Who Are You As a Photographer? Notes From Jasmine Star Workshop

I once said that if I could do anything as a career and get paid for it, it would be to attend conferences, conventions, seminars, and trainings for a living. I absolutely love to learn. If the topic is relevant, the speaker engaging, and the environment comfortable, what an absolute joy. My mind comes alive with ideas as I scribble notes furiously into my moleskin to save for future reference. In reality, I may never go back through the notes, but I believe that the important pieces that struck a chord are with me as I move forward in living a creative life.

So when I received the opportunity to attend WPPI University in Atlanta a few weeks ago, I cleared my schedule for one day and made the trek to downtown Atlanta for the conference. It was actually a 3-day event, but at the last minute I was only willing to give up one day to attend. I definitely chose the right day as the speakers were fantastic.

For those of you who are reading this jealously wishing you could attend more conferences, I’m going to share some of the key nuggets I learned. Does that help? At least a little bit? I certainly hope so.

Here goes for speaker #1: Jasmine Star. I’ll share some of her key points and how I processed (and would like you to consider) them!

  • Play to your strengths and outsource the rest.
  • Outsource to companies who can do things better than I can.
  • Do the work that gets you more work.

Do YOU know what your strengths are?

I’ll bet you do, but may not have articulated them yet. Would you take 2 minutes and write down 3 things that are your strengths? It’s not bragging. It’s being real about what you do well!

Are your images generic, lifeless, forgettable? In this day and age of everyone with a quality digital camera, you can’t make it as a professional if your images are any of the previous 3 words. If they are, be honest and change. You know you have the creativity within you. Sometimes we just need a kick in the pants to force us to push the edges of our creativity a little further. Consider this that kick!

“There will be a phase of years where your taste is killer and your skill is not so good. Do a lot of work. The volume of work will help you close that gap.” – Ira Glass

Is that quote not incredibly perfect? It’s exactly why Scott Bourne challenged me to start my 365 photography project. He knew that it was a volume of work that would help me close the gap between my taste and skill.

What about you? Are you producing enough work to close that gap as rapidly as you would like? If not, you know what to do. Get shooting!

Make your own rules and play your own game. 

I love this idea because it’s exactly how Teen Identity was envisioned. I knew that my strength was working with teen girls… I knew if I could focus on photographing them that I’d play to my strengths, interests and passion. I created my own game and was the first studio to focus primarily on teen and senior girls. Instead of playing someone else’s game on someone else’s court, I started my own game with my own rules. So far it’s been wildly successful.

So what’s your game? What are your rules? I wanna see some revolutionary stuff that is insanely great coming out of you! Got it?

  • Jen Folz

    Tasra you always inspire me to be better!

    • http://teenidentity.com Tasra Dawson

      Wow. Thanks for that Jen. That means the world to me. The great news is that I always believe we can be better… continual improvement. :)