My Photo Editor Mind - Getting work - Shoot what you love

Recently, I’ve been talking to a lot of clients about freshening up their websites, getting on a better path for work, talking about redefining themselves to get work, and shooting what they love.

When you love what you shoot, it becomes really evident in your work. “That’s your best work,” I recently told someone. “Oh, I love shooting stuff like that,” he said. It’s really that simple. It seems like every time I see a photographer that is really good at some specific kind of photography (portraits, conflicts, aerials, macros), it turns out that they have a certain passion and affinity for it. You might not even realize it, but what you love actually shows up in your work.

Of course, you can’t always just shoot what you love, but you can focus more on finding what you love and bringing your business in line with it. It takes a great deal of effort to generate new sources of work, so why not put your energy into your favorite things? 

My Photo Editor Mind - Kind words

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Mary the past few years, where she’s been an independent picture editor. From day one, you can tell she passionately wants you to succeed because of her honest feedback and her willingness to fight for images or tell you flatly something doesn’t work.

She has this great ability to filter out the clutter and find the focus in your work. Even though we’re 1,500 miles a part, you can tell as soon as you start working with her, she’s as dedicated to the project as you are.

A true picture editor, is more than just selecting photos. It’s working with the photographer to figure out the best way to show the story you’re trying to tell. They want you to succeed pulling no punches, but also respecting and listening to your thoughts. That’s Mary.

Matt Gade, Staff Photographer, The Daily Republic

My Photo Editor Mind - Take that off your website

I appreciate that you want to show your new work, and your first thought is to post it on your website, but for goodness’ sake, stop it, take it down. I say this for a variety of reasons, but this is the most important. Let’s say you have a great and new idea, you’ve done your research, and haven’t seen it before. Your intent is to sell it as something new and exciting, right? Well if it’s on your website, (and maybe you even posted it on social media), it’s been seen. It’s not new anymore. Now since this story is public and available to anyone, another photographer might think they could do something similar. Now you have competition for the story. If I’m an editor wanting to purchase this story from you, I don’t want it public until it’s on my site or in my publication. So take that awesome, creative, and unique story idea off of your website.

My Photo Editor Mind - You speak English?

I have a lot of international clients, and one thing that always impresses me is that they all speak and write English. These are clients from Romania, Germany, Italy, Iraq, and Kashmir to name a few. I took French in high school and college and quite honestly the only thing I really remember is how to ask where my aunt’s pen is. It’s on the table just in case you wanted to know. Maybe I don’t need to know another language; everywhere I travel people speak English. But mostly it’s a lazy American thing. Regardless, to all of those who speak a second language and third and fourth (and read it and write it), I’m impressed!

My Photo Editor Mind - Now is the time

Updating your website can be both overwhelming and intimidating, and just one of those things that can be easily set aside for another day, another month, or even a year. Well I’m here to help you, from just going over recent work that needs to be added to a full-blown overhaul. It might be just to talk over whether you actually need an update. I’m here to help, so let’s get started.

My Photo Editor Mind - Thank you postcard

Emails are great ways to say thank you, but considering some people get hundreds of emails a day, a postcard or thank you note is a keepsake. Maybe I’m old-fashioned and just like receiving notes or postcards in the mail, saving them and putting them on my bulletin board or on my desk.  But it’s something to think about when you meet an editor, client, or colleague; a postcard with your images, phone number, and email address might be something to think about when marketing yourself.

My Photo Editor Mind – Ouch, did that hurt?  

I always write these blogs about problems I see with photographers or websites or whatever it might be. And after I post something, I will later read it and wonder if it might have been too harsh. I hope I don’t hurt anybody’s feelings. I’m just trying to keep you from making the same mistakes I’ve made. As a photographer, I made a ton, so if sometimes you read a post of mine and it seems quite personal, it is. I made that mistake and I’m hoping to pass along some knowledge so you won’t have to.

My Photo Editor Mind - You know you know

Part of my job as a photo editor is to help and guide you to make your images better and tell you the truth if there is a problem. Lately is seems I’ve been telling a lot of truth. It’s actually really hard to do, and something I take quite seriously. The funny thing is, whenever I tell someone that maybe their project isn’t ready, or it’s not enough for a contest entry, the usual response is “I know.” Not one person recently argued with me. I guess you wanted me to tell you what you already knew deep down inside, I get that. That’s what I’m here for.