Why You Should Never Stop Learning
Have you heard this phrase before…
‘Knowledge Is Power!’
I could almost guarantee it is a phrase that you never took seriously at school however I bet by the end of this blog post you will be able to see see the truth to this empowering phrase.
Have You Found Your Passion In Life?
If we are lucky in life we find what we want to do day in and day out at a young age. We then go and study that field with the promise of a certificate at graduation.
Sadly it is only now once we graduate we realize that the strenuous study and exams… well they were only the beginning of the struggle.
Once we graduate we are among thousands of recent graduates, each of us eager to stand out and become the best our fields… however we tend to struggle to find our feet within the industry…. Have you felt this way?
As much as I agree my college taught me the technical skills required to succeed in photography, the sad fact that college, university or wherever you went to study – 99% of places only teach the technical skills, they fail to teach how to apply true foundations within the industry.
This is why I believe self-development is a must. I could go on for hours about the different areas of self-development I believe in (click here to read my top five books that have helped me turn my life around) however in order to gain true industry insight I believe one must find define what it is they seek to learn.
Once you can see this need then choose someone who excels in that area, someone who you admire and ask to learn as much as you can from observing them in action. I know what you are thinking…. “Mel you are just saying to go out and get an internship” however this is one word I don’t believe in anymore. To me you should be looking for a Mentor.
Sadly eager young minds are continuously being taken advantage of by businesses who say they are offering you an ‘internship’. These businesses sadly fail to provide any room for observation, training or even basic feedback whatsoever; instead they take our proactive keen minds for free labour. I too must say I have fallen victim to this in my early graduation days.
Gaining industry knowledge is first about realizing the experience you need to understand in order to succeed. There is no point in going out and learning the technical skills you learnt at college. For me when I thought about this question there are five key areas that I want to focus on:
1. How to streamline and speed up my current project processes – I quickly realized college didn’t teach many shortcuts in a fast paced industry
2. Obtain experience on large production sets for high end campaigns – Teaching me about higher end equipment and the additional technical aspects that need to be considered
3. Learn how to pitch myself on large campaigns and co-ordinate concepts from start to finish – I wanted to understand how to format my ideas effectively emphasizing how I can meet my clients marketing goals
4. Have a deeper understanding of Photoshop and Graphic Design and apply these skills within my post production – Post production is forever pushing the boundaries and having the knowledge to create something unique is always an advantage
5. Understand my camera’s motion capabilities and have the ability to create fashion films – Fashion film is fast becoming a renowned marketing tool on social medias and with that fashion photographers are expected more often than not to be able to create small fashion films…. And for one to stay in-demand with fashion photography one must keep up with innovation and more importantly customer demands.
So it’s one thing to tell you what I am aiming to gain experience in within the industry, the next best thing is to tell you how I am currently gaining this experience.
1. I contract to a commercial photographer a few days a week processing his post-production. When I sought out this position I explained my desire to streamline procedures but also stated how I would be a worthy investment of his mentoring. I admit this was an advertised position however there is no reason you can’t seek this knowledge from an individual such as my next step.
2. I have many favourite photographers who I admire in many ways. You can see some of them listed here. At this stage I can only visualize observing first hand from these masters however one must reach out to those closer to home. Contacting their agent and showing your keenness to learn and assist is a great way to start. To read about my day assisting famous fashion photographer Georges Antoni, Click Here.
3. As much as I learn from being on a large set there is always a lot that has gone into getting to that day. Researching opportunities to have further understanding of this I came across the Mastered course with Nick Knight. This course teaches the ins and outs of the fashion photography industry from the top leaders in fashion. Such an amazing opportunity that it deserves it’s own blog post to let you know why you should also sign up, Click Here.
4. I had a list of questions for my first encounter with a talented photographer. Talking over coffee one point seemed to have the most emphasis, how graphic design skills had given his work the added advantage in the competitive field. It is something I wish I undertook straight away however I had my priorities out. Knowing I can’t enroll into another in-depth course due to time commitments, I learn off YouTube and short courses on Udemy.
5. Well this is one point that I haven’t exactly made any large progress on as of yet. At this stage it is a combination of all previous steps. I will be covering fashion film within the Mastered with Nick Knight course, I am watching YouTube tutorials and I also have my mentor teaching me.
Understanding what you need is one thing, making the commitment of time to achieve these goals is another. I set aside time each day to understand each of these points more and more. It is important to remind yourself daily that each small step counts towards your long term goals.
I understand that I am not ready to tick any of the above points off yet, however once I do I already have additional points waiting for me to understand. Seeking continuous knowledge is the only way to be the top in your field and remain at the top throughout the years.
Would you agree that taking the time to learn additional areas of expertise like in my points above would make for a better service? Ultimately we are aiming to become the best version of ourselves and ultimately the best version is someone who knows a lot about many things without spreading too thin.
I would like to finish this on an additional and very important note. One must not only seek but action the knowledge they have gained. As Napoleon Hill says, knowledge is only potential power. It becomes power only when, and if, it is organized into definite plans of action, and directed to a definite end.