I was browsing various photographer’s Instagram accounts when I saw one who wrote on their profile that they were the “most published (covers) fitness photographer in US in 2013.”

My initial though was – according and compared to whom? Are you contrasting yourself against the photographers on your street? Then perhaps that could be accurate. In a five-mile radius? Maybe. In your state? Could be possible. In the entire country? In that case I would be curious to see the proof for this claim.

Then I would inquire how you define being published. Does an online magazine have a real cover like a tangible print magazine? Does a small local magazine carry the same weight as a national publication? Does a newsstand magazine mean more than a print on demand independent publication?

Next, who did the counting? Did you review every fitness magazine or every photographer that was published in that industry in that year and tally up all the results? Or did you hire someone to do the bean counting? Perhaps it was done by an independent third party organization.

Next I would ask, what happened in the next two years? Was 2013 just a flash in the pan? Has your work declined? Have you lost customers? Did you switch your focus?

The issue with making a claim like this is there is a lot of risk involved with people questioning the legitimacy of it.

I saw on a talent’s Instagram page that they were voted as a Top Ten Personal Trainer. Voted by whom? Top Ten where? Ten Ten of what? Who did the voting? Where were the results published? What were the qualifications? How were the results measured?

Years ago I was “nominated” by a magazine as being of the best photographers in Arizona. Then I found out that winning the actual contest was achieved by getting the most people to vote for you daily on the magazine’s website. I suppose I could say I was nominated as Best Photographer in the state – but I would know that it was a crappy claim and I would rather not make a misleading statement.

If you plan on making a big plan – just be prepared to back it up if anyone asks. Or put the proof right in the statement.

When I worked in my old marketing career our company was ranked as the top firm in our industry in the Southwest United States. It was a pretty big deal for us and we used that in all of our marketing materials in a very specific statement. Ranked as the Number One Design Firm in the Southwest in 2006 by This Magazine. That helps make the mud much clearer.

James Patrick
IG @jpatrickphoto