And How to Overcome Them If They Don’t Happen

Photographers are funny creatures, but like all creatures on this planet, we like happiness too. Unfortunately, even in photography, things can go wrong. Sometimes it’s something simple, sometimes it’s not, but great photographers know when the plan doesn’t come together you simply adapt and overcome.

It’s not always as easy as it sounds, but with a little common sense, you can conquer the challenges life will throw at you. Here are the top 10 things to make a photographer happy:

Model Photography

A great model is always a beneficial element to any photographer.

Number 10 of the Top 10 things to make a photographer happy is great weather, especially if your shoot involves the outdoors. So if the weather craps out, what do you do? Simple, move indoors. But wait, you still need the outdoors? Well then try to adapt, shoot in the rain, but protect your equipment and stay away from lightening. Shoot in the snow, Heather and I did this once during a winter blizzard. Play it safe and if you decide to shoot in bad weather, you’re doing it at your own risk and the risk of others; sometimes you just have to scrap the shoot.

Number nine of the Top 10 things to make a photographer happy is a great location. You’ve heard it in Business 101, location, location, location means everything. In photography, location can provide the most interesting element to a photo besides that of your subject. When we plan one of our exotic photography workshops, we research for the best locations—do your research, it pays off and helps you to know what to expect.

Number eight of the Top 10 things to make a photographer happy are models that show up. Yes, many models no-show photographers. It happens to even the best photographers. First, don’t take it personally, you showed up. Look at it as it’s probably for the best as a no-show model isn’t worth anyone’s time. However, if she has a justifiable reason, such as a death in the family, car accident, etc., after you’ve verified it, then give the model a break. If your model does this more than once, find another model.

Number seven of the Top 10 things to make a photographer happy are photography critiques from people that matter. Critiques, or critical remarks from family, friends, or those that have no credible photo editor training or skills, carries very little weight to a pro. While people’s opinions are appreciated, destructive criticism isn’t, though constructive criticism is valued. When someone is critical about your photography, say, “Thanks for your feedback, much appreciated,” nothing more. Some of these people are merely attention seekers, so cut them off with a thank you, don’t try and defend yourself. It’s a waste of time.

Number six of the Top 10 things to make a photographer happy is building a great platform. With social media today, publishers love photographers with large social media platforms. Don’t have one? Well it’s never too late to start. Do it, you never know when you’ll want to publish a book or have a product you might want to sell, including your services as a photographer, and having people to market to increases your chances of success.

Number five of the Top 10 things to make a photographer happy is access to events or fantastic locations. Access isn’t always easy, but it’s obtainable. Sometimes you can start by simply asking your local newspaper if they need a “stringer” or some help. And access isn’t just for news or sporting events, even shooting a wedding can involve asking the clergy, in advance, for access to certain areas. Access is easier to gain if you ask before you need it.

Number four of the Top 10 things to make a photographer happy is hearing ideas and thoughts for a photographic concept from the client or model being photographed. All great shoots are team efforts. A photographer should never take a narcissistic approach. While a photographer does bring a certain amount of talent to the table, minds are better creatively together than separately.

Number three of the Top 10 things to make a photographer happy is when all the equipment works. The key here is proper maintenance and make educated purchasing decisions—avoid product marketing hype. Do your research, read reviews, and if you can get a loaner or rent the equipment beforehand to test drive, do so. Always check your gear the day before the shoot, don’t wait just before the start of a shoot as this allows room for failure. 

Number two of the Top 10 things to make a photographer happy is clients that pay. Sure, they exist, but the ones to avoid are relatives or friends that want it free. As Charles Barkley told LeBron James when he entered the NBA, “Learn to say no!” Educate your family and friends. Tell them your photography equipment costs and you value your talent. Explain to them that you can’t enjoy a family event if you’re busy working the event.

Number one of the Top 10 things to make a photographer happy is when the plan comes together. If the weather is great at a perfect location when your subject shows up, you’ll be able to create photos that draw rave critiques from your platform, especially if your client contributed with the concept where you gained proper access and the client paid you.

There you have it, the top 10 things to make a photographer happy, at least this photographer. If it all come together, go for it, getter done! With that I close as always and remind you not to forget the men and women who protect your freedoms, and happiness for that matter. God Bless them, their families and friends, Rolando

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