Welcome to a new episode of the OpenFrame podcast! Our host, the talented Oli Sansom, chats with James Simmons, a brilliant wedding photographer from Australia. Being heavily influenced by photojournalism as a discipline, with everything it implies — from fantastic imagery to a powerful story, James has a unique signature within the wedding photography industry that can be easily spotted through his portfolio.
Today's conversation gravitates around how to stay inspired and relevant in the long haul. Many photographers experience this dilemma at some point in their careers. Doing something over and over again, puts you on autopilot. This can mean several things. On one hand, your creativity and your courage to start new things, suffer. On the other hand, you start wondering why you do what you do. And on top of everything, new photographers enter the market every single day — making everything even more challenging.
The pandemic was a window of opportunity for James to rethink his journey, identify whether he lost relevance, and plan on how to continue next. It was a turning point, and an excellent chance to change his mindset and look at things through a different lense.
Here are the highlights from JamesSimmons’ conversation with Oli Sansom:
- Don't chase photography trends if you want to play the long game. Instead, invest in learning more about yourself. Discover your anchors and build a solid foundation. It can help you gain clarity to make decisions that are aligned with your values.
- Knowing the answer to the fundamental "why?" question, gives you freedom.
- Doing a self-assessment from time to time is essential. If you feel scared that you might lose your relevance or authority — it's a great moment to start asking yourself more profound questions. You might discover new ways of capitalizing on your experience and providing even more value to your clients.
- Foster the beginner mindset to keep learning. Address your blindspots and embrace the student attitude to make the best of what you already have. Avoid chasing trends that come and go, instead, take a backseat and zoom out to see the bigger picture.
- Longevity comes with hidden costs. The longer you are in the game, the harder it can be to change the direction of your business. Sometimes you build bad habits that are hard to shake. Make sure you save time to look closely at your work and your business, to confirm if you’re still going on the right track.
Staying inspired and relevant for years is not easy, and it's not a straight journey either. Quite the contrary, it can often be a wonky line, and we need to be patient when we feel stuck, lost, or alone. Everyone has their way of navigating through murky waters, but we'd love to know what's your approach, how you keep your wheels spinning, and your inspiration fresh.
Thank you to James Simmons and Oli Sansom for sharing their experience and wisdom with us. You can follow James' work on Instagram and his website. And a big thank you goes to this week's amazing host, Oli Sansom whose work you can find here and here.
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