September 21, 2017

thursday thoughts // what you don’t see in the photos

so i want to dive into some topics here and there that aren’t all inspiration & good tips. they may be a little eye opening/hot topics at times but hopefully lift  a little weight off some creative shoulders. i want to talk about the world behind the scenes. my journey & conversations that are often shared among friends.

ITS VERY LONELY.

most creatives/artists are introverts. we enjoy being alone in our thoughts, but that world can feel very small and lonely when you are at home for hours and days on end alone. networking & meeting new people is a great way to help your business grow & for you to not feel to lonely. if you are introverted then going out and meeting new people isn’t exactly on your list of musts. i am blessed with an incredible supportive community here in seattle, but it took a lot of time, work, and even some uncomfortable “meetings”.  it has been the best thing that has ever happened to me. there is a constant text thread going, we meet to talk business, edit together, & sometimes just do nothing but drink wine and laugh. i could not do this without them. DO NOT let yourself sink into a quiet corner, busy in the work. force yourself to find a few photographers that you can connect with, and you can all be a support to each other. make it a priority and don’t give up until you have it.

I AM NOT ALWAYS AS BUSY AS I APPEAR TO BE.

momentum. its a real thing. nothing hurts you more then not having any work to show. it will make you go crazy mentally (we’ll continue on this in a moment), hurt your business by being quiet (going months with nothing will cause people to wonder if you’ve decided to do something else or what you’re even up to) you have to continually be in front of people, to catch the eye of the next client. so, the question is, what do you do if you don’t have any work to share to then book future work? this goes back to “shoot for you, shoot often” unless you need a healthy break, you need to be creating work. now is the time to show what you want to shoot. don’t sit & complain that you aren’t booking a certain type of session, show people what you want them to book you for with what you post. a styled shoot, or a certain location can be your hint to your audience what you want more of & what you can do. clients want to be able to see themselves in your photos. it makes sense. get your buns out there and shoot what you want to start booking. also, not every shoot you see from that photographer you admire is a paid gig. don’t get down on yourself that “so & so” always books the coolest people in the best locations. yes, they are connecting and collaborating with people. they are working & making things happen…showing their voice and style but its not always paid….so don’t get caught up in what you don’t have they they do……it’s not all black and white…just saying.

TRAVEL & DESTINATION WORK.

“oh my gosh, you’re so lucky. you get to travel all over & take pictures” don’t get me wrong, its amazing. when someone could totally hire a local but they choose to fly ME out to shoot their wedding!! WHAT?! its always an honor & i have only done about 5 out of state weddings…but there is another side to what appears to be the glamorous life. the other side is that it is exhausting. we often fly in 2 days before, take flights that were cheaper which means really early or late at night. we are away from home & family for 3-5 days at least, traveling alone to places we have never been, meeting people we have only spoken with over the phone (if lucky facetime), to sit alone in a hotel ordering room service editing a session from last month so we don’t get anymore behind then we are. and sometimes with those destination weddings, we are barely breaking even when you include time away, all the meals, rental cars, gas, etc. and let’s be honest……sometimes we are paying to get there when it comes down to it because “dream location” we really want to shoot there so we’ll do anything to make it happen or sometime you just need to get your foot in the door in a spot so you can get more where you want to be. — don’t feel like you aren’t “there” as a photographer until you shoot a wedding in another location. be patient, and don’t be so desperate that you sell yourself short and give away everything just to say you shot in x. you can shoot a killer wedding in your own back yard with the best damn couple in the world, drive home at night & sleep in your own bed & not freak out that a maid is going to steal all your gear while you are out to dinner. its really not a bad place to be.

I SECOND GUESS EVERYTHING I DO.

every effing time. — the way i edit. the way i responded to an email. the way my feed is curated & why did that photo get more interaction then that one? i sent my clients their gallery 5 minutes ago, why haven’t they said anything??? do they hate them? do they hate me? omg, i’m a horrible photographer–  this is the mental part i was talking about earlier. GET OUT OF YOUR OWN WAY! we self sabotage our own success. of course we want to kill it on every shoot, and we always want to be proud of the work we produce but we are NOT perfect. we have off days & its not all about the pretty portfolio or likes from our fellow peers. the job cannot be about the job or even the work…it has to be about the people, our clients. i tell my clients to be present on their day & really enjoy the moments….but am i present with them? am i so caught up in creating an amazing photo that i can’t wait to post later that i am missing the tear that just fell, or the way he smiled at her from across the room? its not about us….its not about you. just focus on them & the rest will follow.

WE ARE ALL JUST PEOPLE.

we all do it. scrolling through their work, judging a little, just checking to see if they have what it takes to make it in this industry. we don’t mean any harm but it is what it is…..there are always the top dogs & the new ones scrambling to fit in and then those somewhere in the middle. i remember the first time i second shot for one of the “big dogs”, i was so intimidated. they probably hated all of my shots..i mean they are seeing every-thing! BUT what i walked away with was a realization that they are human just like me. same insecurities, they have to take time during the day to figure out what they want and how they want to shoot it just like i do. the difference is, they’ve just been doing it a lot longer and have found their groove. they know their voice & brand very well.  they stay in that place & don’t leave. when you are new you’re all over, and its completely natural. you have to find your own path & way of doing things & it’s healthy. stop the comparison game & chasing after what someone else is doing. you’ll find what fits & it will be the best feeling in the world. can we also give a little more grace & love?? its hard out there. so what if they’re tones aren’t quite right or framing should have been better. let’s not forget where we once were starting out…

ITS EMOTIONAL.

this may not be for every photographer. for some it is strictly business. a certain number of shoots a month equals a certain income, you network, grow a little, buy some new equipment, file your taxes and on to the next year. yes, this is my business & i take it very seriously too. i know my cost of doing business & what i have to book in order to make my goals. i am not saying that there is only one side or the other but i just know for me that it’s so much more. i feel a lot, i care a lot. i get nervous before every shoot. i work more hours then i should. check my email and refresh again just in case i missed something. i get so excited when an email comes in that i will respond even if its 1am because i really want them to know i am interested! being emotionally invested can also wear you down. you have some really high highs & really low lows. you don’t know when to turn it off & you’re always thinking of ways to do better and push yourself the next time. there are months that can go by where not a single inquiry comes in. i see others booking left and right and i wonder what i am doing wrong. days when i wonder if a regular job with regular hours and a stable income would be better. when my body aches from standing on my feet for 12 hrs and sitting at my desk for another 12 & all i want to do is cry. i do wonder how long can i even do this? but that valley is short & i find myself again & the reason why i do what i do….i remember the good. i remember the people i get to meet & the love i get to witness. i remember the smile on my face when i pack up my equipment & head home at the end of the night. that even though i am totally exhausted i cant wait to dive into the photos from the day & share just one photo for my clients to see.  i’m learning to navigate through the lows & really appreciate the highs & maybe even settle in the middle a little more.

comments +

  1. lauren apel says:

    love that you’re doing these posts. so fun to read and feels like i had a coworker for the afternoon. respect and admire you girl. xx

  2. Michelle says:

    I just read this while sitting in a traffic jam around Detroit and I love all of it!

  3. Amy says:

    Lovely put. Really digging this series so I can’t wait for next weeks!

  4. Thank you! This is me and all of us. I woke up today wondering if I should start looking at job listings but now I’m going to get to work.

  5. Well said-all so true! Even taking the time to put it into words good job!!!
    I live north (auto correct said I love Keith) weird
    So we should have coffee! In our “spare” time!

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