and portrait photographer in Seattle. He has been creating stunning images of the “homeless, destitute and precariously in need’ for years. Not only does he highlighting important social issues with a thoughtful and sensitive stance he comes across as a kind person who cares about his community. Not only that, his work has got him countless inbound links to his website, which in turn will have helped his Google ranking.
- There are many examples of photographers who have photographed the underbelly of their home town and The Humans of New York is a powerful example of how it can build a strong name for the photographer.
- A more sensitive and less publicity driven example of a worthy project is the Kindred Spirits Hospice project. Amanda Reseburg offers free family portrait sessions at her local hospice as a wonderful way of giving back to her community. It’s also the perfect example of why family portraits should be more highly valued.
- Finally, my own mission is the ManKIND project where I’m helping someone from every country on earth. They’re just little random acts of kindness that hopefully spread a little joy in the world. It opens my life up to fascinating people and experiences I wouldn’t have had otherwise. The fact I receive lots of wedding and portrait enquiries where people say I ‘sounded really friendly’ on my website doesn’t hurt my business either.
As photographers most of us want to embrace life but many of us hold ourselves back. Shyness and lack of self esteem can be a slow slipknot to living the life we want to live.
In the competitive world of ‘me-too’ photographers you stand the risk of boring yourself as well as potential clients if you don’t stand out.
Dan Waters is one of the leading wedding photographers in Peterborough and has photographed for CNN and the BBC. He also blogs about photography marketing at Get Pro Photo.