Let us talk about the importance of creativity today. And how it can help you earn money.
Most of my professional colleagues keep complaining that it is getting harder and harder for travel photographers to survive, that nobody wants to pay for their pictures anymore, that publishers and other clients keep trying to exploit them, and so on. I always give these colleagues the same tip:
Because that is the only way to change things. I know that the world is full of parasites who, often disguised as potential customers, want to grab everything for free. A good example are publishers who organise photo competitions. In their terms and conditions, the organisers require you to assign all publication rights to them. This way, they get lots of fresh photos without paying for them. There are customers who demand all the raw material from you, plus those parasites who politely ask you if you want to contribute a blog post or some pictures to their next exciting project. Without payment, of course.
It is true, the photo market has become more difficult. Much harder. But that does not mean that you have to accept the rules set by other people. Never accept the status quo. If the market is hard or just shit, create a new market! But you can only do that if you are creative. If you understand the importance of creativity, you will never have fierce competitors or money problems again.
In the computer industry, there is a fine example of how a single creative mind has beaten the largest corporation led by the world’s richest man at the time, Bill Gates.
What made Apple really successful
In 1997, Apple did something very clever. They hired Steve Jobs back, whom they had fired a few years earlier. You all know what happened then. The iPod came on the market, the iPad, the Macbooks and much more cool stuff. Within a few years, Apple had become a billion-dollar cult, putting powerful corporations such as Microsoft in dire straits.
The big secret of Steve Jobs’ success is that he acted creatively. And that the importance of creativity was clear to him.
- Apple has simplified computer use as much as possible. At Microsoft, on the other hand, everything became more and more complex and complicated
- Apple has empowered artists and creatives by developing programs like iMovie, GarageBand and Final Cut Pro.
These two things are exactly what professionals call creative capitalism. If you want your business to survive in this fragmented and overcrowded world, you should do these two things:
- You help other people to become more creative
- You develop creative products and make sure that creativity plays an important role in your company
What happens if you are not creative?
If you do not follow these simple rules, what happens to Apple happens to you. Steve Jobs passed away on 5 October 2011. So the most creative person in the company is missing. His successors are normal managers who can move numbers around but do not know how to develop a creative product. Accordingly, Apple is losing its market share again and Microsoft is returning to the big stage as the winner.
It is crazy that a single man can have so much influence. The example of Steve Jobs shows perfectly how powerful creativity is and how powerful you can become when you master that power. Think of these lines the next time you pick up your camera.
How to cultivate your creativity
For me, creativity is not some trait that you are either born with or not. Only non-creative people believe that the creative ones were born with their ability. That these people have a special talent given by god.
I think creativity is like a muscle. Something that grows stronger the more you practice. Musicians and actors rehearse for months until lyrics, mimics and guitar fingerings sit. Painters take courses in which they sharpen their visual expression. Authors write their fingers sore and study the works of other authors to learn from them.
Treat your photography like a muscle. Use it or lose it. Study any form of visual art daily and always push yourself. Refine your craft in master classes on photography. Muscles only grow when we stress and challenge them. Begin your training now.
If you need more training, take a look at our Travel Photography Masterclass. It gives you a behind the scenes look at how we run our successful travel photography business. You will get the nuts and bolts of how your camera works, many advanced photography techniques like time-lapse, FREE tech support, cheatsheets, useful help and much more. Click here to get started now.