October 24


Fast Track Photographer, Revisited

By Dan

October 24, 2011

One year ago, I made some big changes in my photography business. After having been at this game for fourteen years, I felt that it was time to shake things up. While I’ve enjoyed tremendous success in my career during that time, I begun to recognize the impending possibilities of stagnation in some areas.

So, in the interest of keeping things fresh and staying up to date, I pulled lots of triggers. I bought a brand new computer, upgraded or bought new software titles for image editing, archiving, billing, writing, design, email marketing, (basically every major task that I do) and I revamped my workflow to speed up efficiency.

I also bought the book Fast Track Photographer by Dane Sanders. I’d seen the book on the shelf over at my neighborhood Barnes and Noble, and after flipping through it, fifteen bucks seemed like a small investment for a book that was supposed to help me “leverage [my] unique strengths for a more successful photography career.”

I certainly have unique strengths and traits… heck, we all do, but it’s not always easy to figure out how to make them work of us.

Dane Sanders is a pro wedding photographer and career coach, and although his style of photography is vastly different than mine, he’s got some outstanding ideas about how to boost your photography career.

Once home, I started read through it and I took the 150 question online pDNA test that Dan has designed to help you identify those strengths. Going over the detailed analysis of my results proved very insightful because it outlined with alarming clarity a number of things that I already knew about myself, but wasn’t sure how to articulate how exactly they could benefit me in my business.

Sure, I already know I’m brimming with energy, ideas, enthusiasm, creativity, an adventurous spirit and that I have a pretty good head for marketing and business. That’s how I’d made it this far. I also knew that I’m somewhat a total control freak when it comes to my work. I’m reluctant to let anything go or delegate major tasks or ideas. I have to do everything myself, which is not always the path to efficiency.

However, finding ways to combine personal strengths with the “less strong traits” so that they help you create success in your niche is the hard part. Ask anybody.

One of the ways that Fast Track Photographer really helped me outline some potential paths for building on my own successes was through the self directed activity that you do after you take the pDNA test. That’s where you’re supposed to combine ideas and traits on paper, analyze where they fit or don’t fit and ultimately come up with new traits, ideas pathways and concepts that could lead to new successes.

This works. I’ll say it again. This highly creative and self-directed process works big time.

Some of the notes and methods that continually popped up in my own notebook had to do with improved personal branding and creative marketing, continually investing in new training, stretching out my skills, increasing efficiency, designing new products and services and focusing more of my time on education.

So one year later, how have I fared? Assignment work is up. I’ve expanded my client base. I have more income streams than ever before. Thanks to you, my blog and my writing have taken on prominence in my overall business model. I just released my third eBook, which is proving to be as popular as my other two titles, and I continue to drive my imagery and creative ideas to new heights.

I still struggle with efficiency, though, and my methods for finding new clients are ongoing and constantly being reworked. I also spend energy on ideas that don’t always pay off, but that’s all part of the process. Overall, I feel that I gained a great deal of personal insight from Fast Track Photographer; insight that has helped me transition my photography business into a new age. I’d say that it was fifteen bucks incredibly well spent.

Dane Sanders has helped thousands of photographers advance their careers and I feel that my added success in the past year is just another positive testimonial to this great little book and to his coaching methods.

Things aren’t the way they used to be in the photo publishing and art buying world, and in a few years, they’ll be different again. Photography, the business and the media are constantly changing, and as creative types, we’re constantly being bombarded by all the ideas that bounce around in our brands.

Fast Track Photographer made a difference for me. I’m pretty confident that it can also help you define your focus so that don’t become overwhelmed by your own creativity or your competition. In fact, I think I’m going to pick it up and read it again. I encourage you to give it a try as well. For just a few bucks, what do you have to lose?

Dane also has a companion book called The Fast Track Photographer Business Plan, which details how to execute your vision and formulate a business plan specifically geared towards success. I’ll let you know what I think of this one after I finish reading it.

For additional insight, tune into Dane’s weekly and informative videocasts. You can find info on the “Join the Conversation” link at www.danesanders.com.

About the author

Hi, I'm Dan Bailey, a 20+ year pro outdoor and adventure photographer, and official FUJIFILM X-Photographer based in Anchorage, Alaska.

As a top rated blogger and author my goal is to help you become a better, more confident and competent photographer, so that you can have as much fun and creative enjoyment as I do.

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  • Andy, thanks for your comment. Yes, Dane’s approach is specifically targeted towards portrait and wedding photographers. He’s not an outdoor or nature shooter, but that doesn’t mean that the book isn’t relevant to people like you or me. As I mentioned in my post, the book really shines with the pDNA test and the self directed exercise that Dane outlines for thinking up new creative opportunities for yourself and your business. It really gets you thinking about how you can adapt your own business model to fit your own style and to the changing economy and industry.

    Stick with it and really spend some time with the test analysis and the self directed exercise. Ideas will come!

  • Hi Dan! Great review of Dane’s books. I had recently purchased Fast Track Photographer Business Plan and started reading it and then read your review here and decided to pick up the other book and start there. I’m glad I did as I found the book really opened up my mind especially after taking the pDNA and reading the results. It really helped me better realize where my strengths are and gave me ideas on how to better utilize them. Like you I gained quite a bit of personal insight and I continue to go through the self directed exercises.

  • Matt, thanks for the comment. Glad you found the book useful. I actually met Dane at PhotoPlus Expo last month and he’s a super nice guy. I told him how much his pDNA test helped me. Email him and let him know what it did for you, he’d appreciate the feedback.

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    Terry Bourk

    I have read you new book “Behind the Landscape.” I could not “put it down” meaning that I kept at it because each photo you presented/analyzed was interesting and informative. I am trying to develop an eye for composition (both the scene and the light).

    Thank you! The examples you present and the suggestions are very helpful. Purple Mountains, McKinley River and Wonder Lake are fascinating.

    Roger Sinclair

    You have done it again! Another triumph.

    Your generosity to share, the clarity of thought and concise explanation thereof is brilliant. Perhaps I should also mention the beautiful photos and the talent necessary to produce them.

    Thank you, Dan.