A photographer friend, Christopher Winton-Stahle, emailed me the other day to share an interview he gave for an article in the Chicago Tribune, called Losing Gracefully Can Pay Off In a Winner Take All World. In it, he talks about how while losing a job can be devastating, the chance to network and share your work with new people is always a win. He told me that he was asked to participate in the interview because of an article he wrote for ASMP Strictly Business titled, Losing Gracefully.
In a time where clients have an abundance of choices for each project which means competition is steep, I thought a reminder would be a good idea so I read both articles. It felt good to be reminded that just being invited to the party is a win so I thought it would helpful to share the articles.
In the twenty something years that I have been an agent, my photographers and I have lost our fair share of projects. Some for very obvious reasons and others for reasons that came out of nowhere where even the agency was surprised. I can say with confidence though that the only thing consistent about losing jobs is that doing so isn’t fun.
But, for just as long as we have been losing jobs, we have been winning them too. And, I have realized over the years that it all works out. I have always said that if I have to bid ten jobs to get just one, then bring them on! The more opportunities I can have to try, the better. Winning or losing opportunities, I will take them.
This is because we recognize that each time we bid a job it is an opportunity to make a connection and to share new work. This is a crucial point and to lose sight of it means thinking that landing jobs is the only way to measure success.
It used to be that when creatives called in a portfolio, we would know who was looking at the work and for which clients. We would know how relevant the work we were sharing was and often times who were considered our competition. Since creatives no longer call in portfolios and look at the work on line, they can do so without us ever knowing. So, when we get asked to bid a project, it is one of our only ways of knowing we are even being considered for projects or that our work is relevant in the marketplace still. Regardless of if we win or lose the project, just knowing that we were being considered is an enormous win.
So, if you are feeling like you can use a little reminder, check out Chris’ post for ASMP Strictly Business or Nara Schoenberg’s article for the Chicago Tribune. Or, just read a note Chris wrote to me personally when I shared with him my own challenges on losing jobs. It is as strong as a reminder as any.
“I know entirely how you feel. As a photographer, I have shed more tears for this business in the last 10 years than I care to admit. Every photographer I know has times when they step back and say, “Why am I doing this!” It takes a very special fire that burns inside to continue to push forward sometimes. When I have my heart broken by the biz I don’t mourn for long. I take a day or two and create something personal. Pretty sure “losing jobs” has driven me to create some of my strongest work.”
Thank you Chris!
Photo Credit: Richard Schultz