‘A Must Learn List’ for photographers in 2020

Many photographers spent a lot of time in researching photography equipment such as latest camera bodies, lenses, tripods, etc. Some of them spent a lot of time in learning photographic techniques, post-production pre-set, filter setting, etc. It is true that the above are a ‘Must Learn’ for someone who want to become a photographer. However, what if you are already a photographer? I don’t think you still need to learn how to press the shutter button, or how to adjust your lenses aperture. So, what should you learn if you are already a photographer? Especially starting from 2020 onwards? In this article, I am not going to discuss anything truly relationed to photography or photographic techniques, but something which are far much more important if you want to become successful in your photography career.

Do you know how many photographers exist on this planet nowadays?

To be honest, the number of this question is uncountable nowadays, there are millions of professional photographers, billions of amateurs world wide. And we still need to count in those ‘Smartphone Photographers’, ‘Instagram Photographers’, ‘TikTok Photographers’. Basically, people who got a smartphone with camera function, they are already a ‘photographer’ in some way. So, how to make yourself pop out from billions of competitors?

Business Management

First of all, business management. Why a photographer need to learn this? Many of you may think, a photographer should concentrate on creativities. If you are just a photography amateurs, it may not be a problem for you. But for those photographers who rely on making incomes from providing photographic services, it will become a great issue for you and directly affect the amount of your incomes.

Business management involved a wide range of knowledge and practice. Start with some basic questions :

What kind of services or products are you providing?
Which market are you focus on?
What is the latest trends on the market?
How to price your services and products?
Who is your target customers?
Where can you find your potential customers?
How to approach your customers?
How to close a sale?
What is your sales operation flow?
Where should you put your marketing adverts?
How much should you spend on doing marketing adverts?
……
……
……

There are many other questions can be raise out in depth, and these are just the simplest one. Rethink again, can you solve these ‘simplest questions’? Then you might realize whether your photography business stay on a right track or not.

Brand Development

Second, brand development (or brand building). In this section, it is going to focus on your personal brand, rather than a brand of a company or a business. ‘Who are you?’, maybe is the best question to begin this topic. No matter you are a commercial photographer, or a fine art photographer. One of the big reason people decided to buy your services and products is because of you. Your personal branding is an extremely important factor in your photography career. How you identify yourself, will affect how others identify you. Remember, ‘You Are Valuable’, and it will make your services and products become valuable. You must truly demonstrate your personal value, professional skills, passions, beliefs, missions, visions, interests through your personal brand.

Also, spend times in studying how to use different platforms, and make a good use of these platforms to promote your personal brand, your ideas, or your works in different markets. For example, if you are targeting the Europe market, it is always the best for you to stick to Facebook and Instagram for no doubt, it is easy and simple. However, if you are intend to target a special market like the China market, it maybe a good opportunity for you to learn something new, such as how to manage and operate Wechat, Weibo, TikTok, RED, and ofcourse the Chinese language as well.

Presentation Skills

Third, presentation skills (or speaking techniques). Why? Why a photographer need to learn how to do presentation? Did anyone got an experience in participating in a public exhibition, or a photo festival portfolio review section? Very often, you might need to speak a lot in front of others, present who you are, and present your projects. In these occasions, presentation skills might become a powerful weapon which can help you a lot.

With a good presentation skills, you can motivate your audience, attract them keep interest on your works, and make them want to know more about you. Some other photographers told me before, their audience felt like so boring while they were presenting their ideas. End up they couldn’t even start a conversation or build up a connection properly. If you want to build up a strong connection and relationship with your audience, it maybe better for you to improve your presentation skills.

Innovative Technologies

Last but not least, innovative technologies. Nowadays, almost all industries exploring the application of technologies, to innovate their business to a higher level. These people always talk about ‘A.B.C.D.F.I’, what is it?

A : Artificial Intelligence (AI)
B : Blockchain
C : Cloud
D : big Data
F : Five G (5G)
I  : Internet Of Things (IOT)

Apart from ‘A.B.C.D.F.I’, there are some other latest technologies which are super useful as well, such as ‘Virtual Reality’ (VR) and ‘Augmented Reality’ (AR). Let’s think about it, how can these technologies help you to improve your photography business and your creativities? Even Christie’s, they held a seminar in Hong Kong in November 2019. Began discuss the possibility of ‘Art+Tech’, and explore how can technologies change the future of the art & creative industries.

Overall, do you want to become successful in your photography career? Under the COVID-19 Coronavirus Disease, it might be a perfect timing for you to learn new stuffs and add value to yourself.

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