The Photography ebook, in the works!
I just posted a quote on my Facebook page from my brothers author blog about how he understands professionalism. Of course he wrote this about professionalism in writing, but I thought the quote was particularly relevant to any creative activity, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that we had both come to this same premise quite independently!
He said that one aspect of professionalism is; ’Inclusion. Accept that others are going to be doing something similar. Welcome them. What’s the point of difference between their work and yours? Find out. Emphasise it. That’s why readers want your work – and theirs – together.”
This seems fairly simple huh? However it is often one of the hardest things to do. We create something, something we dreamed and woke up with in our heads, or something inspired purely by the media we are using, or even from an idea that started as a tiny glimmering seed and we worked and worked to develop it into something that, to us, is the equivalent of the tree of life in all its glory. Then we go online to show it and discover someone else has already done it! Happens all the time…
Not only that, but often, people ask you how you did it, they want to try it themselves, and why wouldnt they, if your idea rocks! I have always worked on the policy that our craft is always evolving, that through sharing our inspirations and techniques we contribute in a very meaningful way to the future of our craft and the continuation of the skills we use through generations, because each time you pass on a skill the next person will take it, use it, add to it, and pass it on again. Awesome eh!
However, sometimes, there is a little something I want to hang on to. Thats why Matthews statement was particularly relevant for me right now, because I am in the middle of writing the next ebook to share my photography process, I get lots of positive feedback about my Etsy photos and people asking about how I do them. I want to share that! But in the back of my mind is the question, if thats my ‘edge’ online why would I share it?! If I make this ebook, what if people copy what I am doing and their photos look just like mine? I mean, my styling is fairly distinctive on Etsy, and I have worked hard to create a ‘branded look’ to my images, and I hope that people will see one of my photos and instantly know that its a WoolWench yarn! Is it crazy to share how I did that?
So ok, I got practical. There is absolutely NOTHING that I am doing that cannot already be discovered online by anyone who knows that Google is truly their friend. The technical information is all out there already, in my book I will be simply drawing that information together and then relating it to taking yarn photos (although it can be used for any product photography!). Further to that, I will have a chapter on finding your own style and working on your own ‘brand’ – clearly that will never be exactly the same as mine, because only you do what you do! Even if someone was to stage their yarn photos the same way as I do, using a little prop, telling a story, their story and prop choice will always be different. Well… unless they move into my house, steal my props, investigate my imagination, use my dyes, drink my coffee.. hey wait, NOT THE COFFEE!!
I think my brother is right, we need to just welcome the reality that other people can and will be doing similar things, I need to recognise that I am but one of many many craftspeople, all of whom I can learn from, and I hope I can offer something in return. I much prefer the idea of cooperative supportive community to the idea of a competitive business model, even though I am of course also wanting to earn a small living from my art. But I want to do that in a way I am comfortable with. I can happily share my photography ‘secrets’, and in reality (not just my own head), they arent actually secrets at all! I just happened to find them before some other people did!
When I look at it that way, my ‘edge’ is not something I will find in a publicly available technique, theme, or photography process, my edge is that I am me, and you are you. I just need to find how that can work for me best, I need to find out whats makes me different, what is uniquely me, and ‘emphasise’ it! In the photography ebook I am devoting a whole section to my ideas on how to develop your own uniqueness in your branding and marketing. I am no expert, but I hope you can find something in it that will help you emphasise your own you-ness, and in the most beautiful way, because you are beautiful!