pDNA 2.0 Results

pDNA 2.0 Results

The Photographer DNA (pDNA) Assessment Tool is an exercise in identification. The goal is to get a snapshot of the characteristics you currently possess that will most likely impact your potential as a professional photographer. The results will give you a kind of photographer personality profile that should establish your starting point (or restarting point) and empower your potential exponentially. 

 

Results as of January 28, 2017

 

Experience - The degree of experience you have with photography. 

Test Result: MEDIUM

With a MEDIUM Experience Quotient you may be in the most challenging section of the learning curve. You know enough to get decent pictures much of the time but you're increasingly conscious of what you don't know. This is a critical stage, as who you'll end up as professionally will key off the choices you make now. Think of it as the middle years of college: You don't get the benefits of being innocent and new, nor do you get the accolades for being the veteran. This is a great testing stage, though, to see if you have what it takes to make it as a professional. 

Recommendation:

Don't settle for being pretty good. Identify the styles of photography you are most attracted to and do everything you can to emulate that style. Perhaps there are photographers who model what you'd like to aspire to. Go meet them online or attend one of their workshops. Make the style you're drawn to your own by increasing the volume of your shooting. Now is your time to lean into your craft. Shoot, shoot, shoot. 

 

Self-Starter - The degree to which you start things on your own. 

Test Result: MEDIUM

With a MEDIUM Self-Starter Quotient you could be vulnerable in that you may have enough energy to get going, but may not have the fortitude to reformulate your strategy and start again when you hit inevitable road blocks.

Recommendation:

It might be prudent to identify someone with a HIGH Self-Starter quotient and create a value-adding partnership with them. Try to take on projects that require energy to begin but can be accomplished relatively quickly. Log as many of those smaller "wins" as possible to increase the demonstrable value you bring to the table and to increase your confidence and endurance as a Self-Starter. A Contract Photographer, rather than a Signature Photographer, business might be best for you, at least at first (see Fast Track Photographer for more on this). 

 

Program-Starter - The degree to which your motivation to start things is derived from a program (i.e. any kind of structured learning framework outside yourself).

Test Result: MEDIUM

With a MEDIUM Program-Starter Quotient you are fortunate in that you often can learn through pre-programmed learning environments (such as workshops or photo schools) but you can also be motivated to learn in other ways with just a little prodding.

Recommendation:

Be open and creative about the ways you choose to learn. The liability for you is that unless you have a High Self-Starter Quotient, there isn't a clear path for you to get what you need to make it in this business. Programmed learning can be helpful but only if it's a custom fit. Thus, the burden is on you to discover how you are best motivated to learn and exploit that avenue as far as it will take you. 

 

Confidence - The degree to which you feel confident as a photographer. 

Test Result: MEDIUM

With a MEDIUM Confidence Quotient, you probably sometimes find yourself in a tension that seems inexplicable. You may surprise yourself when, in certain circumstances, you feel on top of the world, yet, on other occasions, you're uncomfortable in your own skin. Often this is just a measure of your limited exposure to shooting. As you eliminate unknowns, you have the capacity to feel completely comfortable. But if you beat yourself up, you'll depress your Confidence potential even further.

Recommendation:

Bite your lip and keep quietly exposing yourself to environments that feel risky to you. Then go one step further and try something that stretches you even further. Write out your goals in phases. In time, your confidence will dramatically improve. This is especially true if you take risks intentionally, with the sought outcome of improving your confidence. Confidence is one of the easiest quotients to increase and its positive impact on your brand will be enormous. 

 

Risk Tolerance - The degree to which you feel comfortable taking risks.

Test Result: HIGH

Your HIGH Risk Tolerance Quotient gives you a laser-like focus on winning big. You are probably gifted at taking limited information, skillfully extracting the essence of that information and projecting it ahead faster than other people can. Because of this ability, you may feel as if you're not taking a risk at all. You probably bring enormous intention to every major decision. You simply lower your perceived risk faster than others do and thus others give you the label of risk-taker. On the other hand, you may have a tendency to be reckless. Like a problem gambler, perhaps you enjoy the emotional "rush" of putting yourself on the edge.

