“Artist” is So Last Decade.

Recently I’ve been doing a lot of work with up and comers in various creative industries; specifically, people who are looking to turn their passions and hobbies into a career.  There have been events like lectures, presentations, and portfolio reviews; and I’ve taught a number of visual media classes.  Throughout these experiences, I’ve caught myself using a term repeatedly.

Professional Creatives.

Now, you might say to yourself – isn’t that the same thing as a creative professional? It’s a common phrase and it sounds very similar. And I’ll give it to you that each title shares similar traits. But there’s one big fundamental difference.  You can consider it grammar or sentence structure, but it all comes down to which trait is most valuable.

So, what’s the difference between a creative professional and a professional creative?

In each title, there’s a noun and there’s an adjective.  One of these individuals identifies them self as a professional while the other labels them self as a creative. They both share similar qualities, but depending on the title, there’s a different emphasis.  It’s the noun that deserves priority as it defines what the person is, and not a characteristic they possess.

EXAMPLE: Gray elephant.  By looking at the elephant, you know it’s gray, but that’s not what jumps out at you.  The first thing you see is “Elephant.”

So, that begs the question: which is more important, being professional or being creative?

Dick Weisgrau – he’s the former Executive Director of ASMP.  (for those of you who don’t know, the ASMP is the American Society of Media Photographers.  It’s basically THE association of professional photographers.) Dick once said “It’s almost more important to be a good business person than it is to be a good photographer”

There are 2 things to walk away from that with: to maintain a career in the industry, you need to be both creative and professional.  They’re the 2 most important aspects.  However, to sacrifice any aspect of your creativity for the sake of appearing more professional is the first step in removing yourself from your passion.

If you’re a baker, or a sculptor, or an illustrator, or a photographer, or a graphic designer and you have your own company – when you meet someone and they ask what you do, do you say “I’m a business owner?”

No – You introduce yourself by your passion.

Hi.  I’m Jon , I’m a photographer, and I’m a professional creative.

Who are you?

100 Tips from a Professional Photographer

This was forwarded to me a couple weeks ago.  I’m not sure who sent it to me, it’s just been an open tab in my Firefox for a while.

It’s fairly self-explanatory: a list of 100 things that should regularly be rolling around in every photographer’s head.  Now, I’m not one to repost lists of opinionated stuff that I see on-line, but this is a bit different.  It’s not preachy, it’s not all opinion-based (black and white is better than color, digital sucks… so on), and it’s not specific over-stated tech talk.  Most importantly, it’s just good advice.

Eric Kim is a street photographer who teaches workshops all over the world.  This is his brain child:

1. Just because someone has an expensive camera doesn’t mean that they’re a good photographer.
2. Always shoot in RAW. Always.
3. Prime lenses help you learn to be a better photographer.
4. Photo editing is an art in itself
5. The rule of thirds works 99% of the time.
6. Macro photography isn’t for everybody.
7. UV filters work just as well as lens caps.
8. Go outside & shoot photos rather than spending hours a day on photography forums.
9. Capture the beauty in the mundane and you have a winning photograph.
10. Film isn’t better than digital.
11. Digital isn’t better than film.
12. There is no “magic” camera or lens.
13. Better lenses don’t give you better photos.
14. Spend less time looking at other people’s work and more time shooting your own.
15. Don’t take your DSLR to parties.
16. Girls dig photographers.
17. Making your photos b/w doesn’t automatically make them “artsy”
18. People will always discredit your work if you tell them you “photoshop” your images. Rather, tell them that you process them in the “digital darkroom”.
19. You don’t need to take a photo of everything.
20. Have at least 2 backups of all your images. Like they say in war, two is one, one is none.
21. Ditch the neck strap and get a handstrap.
22. Get closer when taking your photos, they often turn out better.
23. Be a part of a scene while taking a photo; not a voyeur.
24. Taking a photo crouched often make your photos look more interesting.
25. Worry less about technical aspects and focus more on compositional aspects of photography.