Every year at this time, folks make resolutions. Some are successful, some are not. Here are some you may choose to adopt as creatives. The choice dear reader, is yours entirely.
- I will not shoot for free. I understand that developing as a creative takes the investment of time and money and will not permit others to set a value of zero on my work. I understand that doing work for "the exposure" is a giant lie told by someone who wants your work for nothing. I will always charge fairly for my work, and such payment may come in the form of money or a fair exchange of value.
- I will not post lesser images. I understand that social media is driven by linking advertising to content not created by the service. I understand that all posts to social media have a very short lifetime and so are unmemorable quickly. Therefore, I will not post lesser quality images to social media, except in the course of a demonstration of principle. I accept that there is already enough crap on the Internet that I do not need to increase the mass of it. I also understand that my reputation is set by the poorest of my images, not my best.
- I will not believe that anyone cares about photos of my lunch. I will avoid wasting time on images that no one actually cares about looking at, or if they do, their caring has no value to me. I understand that posting to garner likes or +1s as a goal is self-delusion.
- I will not participate in quantity over quality exercises. I will not sign up for any exercises that require the delivery of quantity over quality such as Photo A Day or 360s unless I am prepared to do my best work for EVERY image. I promise myself to immediately drop out of any such exercises that cease to have value to me.
- I will challenge myself to expand my capability. I accept that being a creative is a lifelong path and that there is always something more to learn. I will take classes, read books, seek mentoring and meet with creatives of similar goals to grow my skill base and to measure my growth on a regular basis.
- I will revise my portfolio to show fewer better images. I understand that my portfolio(s) must continually evolve. I will continue to ensure that my portfolio has only my very best images and that there is a flow from image to image. I will not mix specialties in a single portfolio, understanding that this is not a path to success.
- I will find another creative whose work I will study and emulate. I will read magazines, attend seminars and listen to my peers about other creatives that others have studied and when I find one whose work I admire, will invest in a project to learn to emulate the style and look and then make it my own. I seek not to copy, but to learn from.
- I will protect my intellectual property. I will work to ensure that my property rights are protected and not submit images to sites or services that demand unlimited rights to my images in perpetuity. I will protect my copyright and will not sell my IP for a chance at a contest mention.
- I will not agree to work that I do not know how to do. When presented with a commissioned opportunity, I will not denigrate the craft, my own reputation or the reputation of better creatives by taking on work that I am not capable of doing. Instead I will recommend a creative with the capability and offer to work on the project with them in exchange for exposure to their talent and skills. I understand that if I take a commission and do not deliver, I have hurt the craft itself, not just my now lousy reputation.
- I understand that to be successful in specializing, I must have a grounded background as a generalist and that while I may seek commissions in a particular vein, I cannot then stop my generalist development. If I seek true skill, I accept that a specialization takes me away from mastery in general.
- I accept that new gear will not make me a better creative. I commit to myself to learn to maximize the return on the investments that I have already made before buying something newer. I will remind myself that many great creatives were great creatives using only very simple tools.
- I understand that my own joy is the primary reason for being a creative in the first place and I will not let others or the meme of the day get in the way of my own enjoyment of my work. I understand that unless I am making myself happy, there is little likelihood in increasing the joy of those who view my work.
- I accept that not everything I create will be a work of art. I will make snapshots, sketches, clips, songs or whatever my art is solely for the fun or memory of doing so without concern for its saleability, probability of garnering a Like on Facebook or anything other than my own pleasure.
- I will invest in my own growth, at my own pace, in my own direction.
I wish you all a very happy, prosperous and healthy 2016. Thank you for being a supporter of The Photo Video Guy, and until next time, peace.