Together we are better
This post is about sharing your knowledge, creating a community and being kind… because why not?
Early on in my career I reached out to someone I looked up to in the industry. I emailed her, just to say hi, tell her that I admired her work and asked if she had any tips about starting my business the right way. I didn’t hear back from her for a while, but when I did it was a huge blow, a huge blow to my confidence and my outlook on this industry. It was a nasty email telling me that I better get insurance, I better not come try to take her clients and I better figure out what I’m doing before I get sued. In that moment, I made a decision. I decided I would never, ever, ever be that person. I decided if anyone needed any help, encouragement, advice whatever, I would be the one to help.
Sometimes this job can be lonely, well who am I kidding about 95% of the time. We are behind a computer editing away for hours on end, emailing, uploading and social media-ing it up, the only human contact within the industry is at a networking event. Which can seem daunting, especially if you are new in the industry or a total introvert like me. But you MUST keep moving forward, it does get easier. I reached out to quite a few more people and of course, some were more receptive than others. And what I found was that the people that took the time to answer me back were the people that ended up being my friends. I have found some of my best friends in this business and it has truly made the journey so much sweeter.
Something I wish would change….I see this a lot, either people not sharing referrals, or charging other people for referrals! This is just plain crazy, if you are booked why not spread the love? Start a small group of people that inspire you, a group of likeminded photographers that you would be happy and honored to refer when you are booked. And guess what, they will refer you back and you will help each other’s business grow, and trust me grow it will. A referral from another photographer is gold, like 24 karat gold. I would say a good 60% of our bookings come from referrals from other photographers, and for this, I thank the lady who was not so nice to me, because she showed me the value of being kind and being helpful. No matter how many other photographers there are in the industry you will always have work….always! Be you, be kind and be a friend.
I have found a great group of friends. Yes, we all have different styles that we shoot and edit, and we all charge differently, but, we have one thing in common, the desire to tell as story through our images while creating beautiful art. Together we can do so much more… together we can make the community better, we can improve our skills, we can inspire each other, we can encourage each other, and yes we CAN book more weddings! With my friends, we can bounce marketing ideas off of each other, share tips on attracting our ideal client etc. Yes, I do have the occasional woe is me, I think that is normal as an artist, we are always trying to be better than we are now. It is great to have someone to share that with, not just the woes but someone that knows exactly what you are going through can feel your pain and encourage you to get up off of the floor. Make time to reach out to other photographers, start a small group that meets up monthly. There is a need for that in our community, BIG TIME. Remember together we are better, so cheers to togetherness!