Problem Solving In Creative Business | #38

Mar 17, 2023

Here’s something no one talks about in the creative business world: problem solving. My formal education is in chemistry. Problem solving was what I did every day.

It’s true chemistry and photography may seem a world apart, but the problem solving I learned by getting my degree has been directly responsible for some of the success I’ve seen in the business world.

Rarely will a photoshoot go exactly the way you want it to. You might be photographing a glass bottle with a lighting setup you’ve done hundreds of times. This time though, there’s a nasty reflection on that bottle. It doesn’t look good and the client won’t be happy. Time to think and figure out how to solve that issue.

You can try moving the light around, you can try using a different diffuser, or maybe you’ll angle the bottle a bit to avoid the reflection. Maybe you’ll just decide to remove it in photoshop.

You’ll encounter problems like this over and over during your product photography career. You need to be willing to solve the problems. If something doesn’t go your way, don’t throw in the towel. Instead, put that thinking cap on, and figure out how to solve that issue.

Maybe you drop 85mm lens on the shoot and it breaks. You’re left with your 50mm. Do you use that and crop in or do you wait for the 85mm to get repaired? Maybe you’ll learn that it’s not actually focal length that effects compressions, it’s the distance from your camera SENSOR to the subject that affects the compression. (I know, my mind was blown when I learned this.)

You’ll also deal with loads of issues with clients. The client wants a photo a certain way, but you know that it will look bad in reality. Do you explain to the client why the photo won’t be good Do you take the photo and then show it to them? Do you try to bend the client’s idea so it looks good? There are a lot of ways to approach this problem, and it will be up to you to think of a good game plan to solve it.

As much as I try and teach everything I can about creative business, there are going to be situations without a playbook. Your clients are going to be different than mine, and with that come new problems.

Honing your problem solving skills will help you deal with these client issues that come up. It’s going to be easy to say “I’m right, they’re wrong” but this is the easy way out.

Take the time to think. Is the client actually right here? What am I missing in this situation? Take a step back and try and solve the problem.

This is a hard process, but it’s the only way you’ll get better at problem solving. Dealing with hard problems over and over again will train you to become an amazing problem solver.

With this new skill, you’ll go far in creative business.

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