Why You Should Celebrate Your Success as a Photographer
Let's just cut to the chase as to why you should celebrate your success. It changes perceptions. Yours. Your teammates on your crew. The people who follow you. The people who may hire you.
Celebrating your success does a number of things for you and the people around you, and all of the results are positive.
Of course, these celebrations don't have to be big blowouts. Not all successes are equal, but they are worthy of some kind of celebration.
My view of photography comes down to three easy steps.
Create. Share. Celebrate.
OK, maybe it isn't always easy to do, but the concept is pretty simple. Sometimes the effort to create is harder than others. If you do something tough, you should celebrate when you succeed. On the other hand, sometimes you've planned and organized so well that the creation process is a breeze. You should celebrate your genius as a photographer, too!
7 Reasons to Celebrate Your Success
Lee and I discuss these in depth on the podcast, so please give a listen. Here are some of the highlights.
1: It Forces You To Concentrate on Positive Results Instead of Negative
2: It Unifies the Team
3: Celebration Makes You Feel Better
4: Celebrating Success Develops a Success Mindset
5: Celebrating Success Positions You as a Winner and Leads to More Success
6: Sharing the Celebration Encourages Others to Support Your Success
7: It’s a Great Way to Network
Photography doesn't have to be a lonely endeavor. Let's say that you prefer to take your photos alone. I've done my fair share of photography on my own, particularly travel photographer.
I get it.
That doesn't mean that I don't want to network with other photographers, though. When I'm done working alone, I want to share my photos with a network of friends and audience.
Now who are people likely to join in a network? Probably the person who is celebrating a success!
If you do work with others, networking is a great way to meet new potential collaborators. They want to work with someone who is successful and positive. Celebrating your success and sharing it is a great way to expand your network.
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THE PHOTO FLUNKY SHOW: Episode 76
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William: Hey, thank you for joining the Photo Flunky Show, episode seventy-six.
On today’s show we are going to be talking about seven reasons you need to celebrate your success as a photographer.
Hi, and welcome. My name is William Beem.
Lee: Hi! My name is Lee Beem.
William: And, we really think that you need to be a successful photographer and you need to tell everybody about it. But before we get started with that, let me just let you know that show notes are going to be available at williambeem.com/episode76 and you of course you can find a transcript of the show there for free.
Links to subscribe are on the show notes page and also at photoflunky.com which includes all of our other old episodes. So if you haven’t listened to us before or if you need to go back and check an old episode for something, just go to photoflunky.com and everything is right there.
And before we get onto it, one more thing. I’ve got a free eBook. It is called Creative Portraits. It is more about the emotional and creative side of taking portraits than the technical issues that you go through. It’s yours for free and we encourage you to share it with anybody if you want to. The address is williambeem.com/freebook or if you’ve just got your mobile phone, go ahead and text the phrase CPBOOK to the number 33444.
Alright, let’s get to the meat of it. Why should you celebrate your success as a photographer?
I think you should celebrate success at anything you do because it kind of turns things around. Are you doing a task or a chore or a job? Or are you doing something that is really creative and fun and then when you get through with it, you kind of want to have just a little bit of a release. It could be anything from “I’m glad I did that. Maybe I’ll have a nice glass of iced tea” to “I’ll have a full on party with everybody who was on our crew and we are going to go out and have a nice meal.”
Lee: It also works as a bit of attitude training. You channel yourself into a positive or negative mindset. It can either be critical or it could be picking out the good bits and focusing on those and treating the things that didn’t go to plan as learning curves instead of seeing them as fails.
William: And we’ve got seven reasons. We are going to get into those. But I want to tell you what you’re celebrating. You are celebrating your success and that could be anything from the completion of a shoot, the good work of the members of your team; it could be the fact that you’ve booked a contract. It could be the fact that maybe you’ve delivered on something that you’ve been working hard on. And this doesn’t matter if you are working with a team or if you’re working as an individual.
We think that there are reasons to celebrate your accomplishments and achievements and it really makes photography a lot more enjoyable.
Lee: It really does.
William: So let’s go on and see how you benefit from celebrating your success as a photographer.
Lee just mentioned, it forces you to concentrate on positive results instead of negative issues.
Lee: Yeah. Perception is reality.
William: It is, but there is also the fact that if you know if you do a good job and you have a success and there is a reward at the end, I think you get a bit more upbeat about it. It kind of forces you to focus on how to make sure I’m successful. If there is no consequence, whether you are successful or you fail, it’s very easy I think to get wrapped up in things that go wrong. Then you start fighting fires instead of working on delivering results.
Lee: Yes. You fail to see the big picture. You can get too caught up in every little issue and detail and those can be important, but when you lose sight of the bigger picture it can be detrimental to you.
William: Even if you’re doing this as a hobby and all you want to do is share a nice photo on social media, that is a very rewarding feeling. But if you have a miserable time getting to that point you may not even want to share the photo at all. It might remind you of the fact that, OK there’s a tourist in my way. Maybe I had a bad time on a set.
