5 Ways to Focus Your Dream

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This week, I spent a rainy Tuesday night attending an event sponsored by the Professional Photographers Association.

There were hundreds of  photographers and vendors in the room, ready and waiting for some brand new industry A-Ha’s.

From the stage, master photographer Allison Rodgers from Olive Branch, Mississippi, made a simple statement:

“You’ll never reach your dream by selling individual images to people.”


She let us think about it for a minute before she started giggling.

If you are shooting, shooting, shooting all week and posting online galleries for people to order from, stop it now.  You are going nowhere fast.  Trust me, I’ve been there.”

It was clear a shift in thinking was about to happen for us.

She offered 5 important things to focus on to increase our chances for success – 

1. What’s my niche?

There were 200 photographers in the workshop alone, and most of them lived within 100 miles of me.  I know what makes me unique, but do the client’s know?  How will I stand out to them?

2. Define what the hell I’m selling.

So if we”re  not selling individual images, what are we selling? It involves products vs photos.  It means focusing on the whole experience, not just the features and benefits of the equipment or the prints.  It means figuring out what promise we are making to the clients, and delivering on that promise daily.

3. Have a vision.

Not just some good thoughts, or a wish list.  A 3-5 year plan, complete with major goals and benchmarks.  She reminded us that a client’s life cycle is not linear. If we do it right, they will come back and tell others to come as well.

4. Find your Driving Force.

With a lot of hard work to do, it’s important to define the passion behind the work, so that when it gets hard, we don’t give up and go home. We figure it out.

5. Plan the work.

She said that the year she created a calendar to manage the studio work was the year they became profitable and got some of their life back. That means planning, scheduling, and saying no to work that doesn’t move us closer to our dream.

So fellow dreamers – here are the questions to ponder:

  • What’s my vision for my business?
  • How would I describe myself to stand out from the rest?
  • Can I embrace the idea of selling an experience, and not a ‘thing?’
  • What is it that drives me to keep going, even when I’m getting my ass kicked?
  • Am I willing to say “no” to work that doesn’t move me towards my dream?

Don’t think too much, just write.

Let us know what happens.

Until next photo,


Remy’s dream is creating opportunities for photography showings and public displays of her work.

  • Hey Remy, always love your provocative coaching questions and will take a stab at these!!!

    Living our dreams in the biggest way possible is SO important and you’re so wise to turn to those who have done it already to learn more about how to accelerate the progress of your dream… Reminds me I need to stay out there talking to other writers (Rayne’s post this week reminded me of that as well!).

    Keep up the dreaming and being in action – you’re an inspiration!


    • Remy G

      thank you Lis! Keep writing keep talking about your dreams…you are on the right path, I know it! Rem

  • Toni Schram

    A major (friendly) thrown down, for sure. As for the stock photos, I didn’t know if you had pursued selling some of your work to these agencies.

  • Ann Christopher

    The German novelist Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said, “Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it now. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. The moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves, too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.” It’s easy to come up with reasons for why we don’t live our dreams. The economy’s a mess, we’re too scared, too many bills — there’s never a shortage of excuses! But the saddest reason of all is that people forget to dream beyond the mundane like stock photography selling. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to sell your images commercially, but if you had only a few more tomorrows left, how would you feel about the way you’re selling your photography today? You’d probably change your top priorities pretty quickly, right? At least this is what it sounds like they did — and it worked!

    • Remy, the photographer

      Amen! Thanks Ann! Great thoughts. Remy

  • Also make sure to adapt your approach to new ideas. Watch for, and be ready to adapt to, major groundswell events (like the emergence of Foursquare occurring now). Adapt your processes. Don’t think of planning as a one-time process. Partner for creativity, not durability. Use predictive metrics in addition to descriptive ones. Target people, not statistics. Focus on consumer behaviors, not demographic data. And most importantly remember that customers always evolve, so be ready to creatively innovate on their terms.

    • Remy, the photographer

      Jody, well said. Targeting people vs stats, very important to keep in mind. Experiences are real time. Stats are history. Both perspectives are important but staying the moment is critical. thanks!

  • What is your vision Remy? What sets you apart photographically speaking? Those are great questions for
    us all to ponder.

    Did Ms. Rodgers touch on the subject of selling stock photos?

    We need to go out on a shoot mana y mana and see where our individuality lies…

    Nice photos!

    • Remy, the photographer

      A photography Throw Down? You and me? I’m IN!
      Stock photo talks didn’t make it but what do you want to know about that? Remy

  • Catherine, Site Admin

    Okay, let’s see . . .

    1. My vision is to have a series of best selling ebooks, coupled with 4 speaking engagements through the year. The website makes money through sponsored ads. I have three products I also want to sell – shirts, dream wrist bands and dream catchers. I will expand this website into its own online dream community for women – some free, and advanced, personalized help for a monthly fee.

    2. I specialize in the dreams of women.

    3. The experience is joining a community of dreamers who aren’t going to tell you that you can’t have your dream. We are a group of women who ‘just do it’.

    4. The thing that keeps me going even though I AM getting my ass kicked is that I love what I am doing – love it, love it and what else is there if you don’t go after your dream?

    5. Some work I can’t say no to because it pays the bills, but I do let the house go and I haven’t gardened since starting all this.

    So there it is for ya girl. Hope your computer is OK.


    • Remy, the photographer

      Computer is just fine, thanks for your help.
      you are the queen of dream, lady. Thanks for letting me be a part of something so special. And take a few hours this weekend, and put your hands in the dirt. You’ll be glad you did. R

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