LeightonD's Photographic life.
I know some of you must be asking yourself, “What does making tacos have to do with modeling or photography?” Well, let me tell you a short story. I guy goes into a burger joint and orders a couple of tacos. The server says, “Sir, this is a burger joint, we don’t serve tacos.” The guy then asks to speak to the manager, whereas the manager aped what the server said and told the gentleman, “Sir, this is a burger joint, we don’t serve tacos.” Upset, but not discouraged, the man said to the manager, “Sir, your sign says the customer is always right and you will do whatever to satisfy the customer. I would like two tacos.” At that, the manager told the cook, to start making two tacos.
Sometimes we need to ask ourselves, are we busy making tacos at a burger joint? I have had tacos at Jack in the Box, as well as Burger King on the West Coast, and for whatever reason, they never compared to any of the taco stands that were in the area. Likewise, their tacos weren’t even as good as their burgers. I am a fan of diversification. I believe that being diversified allows you to adapt to change, but I am also a fan of specialty. Being specialized allows you to persevere through chaos.
While it may be one thing for a model or a photographer just starting out to go out and try different genres, as you build more experience, it may be better for you to be known for doing ONE thing great than a lot of other things ok. When we think of Tyra Banks, as much fashion as is put on her reality series, ANTM, is she not known for being a Victoria’s Secret model? One who specialized in lingerie? Or even for her covers on Sports Illustrated as a swimsuit model? While she has done more fashion runway shows than most of us have ever seen, that is what she is known for. She does a few things GREAT which allows her to branch out to do other things on a case by case basis.
To use sports, Tim Tebow, college football legend, is probably one of the most exciting football players in the league to watch. He can pass, he can run, he can even block and catch. The problem is that if I was fielding a team, there would probably be 3 players in every position that I would choose, because they are specialist at those positions.
I often ask models and photographers, what is YOUR specialty? What are you known for? What do you want to be known for? Are you the go to for swimsuit? Editorial? Bridal? Boudoir? Or any other fields of fashion and photography? Are you known for being the “extra” on set? If that is the case, there is nothing wrong with that, but be known for that. Remember there are awards given out for Supporting Actors too, not just the Lead.
Find your specialty and be great at it.