by Ron Pybus Published 01/02/2008
When you read this article the Convention 08 will be over and many of you will have been to seminar after seminar. My guess is that by the end you will have an information block and do little or nothing with the mass of information and ideas presented to you. The Convention will give you a 'taster' of where you need to brush up your techniques, rather than providing you with the answers.
There is a multitude of magazines in the marketplace. Again you need to be selective. I personally concentrate on Professional Photographer, plus my MPA magazine and my wife's BIPP magazine. These three give me more than enough information to digest and use. I do extract and file articles which are of specific interest to me, or may be of interest in the future. The articles I keep are the practical ones on posing people, photographing jewellery, landscape photography and the like, rather than articles on lenses, flashguns or new cameras. I will read articles on new cameras and make a decision based on my interpretation of the contents, but I do not keep the articles. I have read reports on the new Nikon D3, but then I went to see it for myself before I ordered one. The article was the pointer, not something to refer to in the future - I will have enough trouble with the manual!
Apart from magazine articles I buy a range of books. Amazon keep me up to date automatically with other books that are akin to my previous purchases - purchases at huge discounts compared with the recommended retail price. (Remember that SWPP prices match Amazon's exactly! - Ed.)
Through books, magazines and selected workshops or training days you can keep yourself abreast of the photographic world's current thinking. You can also keep abreast of your customers' thinking and influences by constantly glancing through magazines such as Marie Claire, Glamour, She, Mother and Baby, You and Your Wedding, etc.
The other source of ideas and information is exhibitions. There are many guides to exhibitions - and you don't have to go to London for some of the best. Exhibitions by other photographers will stimulate you to think more widely. Likewise, don't just glance at the monthly competition winners and entries in the Professional Imagemaker or the SWPP website - look at them in detail to extract ideas for yourself.
The final way is to select photographers and scour through their websites to look at the images they are using to portray their services.
All this will take time and you need to allow a regular amount to keep yourself up-to-date, otherwise you will fall behind in current thinking and the current image style, which will, in turn, affect your business.
Once you have ideas - try them out - experiment by adding a new approach to your images, not just all your images, but add an additional picture or two to your portrait shoot in a totally different style and see how both you and your customer like it.
Above all you need to keep changing with the times. If you make a change remember to update your website with the new style.
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