You kind of want to get past those. You want to concentrate on the things that were enjoyable and then you get to celebrate them and it just kind of becomes a cycle of positives rather than negatives.
William: If you are working with other people I think point number two is a really good one. It unifies the team because that way it’s not just a matter of your success, but then it becomes the team success. That could be a small team – simply a photographer and a model or subject, it could also include a photographer’s assistant, a hair and make-up artist, people who helped you with set design … Anybody that’s helping you create the photograph. You’re the director. You are the one in charge and essentially you are the leader of this photo shoot so you want to make sure that everybody knows what their role is and how they can achieve success.
People don’t want to fail. They want to succeed and particularly if they know that there is a little reward at the end of it, they will work harder and work together to make sure that the shoot is successful.
Lee: Absolutely. I think that is nice for your very essential, but often forgotten, support team.
You mentioned a make-up artist. That is a really good example of somebody who has such an important role in getting your subject prepared for the shoot. It’s all very nice to say thank you so much, and well done everybody, at the end. But how often does a photographer – and this is a genuine question; I’m not saying they do or don’t – but how often does a photographer go to the make-up artist afterwards and say, “You know, you did a wonderful job with the make-up! It has helped me so much and taken so much hassle out of my photo shoot for me.”
William: A good make-up artist really does deliver a lot of results, because they’ll understand how make-up works on camera. And with flash or something going off.
The typical cosmetics that you would maybe use as a consumer are not necessarily the same ones that you want to use for a photo shoot. And they are aware of what’s going to create shine, what’s going to create reflection. They are also aware of how they are going to shape and tone facial features.
And make-up can go well beyond that. Some people are going into body paint, some people are going into costume and design. Those people are, I think, critical to your success and you need to give them a clear vision of what you’re looking for so they can deliver success. And of course your subject, whoever they are helping out whether it be hair and make-up or whether it also includes wardrobe, they are going to feel better if they are confident that they look good and the hair and make-up person has done a good job. That is going to make them feel better to deliver better results when they are in front of the camera.
Lee: I absolutely agree.
William: So I think all of that as far as unifying the team, for a portrait shoot it really is a team effort. You have to collaborate with others. Everybody wants to be successful and if you give them a little celebration at the end of it and they know that is coming, if everything works well, I think it really does help everybody succeed.
Alright, number three. This one is somewhat science based. I’m going to say somewhat simply because I am not a scientist. But from everything I know, celebration makes you feel better. It releases endorphins. When you are having a good time you want to keep having a good time and there is some little chemical inside your body with the endorphins and who knows what else. It just makes you feel better.
That’s even before you start cracking open any adult beverages.
Lee: Smiling is good for the mood. The wine won’t hurt, but smile first.
William: Honestly, it just makes you feel better. Celebrations are … by their very nature people want to feel happy at a celebration. So that’s a good one in itself.
Number four. Celebrating success develops a success mindset. In other words, this is the cycle that you want to get into. You want to be successful. You feel successful. You want to have that success come again.
And it just kind of repeats itself. Your mind changes from what can go wrong today? How do I mitigate that? To how do I make sure things go right?
Lee: Yes, I think it’s just getting yourself onto the mental path. In different areas of life they refer to it as attitude training and it’s really not a scientific or complicated thing. It’s just how am I going to let my mind approach this?
William: What we’re talking about with this one really, I think, is how do you prepare and how do you manage yourself? And how do you follow up with a photo shoot. Whether you are by yourself doing a landscape or whether you are working with a team, you still have to think ahead. The question is, are you going to be thinking about what can go wrong, or are you going to be thinking about how to make sure everything goes right?
Lee: Yeah and I think also if you go in there with the attitude that you are going to find the things that go right. Accept that generally, very few times does everything go right. There are issues. That’s life. That’s a challenge that anybody is going to face, but if you go in there expecting to extract the good stuff out and enjoy it afterwards, that becomes your focus. I think it helps you cope better with the things that don’t go the way you’ve planned them.
William: I think you kind of went to it when you said it goes with your focus and your focus becomes your reality. Yeah, things can go wrong, but if you have a successful mindset; if you’ve got a positive attitude about it, you can roll with it much more easily and I think that helps you. Especially if you are working with a team. What you are feeling is going to convey to everybody else in the team. If you are having a bad day, they are going to have a bad day. If you’ve got an adaptable mindset and it’s OK, we are going to succeed. We are going to get a photo out of this that everyone is going to enjoy, that makes them feel much more comfortable and they can do their work with confidence.
Lee: I think your focus at the outset and your approach to something determines what you are going to extract from it and what is going to dominate your overview at the end.
William: Right, number five. Celebrating success positions you as a winner and leads to more success. By that I am talking almost about marketing. If you are telling other people, whether it’s on social media or whether you are engaging with them, that you are celebrating success they kind of get it in their minds that this person is good! Because they are always happy, they are always successful, they are always celebrating. I want to be like that! Or it may be: I want to hire somebody like that; I want to follow somebody like that.
