Continuing the previous theme with personal brand perspective, it's very important to not have your communication style and place in industry contradicting each other. I showed these 3 roles here - Struggling Artist, Trusted Advisor, Successful Entrepreneur - you can be course be the mix of these, but within reason. For example if you are a wedding photographer you can be 80% successful entrepreneur, 20% Struggling Artist - you can show creative approach but can't be dramatic and overly demanding on set. If you work for commercial gallery you can be 80% Struggling Artist (quirky, eccentric) and 20% successful entrepreneur (still charming with potential collectors, present at openings) - and so on - you can think of your favorite types from what we discussed
Now let's talk about values. I know we are not used to talk about this things here, but it's the foundation of any company in the US. Ok, here are mine:
- Positivity - I try to take anything in a positive way, have positive and constructive approach to criticism and have anyone walk away from our conversation more inspired and elevated then they have been before we started talking. It took me a lot of time to learn how to do it, but now I can. To tell the truce I still sometime look at some photos, especially by very "brave" internet critiques and go "Oh my God", but I only do that in my head. I also never converse when tired or upset, especially if it's a difficult conversation.
- Collaboration - this is another important point for me, I believe that group of people can have the result much better then the sum of parts given they have drive and well organized process. I also look at the industry as a universe that has a place for everyone, so I never get jealous of other artists being successful - I think we have enough for everyone - enough stories, enough galleries, enough clients - other artist succeeding make it more easy for me to succeed, not more hard. I believe in friendly competition and teaming up with the best talents you can find so you all can elevate each other.
- Boundaries - again something we don't talk enough about. When you work in fashion, you work with 15-18-21 years old girls. They are impressionable, they sometimes suggest something that is not good for them (very cold shoot, use of paint on the body that is not for body-painting). You need to remember that you are the adult in these relationships - never take advantage, never impose any risk - you will be rewarded by trust of your models and also people just get much more creative when they feel comfortable with you.
- Diversity - I think in any person there is enough character and charm to tell a beautiful story and fashion gives you all the tools you need to do so. I often like to work with people from outside the industry and people with complicated, difficult stories who are willing to tell them.
- The whole purpose of my personal work is to support my fascination with emotional world in all its complexity. During the last 12 years I shot thousands of images in my exploration. My approach to photography is to be a catalyst rather than sole creator of the image, to allow a common scope of model’s emotions and mine be imprinted in the work.
Finally I wanted to leave you with this thought: you can change! I got this question recently form the girl who felt that every time she tries something new, she looses a percentage of her following. But that's not all that happens, it's just a part that happens fast. The gain of new followers who love your new style happens slower as they need some time to find you and at the end change almost always will be positive. So grow, experiment and be patient so the world can catch up with you. Good Luck!