Wednesday, June 12, 2013

You are your product

 Just a few days ago, I was exchanging text messages with my good friend Shareese, who is an opera singer working at the Princeton Festival this summer. Those of you who know her will agree that Shareese is one of the most inspiring people you'll ever have the pleasure of coming across! :) She mentioned that she wants to head to KC to do some promotional photographs that fit into her business model for herself as an artist (Music to my ears! I love it when artists view themselves as a business!). We started conversing back and forth about how important it is for singers to market themselves and to not just float around and expect success to find them.

Which brings me to something I've been wanting to write for a long time:

Why invest in headshots and promotional photography?

 1. We live in an image-driven world. 
Professional and unique images that radiate genuine emotion will always draw those looking to hire an artist first. These people are looking at your photos through the same lens that the public uses when they decide what entertainment, products, and services to consume, and your employers want them to want what you have to offer. Look at the promotional photography for some of the most successful artists and brands out there--it is more attractive, more positive, more captivating, more moving than those who are less successful.

2. It is your first impression on anyone you encounter who does not know you. 
Potential directors, colleagues, coaches, conductors, and employers of all kinds will have two basic places to gauge who you are and what you have to offer when they open your audition packets or websites: your resume and your photographs. Give them a reason to do a double-take, not to question whether you are a serious artist. Why spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on application fees if your application will not make you stand out enough to get an audition?

3. It is an example of how much you are willing to invest in yourself as an artist. 
 If your headshot is of poor quality or it doesn't represent you well, you are doing yourself a huge disservice. If you are representing yourself with outdated, low quality, or simply bad photographs, it reflects directly on the amount of effort you're willing to put into yourself to become a success. What do you want to say to potential colleagues and employers?

4. This is a business, and you are your product. Build your brand.
We live in a world driven by storytelling. The best brands out there all have stories to tell - and so do the best artists. This is a place where ability isn't enough on its own--it must be combined with hard work, a clearly defined sense of self, savvy networking, and understanding exactly what you have to offer that others may not. This is a business, and your success is related directly to the way you market yourself. Who are you? What do you have to say that is different from the thousands of others who are in your place or waiting to take it?

I have to ask myself these questions regarding my own business every single day. It is tempting to cut corners and spend little to no money on temporary fixes that will 'get us by' until we can get past the block that's keeping us in investing in them in the first place. But, time reveals that our unwillingness to adjust our priorities and invest in what is really important will become the block that keeps us from the success and identity that will give us the freedom we seek in the first place.

Are you holding back on investing in your business or yourself? Have you overcome your block in investing in yourself and have advice for others?

Happy Wednesday, lovelies. Thanks for reading and a HUGE shout out to all of my amazing clients who have taken the journey with me into finding out just how compelling and beautiful they can be.