Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Wednesday - Stop Competing and Start Creating

Good Afternoon everybody,
Welcome to a very late afternoon post for Wednesday. I mentioned yesterday that LaDawn and I were heading out to fellow photographer and blogger, Jim Talkington's studio for a little get together last evening. Jim put a general invitation out on his blog for anyone photo-minded to come on by his studio and visit for a couple hours. Turns out the Ohio Valley Camera Club heard about it and notified their members too. Anyway, a great group of people turned out for Jim's very gracious invitation.

As usual, everybody starts out in their own small groups talking, chatting, and getting to know each other. Soon we were all in a big circle talking about all things photography. It's always amazing to me the talent that comes together in these impromptu meetings. Last night was no exception. Expertise ranged from marketing, to computers, to bloggers, to color management experts. It was a great sharing of ideas experience.

The thing that sticks with me the most though is the question raised by a few attendees of Jim and myself. Why do we do what we do in the blogsphere? Why share our life time of experiences and knowledge - and do it for nothing? They were great questions as inquiring minds wanted to know. We got talking about training the competition, worrying about people stealing our business, copying our style, etc. You get the idea.

I remember when I joined my local association of professional photographers way back in 1978. I asked a friend of mine - one of the seasoned pros and a very kind gentleman who took me under his wings - if he could arrange for me to meet with another studio in the city known for their business savvy and success. At the next month 's meeting, he came up to me and told me they would have nothing of it. Why should they spend a day with me telling me what it had taken them twenty years to learn? I was actually a little surprised, if not offended by their answer to my request and decided from that point forward, that if I was ever in that position, I would never turn down a request for sharing my knowledge.

Jim is the one that hit the nail on the head with his answer. I loved his remark. He said, "We should all, stop competing and start creating!" He mentioned that when he was younger, he raced motorcycles and was constantly looking over his shoulder checking on who was catching up from behind him. He wasn't winning many races. He was spending too much time looking backward instead of staying focused on the goal facing forward, for him it was the finish line. When he changed his focus to what was ahead of him, his winning streak improved dramatically. Words of wisdom if you ask me.

You know, teaching has one terrific benefit, it makes you a great student always ready to learn more. And most teachers know, if a student takes what is taught to the next level, it's a nice compliment to the teacher.

I hear a lot of photographers saying they are not showing the new guys any of their tricks, procedures and techniques. Gang, in these days and times the new tricks are old in six months or at least within the year, anyway. There are not many old tricks to learn anyway and by taking that insulatory attitude one becomes a Keeper. And guess what, you don't find too many Keepers around too many Sharers anyway. Maybe you know a few successful Keepers, but in all my years it's been the great teachers, the Sharers, that have driven their businesses to wonderful levels of success. So the Keepers are on the losing side of things, if you ask me. Another thought put forth by LaDawn last night was this, " By sharing of the wealth.... your knowledge, techniques, tricks, experiences....., you raise the bar for the profession, for your craft, and for your art." Folks, that is a REALLY good thing.

We had a great time last night Jim, thanks for the invite. Maybe next time we will do it at DigitalProTalk world headquarters.

Hey gang, it's getting late in my part of the world and I still have a few studio business activities to finish before I can call it quits for the day. I'll plan to see everyone tomorrow for another installment of Business Day Thursday. The topic - "How to Price Special Projects." See you then, David.


  1. "The best way to get ahead is to help all of those around you"

    I forgot who said it but i agree whole heartedly.

  2. David, thanks for helping make it a great evening the other night. Your presence brought such great, accomplished perspective to the conversation and really made the evening complete.

    And how about that Ohio Valley Camera Club? What a great group...that's what the joy of photography is all about!

    - Jim T.

  3. Those who are willing to help others has one or both characteristics:

    1) Confidence - that he/she will even do it better in the future, regardless if others could do the same or not.

    2) Compassion - since he/she already knew the pain of going through the learning curves, and more happy to help others to pass the pain-threshold so they can go beyond and enjoy more happiness. This is the sign of God-send people.

    Amen and thanks God for your existence David,


  4. Hello David,

    I've been to many of your classes, the very fist time was on july of 1992 at West Coast School in San Diego and it really rocked my world, since then I've always looked up to you, I also learned a lot from different instructors like Hanson Fong & Carlos Lozano, but by far nothing has made as much of an impact on my photography as your classes did.

    When you did your digital wake up tour, I saw that you kept up with the times and your work looked even better.

    Many times I see the moniker "The best photographers in the world" being thrown around and when I don't see your name there, I wonder if they even know you, but to me, you're the best, your system is the best, your lighting is the best, composition & posing, the best, you're also an excellent marketer & speaker. In that department too, (to me) you're also the best.

    Over the years I've started to share some of my photographic influences with other photographers, I even got invited to Mexico's national photographer's convention as a speaker. I always highly recommend your materials and classes, teaching and sharing is very rewarding as it raises your standards, just like you mentioned.

    Thank you for sharing so much with us David !!

  5. David, I really appreciate your willingness to share; it is encouraging, challenging, exciting and always helpful! I love reading what you have to offer and hope I can do the same at some point in my circle. Thanks for sharing your heart.

  6. Photography is a field where experience counts for so much. Photogs needn't worry about giving away 20 years of hard-earned lessons in one meeting. The value they possess is 20 years of experience.

    An experienced photog can walk on-site and do 18 shoots in 2 hours ( They can spot and solve problems before they happen. They can deal with the un-expected while remaining confident.

    Some things are earned, not learned.