Shake Your Tree Today

I’m taking the liberty of suggesting that you do one or more of the following today:

1. Shoot personal work. Call in some favors, get creative with no budget, and shoot something for yourself.

2. Set free that idea you’ve been holding onto. Write a blog post about it. Ask your friends what they think. Tell the world.

3. Learn about video. Don’t have a camera? Buy drip coffee for a month instead of lattes, and buy a Flip Mino video camera with the money you save. Experiment.

4. Connect with your peers. Start a blog, dig into your Facebook. Or, hell, gather your photo friends for beers and a slide show.

5. Walk around with your camera. You don’t need sunshine. Interesting weather makes interesting pictures. iPhone or one dSLR body with one lens. There is no “client”. Just take pictures.

6. Rent a piece of equipment you’ve been wanting to learn about. Or try this rental secret: pick it up on Friday after 3pm, pay for Saturday. Sunday’s are often free because the camera store is closed. Return Monday by 10am. 3 days for the price of 1.

7. Put together a book of your work. Blurb or Asuka, whatever. Affordable. Even if you don’t print 10 or 100, print 1. Put it in your studio for visitors to flip through, or leave on it your coffee table at home.

8. Do the thing on your list that you most dread doing. Call that client who hasn’t paid. Sign up for Twitter. Develop a marketing plan. Go to the ASMP meeting.

9. Remind yourself that the gear you can’t afford is not the barrier keeping you from success. Gear has very little to do with photography.

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10. Read up online about the history of photography and it’s masters. Weston. Steichen. Arbus. Mapplethorpe. Adams. Doisneau. Cartier-Bresson. Avedon.

11. Admit to yourself that you don’t know about something you’ve been pretending to know about. Sit down and do the research yourself. Learn it.

12. Go sit in front of the newsstand at some mega book store. Flip through all the magazines that interest you. Go beyond photo magazines. Generally speaking they limit your imagination rather than expand it. Spend at least an hour.

13. Make a list of 5 clients you want in the next 24 months. Shoot for the moon.

14. Rent a medium format film camera and shoot two rolls of 120. Slow down. Places will process your negs and give you scans these days for pretty cheap.

15. Look through the pictures in my portfolio and appropriate an idea. Tweak the concept and go make a better picture. It’s okay. We all do it. I’m probably looking at your work right now and am grateful for the inspiration.

16. Take 100 pictures with your iPhone. Or your Samsung phone. Or your point and shoot. Whatever camera is the closest to you right this minute. The best camera is the one that’s with you.

17. Refresh your website with at least one new picture. Or dig up an old one, re-process it and make it a new one.

18. Take a picture of something wherever you are when you read this post. Share it somehow, even if it isn’t your favorite. Post it to your blog, twitter, or link it in the comments below. Email or MMS it to somebody who will appreciate it.

19. Quit your day job if you hate it and can live without it. People say it’s a bad time to start a new business or go in a new direction. On the flipside, I think it’s a great time if you’ve got a clear vision and a little cushion.

20. Concept, shoot, and edit a short film (video) in a single day. Keep it cheap. Keep it short. Use whatever camera you have access to.

21. Show somebody your portfolio or a selection of pictures. Let them tell you which ones they like, but also be sure to ask them which ones they don’t like and why. You’ll likely learn something.

22. Back up your work. It’s not that hard and it’ll probably save your arse at some point in the very near future.

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