How to be a Successful Photographer

To determine how to be a successful Photographer (or successful at anything really), one must first look at the difference between what makes a failure and what makes a success. I suppose the most common way to go about this is to look at the definitions.


1. Lack of success.
2. An unsuccessful person, enterprise, or thing.
See, well now that just gives me a whole new question. If failure is lack of success, who defines success? Well the dictionary defines it as so ...


1. The accomplishment of an aim or purpose.
2. The attainment of popularity or profit

Okay, fair enough. But wait ... to attain popularity. So if I'm not popular, I'm a failure? Yeah, I'm not so sure I agree with that. But to accomplish an aim or purpose ... I can buy that.

>HOWEVER, who assigns us our aim or purpose? I mean, who REALLY determines what is considered a failure, and what is just small roadblock to attaining the intended purpose? Just because it isn't attained the first time, does that actually mean we can't try again? I mean is there a time frame on success?

Yeah, I don't really think so. Because if that's the case ... I've been a failure my entire life ... and so have you! (GASP ... did I just write that out loud? Why yes, I did!)

If failing at something on the first try gives you the label of "failure", then ... well ... I've done a shit ton of failing.

Apparently, I was a failure when:

I tried to walk for the first time and fell down.

I fell off my bike when I couldn't balance without training wheels.

I wrote my name incorrectly while learning how to spell it.

I added to much milk to my mac and cheese the first time I made it.

I got fired from my first job.

I failed my first test.

I failed my first driving test!

I lost my house.

The first time I didn't pay a bill by its due date.

The first time I made a mistake while parenting my children.

After not getting an agent for my first, second and third book ...

I mean, hell, I'm one big fat failure and a half!!! As are my kids and you and your kids and the kids they haven't even had yet.

Um yeah, excuse my french and all, but really, that's a crock of shit! And here's the truth ...





Wow, that's a loud truth. And let's be honest, can you actually argue this? Can you actually say that every child who stumbles on their first word is a frocking failure? Yeah, not so much.

Life is a learning process people! We fall down, we make mistakes, we get things wrong, and we are NOT perfect. But what do we do, we get up, we fix our mistakes, we try again until we get it right, and we accept that we are not perfect, yet we try our best to be as perfect as we can be.

Why am I making such a big deal about this? Well today, I kind of woke up feeling like a failure. My camera broke this week, I'm not booking as many sessions as I'd like, I'm not feeling as thin as I want to look, Ihate my diet, I don't feel like getting out of bed, shall I go on? Not necessary. Because all of those things, really mean nothing more than I need to stop wallowing in self pity and get up and do something about it.

Send in the dang camera and wait the 4 to 6 weeks to get it back. Life won't end!

Try new marketing techniques.


Suck it up and follow the boring diet or be in pain.

Get out of bed (grumble grumble)


Look ... I just solved all my problems. Just like that. I haven't failed at anything, I simply just need to wake up, get out of bed, and start over. Try harder. And define my own success!

It's called optimism. There is NO time limit on success. No where in that definition does it say "if you fail on the first try you suck". We need to stop making excuses for not moving forward and start being proactive. We are who we want to be. So, with that, I shall redefine Failure.


1. Not trying again!
2. Giving Up!

So it's simple really, never stop trying and never give up. We define whether or not we are a failure. The only person who can label you a failure is you. You decide when to throw in the towel. And think of all the times you could have thrown in the towel but didn't. What would you be missing out on?




Heck ... I'd have tossed my camera to the ground long ago if I had given up when it first did not succeed. I'd have missed out on some AWESOME friendships I've made with new clients. I'd have never figured out who I was. And I wouldn't be the success I am today. But in all seriousness, I haven't even begun to succeed!

What have you "failed" at? Did you really fail? Or did you just give up and stopped trying?

Here's a little example of why I keep trying and why I consider myself a growing success ...

2012 - Children's Fashion

Nice pretty Picasa border. No fill light. Underexposed ... need I go on.

Again, gorgeous border. Blurry much?

2015 - Children's Fashion

2012 Senior/Fashion

Flat flat lighting. Under exposed. Slightly blurry. Not a huge fan of the angle either. (Reason #432 why I own a step stool ... curse my short legs!)

No fill light. A little rule of thirds could have gone a long way here. Some back light wouldn't have hurt either. ANY light couldn't have hurt.

2015 Senior/Fashion

Though my art is still a work in progress, the progress I've made thus far is outstanding. If I can improve this much in 3 years, where will I be 3 years from now? As long as I keep trying, I cannot fail!

Rephrase ...

As long as WE keep on trying WE cannot fail!

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