Recommendation:

Be really careful. This might sound like funny advice to give to someone like you. You've taken risk and you've seen enormous reward because of it. In a sense you want to keep riding that train, but the more you win, the more you have to lose and this can be the blind spot for high-tolerance risk-takers. The more you win, the more you need to continue lowering your risk by keeping your head in the game. With this mindset, keep leaning into your sweet spot but do so methodically, increasing the speed with which you process the gambles you're considering. As a photographer, you probably need to trust your guts more often than not. But be careful when making decisions that you are not unconsciously seeking an emotional "high" by putting yourself and your business at risk. 

 

Need for Control - The degree to which you need control to feel strong as a photographer.

Test Result: MEDIUM

With a MEDIUM Control Quotient you tend to be balanced in your ability to give control away, often without their brand suffering at all. On the other hand, you may be so conflicted between whether you "should" give up control or keep it, that you can become paralyzed in your ability to trust others.

Recommendation:

Because your instincts are generally good, be thoughtful and efficient in considering your business partnerships. Consider sharing some low-risk aspects of your workflow with outsource companies or employees. As soon as you can, make a decision and act. Start with a partnership you can test without much consequence. An example might be to hire a post-production service company to edit a shoot for you and simultaneously edit the same images on your own to compare the final output. If you're generally pleased with the results, consider experimenting with a second shoot. Your Risk Quotient should inform the pace at which you share control with others. 

 

Self-Discipline - The degree to which you can routinely get work done on your own as opposed to needing other people and structures to help you be productive.

Test Result: MEDIUM

With a MEDIUM Self-Discipline Quotient you may have that rare ability to both work independently and partner. At its best, this balance can provide incredible advantages. At its worst, poorly timed decisions to trust others when you should have trusted your gut can paint you into a corner and feel stifling.

Recommendation:

Know your core values and use this knowledge to determine when you should partner and when you should go it alone. When you do decide to work in partnership, be sure to establish yourself as the majority partner so that you have the ability to make solo choices when needed. Use that ability sparingly in order to promote trust and not undermine your partner. If you can find the right balance between when to collaborate and when not to, you will flourish beyond measure. 

 

Artistic ID - The degree to which you find your core identity as a photographer in your artistic expression.

Test Result: HIGH

With a HIGH Artistic ID Quotient you may feel as if taking pictures is all you will ever be able to do. The internal validation you experience when you create art is the drive behind everything you do. You consider yourself an artist first (and a businessperson second) and you probably take that call pretty seriously. Because art in our utilitarian culture isn't universally recognized as valuable, you may sometimes feel misunderstood, overlooked and/or defensive. This can lead to an antagonistic relationship to commerce. You may see a fine line between selling your art and selling out. As a result, you may be critical of work created with less than "pure" motives. You may gravitate toward the position of underdog. This can be alternately discouraging and inspirational.

Recommendation:

Maximize your drive to create. You have more potential than most to push the limits of your genre. But, despite the lamentations of hordes of artistically-driven waitresses and waiters, no entitlements come with being an artist. If you successfully transfer even a bit of your creativity to the process of marketing and sales, you will absolutely break the bank. As a professional, you have two options: (1) embrace commerce as an opportunity rather than a necessary evil or (2) retain your exclusively artistic identification and anticipate the high likelihood of becoming a Grumpy. 

 

Entrepreneurial ID - The degree to which you find your core identity as a photographer in your success as a business-person.

Test Result: MEDIUM

With a MEDIUM Entrepreneurial ID Quotient you may vacillate between getting your identity from the sale of your art and from the art of the sale (see Artistic ID). This can be a strength if it motivates you to hone both skill sets. Of course, it can also be a liability when your efforts toward either side become luke-warm due to a lack of commitment either way.

Recommendation:

Get comfortable with the idea that your art feeds your business and your business advances your art. This isn't a moral issue or a matter of "purity." Both aspects are critical to becoming a professional and your success will be directly correlated to your commitment to both/and, not either/or. 

 

Attractiveness - The degree to which your personality, physical presence, charisma, social skills and confidence draw others to yourself.

Test Result: HIGH

With a HIGH Attractiveness Quotient, you are consciously or unconsciously appealing to almost everyone you meet. You don't necessarily try to be attractive, you just are. In fact, you may not even know why people like you. Odds are, your presence is marked by humility, kindness, comfort in your own skin, and/or a commitment to others.