You not only want to celebrate your success. You want to let other people know about it. And that is kind of how you build up your reputation to be someone that others want to engage with and others want to follow. I think that is one of the nice benefits of celebrating your success. Other people pay attention to it.
Lee: They do and in any area of life if I’m looking for somebody to follow because I’m not sure where to go, somebody who is erratic or indecisive or doesn’t seem to be very set on “I know what I’m doing” is not going to become my leader by choice.
William: No and the good advice for photographers is show your good work. Don’t show anything that isn’t up to your standards or levels. When you show your good work and you show that you’re successful, that is the impression that you build and that’s exactly what you want others to see about your work.
Lee: If you want to show stuff where you were disappointed or where you used it as a learning curve because it didn’t work out, don’t share it as a fail. Share it as a stepping stone to your success.
William: That’s something that I do on the blog. I will show photos that show this didn’t’ work out. And here is the reason why. But here is what I learned from it and here is how I overcame the problem, here is how I got to my success and then I got to celebrate.
William: Number six. Sharing celebration encourages others to support your success. This is similar to the people that you want to follow you but it’s also going back to part of your team or if you need to maybe engage with someone else that you haven’t before, people are more likely to help someone who is a successful photographer than someone who is not.
So for example, you want to go to a location and say I would really like to shoot here.
William: They see you, they do some research, they check you out and find out you’re a successful photographer because you’ve been telling everybody that you’re successful and you’re celebrating your success. You’re not going out and saying, “Hey, I’m a successful photographer.” You’re just saying “I had a really good shoot, I had a wonderful result. Here it is. We’re going off to celebrate tonight.”
Lee: You don’t have to say it. You’re putting it out there without the words.
William: Exactly. You’re showing people rather than telling people when you share your celebrations.
Lee: And you’re going to draw people in as well, who are wanting to celebrate their own success, but maybe don’t feel it’s worthy enough. And I use that word very loosely, but we are often so critical of our own efforts and it can encourage other people and that also falls into a great way to network because you can encourage other people. When you are helping other people it becomes a team effort, even if you are going in different directions.
William: And Lee just mentioned number seven. It is a great way to network. If there is a subject you really want to work with, if there is a location you really want to go to, it kind of goes with number six, but it’s a great way to network because your name and reputation get out there, maybe even before you’ve met someone.
It’s really nice if someone comes and says, “Oh yeah. I’ve heard of you. I’ve heard of you.”
William: That makes it much easier to network. That makes it much easier to potentially collaborate with someone in the future. So sharing your success by showing your celebration of your success is not only good for your mind and soul and the people working with you, but it’s also a really good marketing tool, I think. It really helps people want to work with you.
Let’s do a little What If? I’ve mentioned a number of times if you have a team, if you’re doing a portrait shoot or you’ve got a commercial shoot and there are a whole bunch of people involved. But for many photographers it is a personal experience and doing a celebration may not necessarily be going out and having a nice, lovely dinner alone. But there are simple little things you can do to celebrate.
Lee does little photo shoots every day and at the end of them she stands up and jumps around and does a little happy dance.
Lee: I do. Sometimes I take photos of those and share them as well!
William: Celebration doesn’t necessarily have to be something that is over the top. It’s not like you are going out and necessarily popping champagne corks because you took another photo. But you want to find those happy moments. You want to find the little rewards. Things that make you happy. Then that way, when you’re sharing your wonderful photos you also want to share the fact that this made you happy, this was successful and you find it a reason to celebrate.
Lee: Absolutely and for me, sometimes you need to open your mind and look a little bit more broadly than just the photography aspect. We have spoken before that William has his approach where photography for him is telling a story. I don’t term it like that; but he’s right on the money with that. We really are sharing and communicating something personal through photography so it becomes a tool.
For me the photo might not necessarily be the greatest photo. I’m not criticizing or celebrating it from a technical point of view, but I’m actually celebrating the message that it’s conveying and sometimes I put something nice together and people love it and my way of celebrating is to share and say, “Feel free to download it and help yourself.” I’m not talking about photographs of myself! But sometimes I put up something that people see as motivational or encouraging or something they really like and for me that is a celebration. I love being able to share things. But I’m not throwing things out loosely. I want to share something that actually means something or has value to somebody.
Don’t get into a tunnel vision. Open your mind beyond what we’ve discussed and find something that captures what you are doing and is a way to celebrate your success.
William: And the celebration is personal if you are working on your own. It can be anything you want it to be. It doesn’t have to be over the top. Finding a way to acknowledge that you have done something good, something creative; something that makes you happy. If you think about taking photos as telling a story, as I do, then think about your celebration as your happy ending.
Thank you so much for listening to the Photo Flunky Show. We hope you enjoyed it. As I said before, show notes are going to be available at williambeem.com/episode76 And you get a transcript of the show there for free. There are going to be links there to subscribe on iTunes, Google Play Music, Blubrry and Stitcher Radio. And of course, you can listen to all of our episodes at photofluky.com
Thank you so much. We’ll see you again next week.