19 July 2006
Share Everything You Know
As if you haven't noticed, I keep no secrets.
All the pros I know freely share their prime locations, techniques and business practices. It helps all of us get better at everything. Why do you think I do this site?
Did Ansel share everything he knew? YES! He published a series of at least six books, the first three are still very popular today. Read these and you'll know everything technical Ansel knew.
Photographs come from imagination, observation and inspiration. Knowing someone else's technique and locations won't reproduce their results.
People who won't share locations or techniques are losers. They usually are the least experienced or unprofessional people. They lack confidence.
We know that even though there are 10 million photographers, that there also are zillions of potential customers.
We all benefit by sharing. Trying to keep a secret loses friends and cheats you out of learning even more. It won't give you any significant competitive advantage, and you're not likely to be competing against friends anyway. Friends talk, and get out of the way if another guy is going for a job.
Heck, my friends throw jobs back and forth if one of them can't do something.
The only time you might want to be guarded is if someone wants to pump you for hours of information but has nothing to share in return. That's not sharing: it's giving. I still give away everything I know, but I'm weird.
One pal of mine spent hours having other photographers over to his home and running them through his successful wedding workflow. No big deal, until he saw these same guys going after the very same couples from the very same lead sources he had shared with him, and using his techniques. This happened more than once. They never even called to say thanks. These amateurs lacked sales experience, and unlike this friend, didn't know how to work well with others in competitive situations.
To be a successful pro you need sales experience. Sales experience teaches you how to share and benefit, even when competing for similar business. Work with competing photographers. Know when to back off and when to help. This is the wisdom that comes from years of sales experience. It's embarrassing when people flunk out of a field other than sales and try to get into photography.
I still share everything I know with everyone on this site. I mean it when I say that technical skills have little to nothing to do with your ability to make a buck. It doesn't.
If you find this as helpful as a book you might have had to buy or a workshop you may have had to take, feel free to help me write more with a donation. Thanks! Ken.