Each summer I get the opportunity (really, the pleasure) to visit and talk with a college class of aspiring magazine photographers. Over the course of what always turns into a few hours and a delicious cup of coffee, we get to talk about some of the things that these young creative artists should consider when it comes to beginning to brand and market themselves to find work.

After the discussion I had with the new class just last week; I decided it would be a good idea to try and capture some of the key points that were discussed. This list is not in any specific order; nor would I say it is a complete list. Feel free to add to this list via the comment section.

Hopefully some of these points will resonate with your personal or professional endeavors!

  • Spend the time and energy to develop a style which speaks to you.
  • Stand by and relentless defend your creative vision; even if other people don’t necessarily get it or like it. Do not allow others to lead you to question your own creative choices and judgment.
  • You, and you alone, set your value.
  • Figure out what makes you unique amongst your colleagues and competitors.
  • You don’t have to take every gig that comes across your desk. Seek out the ones you feel will get you closer to achieving your goals as a creative artist.
  • Realize that money isn’t the only factor to consider when determining whether or not to take a job.
  • We are not forced to be creative artists. We chose this profession. Try to enjoy it!
  • Do you research. Who are the clients you want to be working with? Who is the decision maker for that client? How do they prefer to be contacted? You’ll be waiting a long time if you expect them to find you.
  • When pitching to a client, it’s obvious that they can do a lot to help out your career by running you or featuring your work. They have the cards (money and opportunity). But, answer the following question before you contact them – what do you bring to the table? How can you benefit them?
  • Do work you are passionate about. If you know you’re not passionate about the work you are doing… so will the client