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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Through the Photographers Lens

Welcome to Through the Photographers Lens,

In this week’s post I thought I would talk about the ability to separate business from art. In the past I have gone into some detail on the subject of being a businessperson and managing your career and the business of art. Every Holy book in its own way says, “There is a time for everything under the sun” and nothing could be more true. When it’s time to do business focus on every aspect of the business of providing your craft. That is to say, sit and meditate on every aspect of the project and what it will take to provide your clients the best possible service, before you arrive to work. When you are on set or studio you need to be focused on creating a clean open space for yourself and those working around you to be as creative and artistic as possible.

In so doing, you allow yourself to focus on what it is you are working on and not if this customer is going to pay the bill or spring something else on you at the last minute. While last minute changes are a common part of your business especially as an artist, you need to prepare for as much as possible ahead of time, so in stomping out the fires that pop up at the last minute you don’t lose your creative flow. Make sure you have all of the equipment and materials you will need to be creative. Again, there is no way to provide for every last minute change but taking into account things like scouting the area around where you will be working ahead of time means the difference between having a great idea and making it reality and having a great idea and not having what you need to make it happen. Find the local art supply store, electronic stores, beauty supply and of course food. I have seen the creative process get halted because someone had an idea and wanted to get some supplies and got lost cause they did not know the area.

Make sure the finances are in order before you begin work. Make sure all documents and agreements are understood and signed and deposits have cleared the bank before you begin work. There is nothing more commonly distracting than wondering if the check is going to clear. Set your schedule completely and make sure that everyone involved has a copy of it and is in agreement with it. This is especially important when working with a large crew or multiple locations. A clean tight schedule will help keep things moving along smoothly and you can always make whatever minor changes you need to on the fly.

Once you’re on set, it’s time to be creative. Go through your creative ritual and get yourself in the mindset to be creative. Everyone’s path to the creative motherland is different and I do not advocate chemical assistance to get there. You must be able to think and see the task at hand and its environment as clearly as possible in order to be creative in it. Limit business conversation as much as possible. All of the angles should have been covered already. Be in the moment; use your environment and everything in it. I like to listen to Reggae (not dance hall, sorry) while in transit to the location. It gives me a nice creative vibe, with gentle peaks and soft, easy to mentally manage valleys that in turn give me the energy to get on set, look around and see what is available or what has changed since scouting it and start to create. Remember, now that you are a professional people are paying for your time and don’t have time or money to spend waiting for you to “figure it out!” Get on set (on time!), get into your groove and make some art.

Once you have completed your project, collect your remaining fees, pack up your gear and get off set. While this may seem un-sociable there are some important things to look at with your relationships with clients. The first of which is, while the client may be a nice person and want to hang out after the work is done, at the end of the day this is still your client and not necessarily your friend. Also, you are always being watched. Fraternizing with your clients leads to the question of discounts and freebees. You are still conducting business and in the work place, keep it professional and keep it moving!!! Then there is the understanding that you are being paid by the hour or by the project. Any time spent on other things is billable! Once the project is completed and delivered, celebratory indulgences are always apropos.

Your Creative process is the reason you got into Arts & Entertainment, learn to separate your business from the art and your projects will have a whole new more creative look and feel to them!

What are your thoughts?

Rahim Baskett


MindSoulVision Photography




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