Photographers starting their career might do two wrong things: listen too much to worn out strategies and spend too much time online. Learn to keep away from temptation!
“The truth is there’s a lot of business advice out there that needs to be ignored” was a note I retained from Corwin Hiebert words. A second one, equally important, was that ” most photographers waste a lot of time online”. These two pieces of information were presented to me during a recent interview with Corwin Hiebert, business manager of photographers as David duChemin and Dave Delnea. Because I think they're important, I decided to publish them here with some notes about my own experience on social networks.
This interview came in the sequence of a new book from Corwin Hiebert, Living the Dream – Putting Your Creativity to Work (and getting paid) published recently. In the interview Corwin Hiebert says that “photographers are beat over the head to get active online. Categorically that advice isn’t bad but social media is a huge time suck and most photographers waste a lot of time online. Your target market isn’t likely to be paying very close attention to your social activity and no one will pay attention to pushy, social-like marketing tactics; especially the desperate sounding ones. If you want to have an impact online then decrease the amount of time you spending on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ and when you do log on, use that time more wisely. Referral opportunities are out there and buyers can often come from the strangest of places but whoring oneself out to their social network is a colossal waste of time. Be more focused and strategic when sharing online, make people curious, engage with humans instead of trying to self-promote, and then log out and move on.”
This may be a sound advice for so many photographers that seem to be always online, always connected, and then, at the end of the day, state they had not enough time to get everything done. I talk from my own experience, not as being online excessively, but on my sound practice of not being connected to social networks all the time. When I am writing I am usually not available, I check in multiple times during the day but disconnect again. I also do not have Messenger or any of those time consuming chat software people seem to not be able to live without these days. I praise my silence and solitude when I am writing. And photographing too.
I also prefer to not have full access to the Internet on my smartphone, but only when I come to a Wi-Fi spot offering free access. Even then it is only to check email and web pages if I need to. I do not have FB or any social experience on all the time nor in my smartphone neither at home. In fact, it's only since 2010 I started to use FB, Twitter and more recently Google +, and only for professional reasons: it helps me to pass my message on to people. I may spend some time online checking stuff, but I try not to lose time following thread after thread of conversation. Most of it is complete nonsense and a perfect waste of time.
Still, there are good things on social networking and the Internet. We can look beyond the end of our own street, and find interesting people with whom we share interests and projects. The web made it easy for me to connect with photographers as Paul Harcourt Davies, whom I invited to write some articles for my online emagazine, and so have the chance, this month, to publish an article for young photographers intending to go the professional way in nature photography. Titled Following Dreams and Trying to Survive it is a “must read” piece of writing, that draws on Paul's own experience to point the pitfalls of thinking it is easy to be a professional photographer.
My professional relation with Corwin Hiebert and Paul Harcourt Davies shows the potential of online networking. In fact, I can say I've had mostly good experiences in these three years of networking. I've met a lot of interesting people with whom I've been able to explore projects. That's a gratifying experience. The recent interview with Corwin Hiebert and the article written by Paul Harcourt Davies are both the result of a good networking usage. They offer readers some information that might be useful for setting their own path in photography. Use the links to read them if the subjects interests you.