Recommendation:

Don't become self-conscious, but do develop enough self-awareness that your attractiveness remains a bankable quality for you, rather than a flash in the pan. Remember that you do not have a birthright to be loved by others. People are fickle and perceptions can change very quickly. Some traits are seen as attractive or unattractive due to the social climate of the day; others are perennials. Develop your radar for how you are being perceived so you can fine-tune your brand image. A good rule of thumb is that your brand (which includes you) will probably need a fresh look and feel every four years not a change in your true nature, but a new "coat of paint" that shows you are responsive to changing times and fashions. 

 

Grumpy Factor - The degree to which you measure your success relative to how others are doing (e.g., if others are flourishing, you feel as if you are failing. If others are struggling, you feel as if you are gaining ground).

Test Result: LOW

With a LOW Grumpy Quotient, you are the master of your own attitude. When challenges present themselves, you identify them as opportunities. When "wronged," you ask yourself what you could have done to make things better. When affirmed, you receive the praise graciously and look for ways to affirm others. You share credit. You have integrity. You are contagiously grateful. You are willing to give up short-term gain for long-term universal benefit. More than just a "glass half full" person, your humility and optimism are non-negotiable core values. This is not a hard-wired character trait, however, and can change without warning, especially if you begin to associate with Grumpies. Without a conscious, ongoing commitment to believe in a world of abundance rather than scarcity, you are still at risk of becoming infected by the Grumpy Virus. Newer photographers are especially susceptible. So be careful!

Recommendation:

Fight to keep this quotient low at the cost of everything you do. Your essential non-Grumpiness will empower your brand more than any other quality. To let it slip is to give away your greatest asset. Practice sharing what you have, helping whenever you can and reminding yourself about all you can be grateful for. This can be challenging if you don't believe you have much to offer someone else. Do it anyway. Put yourself in a position where you are there to serve your clients, your competition's clients, your competition, your vendors, your mom and everyone. A constant attitude of "What can I contribute?" vs. "What's in it for me?" will, paradoxically, bring far more rewards than a self-protective one. 

 

Collaborative Creativity - The degree to which you get your creativity from being with people.

Test Result: MEDIUM

With a MEDIUM Collaborative Creativity Quotient, you are dynamic in your ability to find inspiration. You can find inspiration equally well when working alone or in tandem with others. This is a tremendous gift, especially if you apply your creativity to tasks others prefer not to collaborate on. Whether alone or with people, your world is a canvas ready to be painted on. If this creativity can be harnessed, you will wield remarkable power.

Recommendation:

This may seem counterintuitive, but if your aim is to be a professional, not just an enthusiast, you might want to work toward harnessing your creativity rather than unleashing it. Because of your extraordinary aptitude to create, it's important that you direct your creativity toward what needs to be accomplished in order to move your business forward and not just toward what interests you. Work to make your creativity accessible to those you are marketing to. 

 

Individual Creativity - The degree to which you get your creativity from being alone.

Test Result: MEDIUM

With a MEDIUM Individual Creativity Quotient, you are very much akin to photographers with a Medium Collaborative Creativity Quotient. You are able to be inspired in all contexts. Harnessing that creativity is your greatest challenge because it can often feel limiting to create alone or to create with others because of the inherent trade-offs. And just because you can create both alone and with others does not mean you do your best work in both of those settings. Try to make an honest assessment of this.

Recommendation:

Identify designated environments where you let yourself be creative alone and where you let yourself create with others. Leveraging both environments will yield your best work and open up more room in your life to be creative. Remember, as a professional, your work is only as valuable as the worth it creates for others. Choose your creative environments and projects with an eye toward what your clients will ultimately value most. 

 

Self-Promotion - The degree to which you feel comfortable promoting your brand (yourself) and actively seeking new business.

Test Result: MEDIUM

With a MEDIUM Self-Promotion Quotient, you probably see the marketing side of the business as a "necessary evil." You don't love it, but you don't run away from it either. Because you don't actively embrace the promotional aspects of the business, you probably don't put your best creative foot forward. Your marketing efforts are probably "so-so," and are thus producing so-so results.

Recommendation:

You need to learn to let your creative energy flow as much into the marketing side of the business as the "photo" side of the business. See every marketing challenge as a fun opportunity to attract exactly the kind of client you want. As you attract ideal clients (i.e. clients who want to work with you and only you), you will begin enjoy your work more and more. Think of marketing/promotion as a way of drawing together ideal client and ideal business. 

You can find the test here.

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