I’ve been playing around with this landscape photography malarkey for far too long. Only last week, I came close to being disqualified from a photography competition. My crime, owning a website. I’m clearly a professional landscape photographer making serious cash which I probably don’t declare to the tax office. Many phone calls, tears, foot stomps, e-mails and some threatening solicitor’s letters later (I jest), I can finally call myself an amateur again.
It got me to thinking – is now finally the right time to become that professional landscape photographer I’ve always wanted to be? I sat down and drew up a detailed, step by step plan. The result is so good, it would be a loss to humanity if I kept it to myself.
Throw caution to the wind. Remember, “If you build it, they will come”. Resign from the well-paying 9 to 5 with immediate effect. It’s been stifling your creativity for years. You can now finally breath free, all the stresses of making a living in the traditional senses are gone. Why did you wait so long? If only you had done this sooner.
Don’t worry about putting food on the table & paying the mortgage. You only live once. Cut up your shirts & suits – possibly announcing it to the world on a FB live post.
Network like a pro
Now is this time to let your personality finally shine. Lick ass and brown nose like a champion. Join every on-line forum and landscape group you can find. Spend a minimum of 3 hours a day commenting on every single image you can find. Remember, positivity is the order of the day. Make friends and build followers fast. Tell them how great they are and they will return that favour every time you post.
If you want to super accelerate this process – pay Facebook directly. Sign up for a few online bot services. Everyone else is doing it after all. Remember to tell yourself, it’s not cheating if everyone else does it. You are simply levelling the playing field.
Change your appearance
Sell the car, get a 4×4 (or at least hint you are thinking about it on-line). Bin the razor, your going to grow a beard. This is highly important, from now on you’re the mountain man of Ireland & closer to nature than Attenborough himself. A week of solitude in the bogs of Connemara with only a pen knife and your own piss to drink are nothing more than a slight inconvenience. The wilderness is your natural habitat.
Pick a unique hat that sets you apart. Never have an image taken without it on. Buy a kayak, tent, big backpack, and a mountain bike. Build a library of action shots and video footage with props. These are going to come in handy for your Facebook ego.
Money well spent. This is all about building your brand – you can probably claim them back as legitimate expenses now your new business venture has been registered. Don’t forget to get some personal liability insurance cover. It’s only a tiny detail but it’s amazing how many other professional landscape photographers forget. They’ve obviously not had a guide like this to follow in the past – pass it on if you know any of them.
Don’t forget to buy a drone for that all-important fly-by footage as you stand beside your tripod waiting for the light. Even better again if you can get yet another video of you hiking in a remote location. Remember, never call it a short walk from the car – It’s a hike.
Never call the drone a drone! Let’s be very clear on this point, it’s a Mavic Pro 1. Let’s say it again, just to make sure you understand – It’s a Mavic Pro 1, not a drone. Repeat until it sinks in. That Mavic makes you the envy of the public and every other aspiring professional landscape photographer. Each and every single one of them will appreciate this tiny nuance. It’s this attention to detail that set you apart from the crowd – you are targeting the high end of the market after all.
Name Drop Like A Pro
What’s that? You’ve just heard another more acclaimed international professional landscape photographer has arrived on your stomping ground. You can’t have this shit happening on your own doorstep. They have some cheek to either run a workshop or visit to make images of their own. How can we turn this to our advantage?
Eureka moment here…… Pay attention.
Make contact and agree to meet up. No matter what happens, don’t leave without a photo. Ideally, this will have you both standing together around some tripods. Get it onto Facebook as quickly as possible. Here’s the important bit….. Hint that you invited them to generously impart some of your knowledge and they have clearly jumped at this unique opportunity. Make sure you tag them in the post. Boom…..result!!!
You have now elevated yourself above them in the eyes of your own followers. Here’s the genius part, at the same time, their followers are now looking up to you. How on gods earth has no-one ever come up with a cunning plan like this before.
Don’t forget your website
You’re a pro now. You need the latest and greatest website to help boost that image you’ve worked so hard to craft. Announce to the world (again via the medium of Facebook) that your “All New” website is under construction. Remember, everybody wants a weekly update as to how it’s coming along. No need to actually do anything – just announce its nearly ready and you’ve been working hard.
Launch day comes along. The masses won’t come offline as they wait to be one of the first to get a peek at your site. The refresh button gets hit every 10 seconds on thousands of computers across the world. Your hosting partner can’t keep up. Keep posting little snippets on Facebook to build the excitement. Nearly there, any minute now, tune in, etc. etc.
Finally, go live. Don’t worry if it’s not 100% functional. You can claim technical difficulties out of your control due to the (non-existent) IT manager you’ve just fired.
Your Personal Bio
From here on, it is a mortal sin to refer to yourself in anything other than the 3rd person. Wording is key – throw in plenty of phrases such as renowned, celebrated, established, acclaimed, infamous, etc. Take it from me, you can’t overdo this stuff. The more the merrier. Again, the public love it and are going to put their hands deeper in their pockets.
It’s not simply enough to be a professional landscape photographer anymore! In this modern day and age, you’re a nobody unless you have the words “Award Winning” preceding “Professional Landscape Photographer”. Don’t worry if you’ve never actually won anything. That’s only a technicality after all. You clearly would have won, had you demeaned your good name by entering a competition with the amateurs.
Even better yet, find some online prestigious competitions to enter. National geographic or World landscape photographer of the year should do. Pick some images, get them online and announce to the world you are entering. Most mere mortals will be impressed that you have the balls to put your work in against the best in the world. Shout about it, make lots of noise about the fact that you intend to enter. Remember, amateurs love seeing this shit.
Now for another cunning plan – don’t waste your money on the entry. No-one will ever know. By the time the competition results come out, most people will have forgotten to even look up the winners. You’ve associated yourself with the best of the best and that’s all you needed to do.
The Big Sale
Your sister/brother is moving into a new home. Find a cheap frame and head to Harvey Norman to get an instant print. Yet another PR masterpiece just waiting to be taken advantage of.
The Facebook posts reads something like this…. Yet another client sale waiting to grace the wall of such and such. The public have been fooled again and you’ve managed to kill two birds with one stone. Your sibling has what they think is a masterpiece on their wall, its cost you little to nothing and you’re the envy of all the amateurs who only wish they could sell images like you.
If you really want to push the boat out here, get a photo of a courier van and announce they have just been dispatched with a large order to a “corporate client”.
You’ve been so busy promoting yourself and snooping on what others are doing 10 hours a day, you’ve forgotten to make any images. You need to get back out there and create something new. You’ve guessed it…… another masterplan on the way.
Announce a limited place workshop. Those fools will pay for you to take photos under the guise you are teaching them. Rub your hands the whole way to the bank.
You’re now a professional landscape photographer
After all your monumental effort’s, you’re finally living that dream. Your own boss, answerable to nobody. Don’t forget the little people. Give something back and encourage them every now and again. Remind them if they put in the work that someday they could be just like you. This is the tricky part. Be careful not to overdo it. Always let them know you are better than they – the gap is huge. The last thing you want to do is create a monster – someone who might take business from you when they turn pro.
Scratch all of the above – I love my day job…..