Learnings From The Canon Way

“Reinvent your photography from time to time. Try new techniques.”

“Reinvent your photography from time to time. Try new techniques.”

Last week, thanks to Canon, a number of journalists and editors, including me, got the chance to visit the Canon factory in Oita, the Canon headquarters in Tokyo, and the CP+ trade show in Japan. Fond of Japanese culture as I am, it turned out to be an unforgettable experience. The most profound learning I took away from the trip was more of a revelation—some of the biggest companies in the world thrive on the most basic principles. These principles are not different for successful photographers.

First… know your customer. In your case, the customer can be your family or friends. Any viewer of your picture is a potential customer. Just by knowing what they like, you will find yourself editing and presenting your work in a more meaningful manner. Second… invest and reinvest at least 15 percent of your resources in research and learning. This would mean time and effort spent on reading, seeing the works of other photographers, and developing an understanding for the art.

Third… foster a spirit of continuous innovation. Reinvent your photography from time to time. Try new techniques. When something does not work for some reason, or when something seems daunting, figure out the alternatives.

Fourth… be self-sustained and self-motivated. You cannot keep doing a great job if you have to depend on others or if your levels of interest are low. However small your resources, work with them. Use your sense of need and innovation to produce something that will excite others.

Fifth… quality is a mantra and a habit. You should never compromise on the seriousness or the meticulousness with which you practice. You should also not be satisfied with anything that does not meet your standards.

Sixth and finally… promote yourself well. Be visible. Ensure that both you and your work are seen and appreciated.

This article originally appeared in the March 2012 issue of Better Photography.

Tags: Canon, K Madhavan Pillai, better photography, march 2012, Oita, Japan, Tokyo, editor@betterphotography.in, K Madhavan Pillai Editor