Learning & Relearning Your Tools
Very little is ever described as "typical" or "normal" when working full-time as a professional freelance photographer. The life of a photographer may seem far from hard work when you are given the freedom to truly enjoy your art form of creative expression when working behind the camera. However, the actual time spent behind the camera is minimal compared to the amount of time spent on scouting locations, pre/post production edits, answering emails/phone calls, marketing for new clients and managing social media. Due to the photography industry functioning on a day-to-day basis, we are faced with many challenges such as not often knowing ahead of time what days you will be working and how to plan each week accordingly to ensure everything gets done. In the end, I do feel as though I am one of the luck ones because I am right where I am supposed to be, doing what I love best and YES, in the magical city of New Orleans where I can just hit the streets and find inspiration.
Although life is great and my books are full, I have lacked in making time for the other important aspects of my business such as the time for "learning and relearning" my tools. To explain in further detail, photographers develop their own personal style of shooting that over time embeds into their lives creating a safe approach and comfort zone that becomes second nature. You can enjoy these "comfort zones" created along the way however, they do manifest. I find once these habits and traits become second nature, we rarely make the time to dip into the well for additional knowledge and opportunities that could be very insightful and invaluable to one's business
Case In Point
The inspiration behind this blog entry was introduced after taking the time to explore in more depth some of those "additional features" within my Canon 6D. It wasn't long after that I discovered a very valuable tool within the GPS feature that could be be of great use when scouting multiple locations for future photo shoots. Not only does this feature record exact pin point locations (when turned on), but also updates the GPS coordinates every few seconds.
Tools In Action
I was recently in City Park scouting locations for a local musician's upcoming photo shoot. Thanks to the excellent communication from this particular musician regarding her desired needs for this photo, I was able to zone in on specific details which then led me to the perfect locations. As I began to get lost in City Park's beautiful Couturie Forest, I turned on my newly discovered GPS feature giving me the freedom to walk around aimlessly chasing the light...instead of chasing location points.
After a quick YouTube Tutorial on the GPS feature, I downloaded the photos to my Canon Utility App and was able to view all of the photos. Each photo had its own red dropped "pin" representing the specific location where the photo was taken. I realized very quickly that this feature was going to be helpful in more than one way. First, I no longer needed to be concerned geographically with location points and more importantly, was able to concentrate on the task at hand which was finding the perfect backgrounds & lighting for the upcoming photo shoot.
My Canon Utility Map of photos in the Couturie Forest at City Park
Musician Dayna Kurtz
For some of you, you probably already know that your camera or phone has this GPS feature! However, the GPS feature is just one representation of many other features available for you to use that possibly was either unknown and/or of no use to you before.
Our photography styles and approach gradually evolve and change over time bringing new tools and opportunities that enable a new level of sanity. With inspiring innovation and improved execution, the photography industry is always changing which means the tools in use are changing as well. Do yourself a favor and make time to "learn and relearn" your cameras tools. You too will discover one or many invaluable tools available that are ready to assist you on your next photo shoot!
If you found out something recently please share it with me here on this blog so we can help others!
SEO -OOOh My GAWD!!
Almost one month into 2015 and it feels very full..full of life, full of new beginnings and full of new frontiers. To start, I have moved into the final stages of completing my new website, Zack Smith Photography, and counting down until the final launch...stay tuned for upcoming announcements! The layout and structure for the website incorporates useful and information-rich content including new features such as direct links to my all of my social media, "Zack Smith Photography Blog", and "Zack Smith Photography Workshops" providing user-friendly navigation giving way to a more seamless overall experience. I will also be including access to an online gallery where select pieces of my work can be viewed and purchased directly. In the meantime, please keep in touch with my Facebook page - Zack Smith Photography for photography happenings and tips.
All of these changes have been made possible by the talented and creative, Tom Williams of Tomfoolery Design, the man behind the all of the magic who continues to work hard to make me look good. I've got to say thanks to you Tom for creating my new new brand identity….feels good.
BUT.... a good website is only “skin” deep…Luckily, I have been along side my inspiring wife as she diligently explores in more depth things such as branding, web presence, online marketing, and the overwhelming power behind what the internet can do for you. She has open my eyes up to new and exciting ways to promote my business including the HUGE potential for success. I learned that purty pictures will not get you clients and although i have great content through this blog (c.2006) there are so many other factors to consider when managing the online presence of your business.
Universe Calling. Hello?
Through all of this new information coming at us full speed, it is very hard to know what will work and if it will be useful in the end. One thing I have learned is that the Universe sometimes brings people into your life when you need them most. For example, Helen, my wife, recently was introduced to a new friend who ironically enough was in town for a conference to present on the subject of internet marketing/SEO. One can waste some time sifting through all the noise on the internet and rarely come in contact with one person who has all the valuable information needed to fully connect the dots. The following day, this new friend met with Helen to share some key information and help her with a better understanding of the overall picture. We are so thankful to our new friend and now absorbing all of his words of wisdom via his website, blog, and youtube videos. His name is Andy Crestodina and his stellar blog is Orbit Media. He continually updates his blog with relevant and insightful information on how to get your website and brand out there in the most rewarding way. The information he provides on such topics as “Creating Content for the Lead Generation Funnel” and “7Dead Ends on your Website” are revealing and challenging. Helen just started reading his book "Content Chemisty" which I obviously have to wait in line for but either way…I really urge you to check out Andy Crestodina! Good stuff folks. Needless to say, I've got a lot of work ahead but I've never been more ready…
Please stay tuned for the full launch of 2015 Zack Smith Photography Website coming soon to a location near you!