You Are Not Alone

Here’s another installment of Marketing Monday from my friend Skip Cohen. He touches on a lot of the fears we as photographers can impose upon ourselves and offers some ideas on how to stay on track.

Not alone photo illustration bob coates photographyYou are not Alone – Photo Illustration © Bob Coates Photography

“Over the years, I’ve noticed a common theme when talking with photographers, especially those new to the business. Most of them think they’re alone in working through the challenges.

So, whether you’re new or a veteran, not only are you not alone, but there isn’t one of us in the industry who hasn’t felt your same concerns, doubts, and frustrations. We’ve all experienced those moments of just asking the question, “What am I doing here?”

Sadly there are some incredibly talented people in our industry who now and then they just give up. It’s not because they lack the skills. They lack a support group.

“Most people give up just when they’re about to achieve success. They quit on the one-yard line. They give up at the last minute of the game, one foot from a winning touchdown.” Ross Perot 

Two months ago I celebrated nine years since I left Rangefinder/WPPI and headed out on my own. Every day has been an adventure, not always in the right direction, but a learning experience nonetheless.  When I started this journey, a few members of my own family thought I was nuts. It was suggested that I should just be satisfied with where I was. After all, I was president of Rangefinder and WPPI, what could be better? It was suggested I was too old to be starting a new business. Then there were those who had to tell me I was nuts to start a new business in the worst economy since the Great Depression!

So, I set out and followed the wisdom of Dr. Seuss: 

 “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind. “

I’ve learned a lot in the last nine years, about the industry, chasing dreams and especially myself. There’s always more to learn. But along the way I’ve picked up some pointers that might just help you through the process:

  • Surround yourself with positive people
  • Listen to the advice you’re given, but make your own choices. Always go with your heart!
  • Short-term compromises are fine but don’t compromise your long-term goals.
  • Read, follow, watch, listen to and meet those people who you admire most in the industry.
  • Spend time just kicking-back and daydreaming! Some of your best ideas will come out of just being relaxed and thinking, “What if?”
  • Set a goal to understand every aspect of the photographic process and don’t let yourself be frustrated over how much you don’t know – just take it one step at a time.
  • Build your network by attending workshops, local meetings, national conventions and trade shows. Being a great photographer is about education – and you can never stop learning!
  • Never stop dreaming! And to quote my good buddy, Matthew Jordan Smith, “Always dream big!”

    “The future belongs to those who believe in their dreams!” 
    Eleanor Roosevelt

Skip is a guy to follow! You can see more of Skip’s stuff here (ed)

skip cohen headshot

Skip Cohen has been involved in the photographic industry his entire career and previously served as President of Rangefinder/WPPI and earlier, Hasselblad USA. He founded in 2013. Skip is a co-host for “Mind Your Own Business” and “Beyond Technique,” webcasts through, writes for several publications including Shutter Magazine and is actively involved in several advisory boards for non-profit organizations.