A Pep Talk for Photographers

Whether you’re a photographer, business owner, or just daydreaming of being one, here’s my go-get ‘em post for you.  May you never stop chasing your dreams and have the right people along side you to spur you on, all the while being an equally positive, encouraging person to others in your business.

Be satisfied where you are and with who you are

It’s important to want to constantly learn until you get to the point where you’re happy with your style.  This doesn’t mean you stop learning about technology and products out there, of course.  If you are satisfied where you have developed and taken your style that you don’t feel the need to compete with other photographers or feel inadequate (because you can’t, and you’re not), that is a great thing and it’s awesome when you arrive there.

You can even take this one step further into your personal life.  Be happy with who you are.  If you ever feel the need to defend your thoughts, creativity, passions, dreams, all that encompasses who you are to someone else, then that person may not treasure who you are and what you offer to the world.  Find someone who loves you, adores you, and encourages you so you can flourish.

Remember that you are a unique creation.  There is no one like you. The way you photograph, the way you create images, design, throw parties, do makeup, it’s an expression of who you are and so do not let anyone tell you it’s wrong, or you can improve.  You decide that.  Remember, your style probably will evolve as you become more educated, and that’s more than okay because it’ll be on your terms.

Create a community and network

Find friends and colleagues in the same business or relatable businesses that can give you honest feedback but also encourage you to be better.  Ask questions, share insights and refer.  Building a community with others will benefit you in so many realms from learning from one another, shooting together, and passing along referrals for jobs you can’t do.

I do this with photography and graphic design. I meet with creative minds around the Valley and network regularly. I want to see what others do because if they do something awesome, I want to ask them about it and if I need their help, I want to enlist their talents to collaborate on a project.

This isn’t about getting ahead as much as it’s building friendships to help one another.  We all need friends who can relate to what we’re going through, the struggles, the excitement, and the help.  This innate networking bug in me has to stem from my time as a journalist realizing connections are everything.  Networking and making friends is exactly how I got the jobs I did as a journalist, how I landed the interviews, and in the photography world, how I grew as a photographer.  Ever heard the saying, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.   I can’t tell you how true it is.

When someone asks you advice, remember those who helped you.  Pay it forward to another budding photographer.

Be nice to others in the business

The easiest to criticize are those who are either jealous, unhappy, or don’t, and/or can’t even do it themselves (photograph, run a business, be an encourager) or are just plain mean! So tell the peanut gallery to hush and take a back seat or put in your iPod earbuds and listen to happy songs as you skip along your path.

Remember, everyone starts at the beginning line.  You had to start somewhere too! How often we all forget when we first start learning how many times we captured a blurry image and post it thinking it was great, gave someone raccoon eyes, made them face the sun because we thought direct light was best, or over processed our images.  I once processed an image blue through Lightroom.  BLUE!!!!

I once shared a shoot I did on Twitter to have a photographer that followed me and I followed back in return, tweet minutes after I posted, a general tweet that I felt was directed to me and my shoot (to be completely honest, I’m certain it was).  My heart broke.  I asked her if that comment was directed to me.  She backtracked.  I softened my response, but I knew.  You know what would have been nice or what I would have done had the role been reversed?  I would have sent an email saying how good it was and shared her tip.  I would have appreciated that so much more.  We’re here to help one another, not criticize.

Love your clients

Love them because they are people, and love them because you realize how much they treasure and value your work.  Love them for all of those things.  Love because it’s right.

Your clients are hiring you to capture their special occasion, design their invitation for their special occasion, or create a logo for the business they’re pouring their heart, soul and money into.  They hire you because they want you on their team.  They get you!  They aren’t questioning why you shoot this way or process that way.  They love your work, what you provide and chose you!  So love them back and don’t ever doubt your ability to deliver.

Take a break

Don’t overwork yourself.  Take it from me, the gal who has a graphic design, photography, and stationery business, is involved with church ministry and a nutso social life trying to be the best bff, daughter, and follower she can be.  It’s tough and sometimes, I need a vacay to get away from it all.

Recently I took a 4-day weekend of hibernation where I didn’t log into social networking sites like Twitter or Facebook. I didn’t take a ton of calls or reply or text like crazy. I had a relaxing weekend to organize, reflect, catch up, and reprioritize my life.  It was like rehab and I came out clean.

If you know you’re overbooking, then stop promoting.  If you need to play catch up, then postpone some things. And, if you can afford the time, take it off.  You’ll feel so much better and the world will thank you for it.  Then when you jump back in the saddle, you can ride!  Go get ’em!

Diana Elizabeth wants to ask you a question.  If there’s one thing you’d like to wake up doing every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?  What’s stopping you?  Then meditate on this: “The greatest barrier to success is the fear of failure.” – Sven Eriksson

Diana Elizabeth is an author, photographer, and obsessive antique shopper. You can typically find her in her garden wrist deep in dirt, at a local estate sale or planning her next epic party.

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