Ellis Vener is one of the nation’s leading commercial photographers and has spent his entire career fine-tuning his craft. During the course of his journey, Ellis compiled a list of 13 tips he’s used to succeed in the highly-competitive field of photography.
You’ll noticed a sense of humility in all of Ellis’s tips, which is why we gravitate to this article so much. After all, success if often about hard work, humility and persistence. (Our favorite tip: Be nice to people, especially people behind airport counters.)
With that in mind, here are Ellis Vener’s 13 Tips to Help You Succeed in Business.
“Most people have the will to win, few have the will to prepare to win.” — Bobby Knight
1.Â Persist and prepare. It takes time to refine a craft. Eric Clapton spent a year or two in his room in his mother’s house practicing learning how to play different styles of blues guitar. Adobe says it takes 10,000 hours to completely master Photoshop’s tools. Andy Warhol said just do the work.Â All these things prepare your mind to see the right opportunities and go through those doors when they appear.Â And the process of practice and preparation should never stop if you want to keep on growing. Warren Buffett still does his homework, shouldn’t you?
2. Be willing to try, fail and start again. You are only as good as your last piece. Failures and the willingness to try again, and again, and again are as essential to being a creative person as is seeing things in a unique way.
3. Accept change. Given the opportunity we are all creative people and creativity requires a willingness to evolve.
4.Â Learn your craft and the business of practicing it. There is no substitute. Given the opportunity we are all creative people and creativity requires a willingness to evolve.
5. You can’t do it alone. You need a teacher, a mentor, an inspiration, and someone who can kick your ass to try harder.Â You probably need more than one of each, at different times and for different reasons. As well as encouraging you, good teachers, mentors and inspirations help you see your weak spots, even when you want to ignore them.
6.Â Enjoy what you spend most of your time doing. Challenge yourself.
7. Be nice, but don’t give in to bullies. When I was assisting, the guy who was hired before me once waved his paycheck in my face and said “I am more important than you because I make more money than you do.”Â I was embarrassed to show him mine, which was larger as I was always willing to work overtime.
8. Respect other people. A large part of being successful is simply showing up on time, being prepared, and being polite to people behind check in desks at airports.
9. Â Be true to you, be loyal, and reward loyalty.
10. Talent can be developed, but raw talent never takes the place of preparation, practice and persistence. I pre-visualise a lot of my photos, whether it’s a week ahead of the shoot or just a few minutes before the shoot. Â I do a lot of thinking about what I hope the final finished photograph will look like, but many times the real world throws curve balls at my plans so I have learned to improvise a bit. Some of my best work results from those improvisations.Â Preparation and practice help you come up with solutions to real world problems.
11. You have to define what success means to you.
12. You have to enjoy the process as much if not more than the finished piece.
13. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Learn what you can about your client’s business. Most people are happy to talk about what they do
Ellis Vener is a professional photographer specializing in photographing people, high resolution panoramic, and industrial photography. Ellis’ clients run the gamut between Fortune 100 companies, startups, and non-profits. You can see galleries of his work at http://www.ellisvener.com