Photography is 80% business and 20% photography. I heard this a lot at the beginning of my photography career, and now I believe it 110%. It is true. When I first started, all I focused on was how to take good photos, how to know my camera pretty well, how to understand the lighting and so on without knowing how knowing a lot about taking good photographs and nothing about business would not help me in the long run. Do I know enough about how to run a successful business or great business strategies? NO. However, I do know a lot more than I knew only 4 months ago because everytime I got frustrated, I made myself stop first, and reevaluate my strategies and knowledge.
A lot of my photographer friends get frustrated just like how I always got frustrated. I would love to share how I deal with my frustration, and hopefully, I will be more of a help and won’t end up hurting anyone’s feeling.
#1 We are artists first. As artists, we tend to compare our artwork with others, and there are so many amazing photographers out there. Every time I see Melissa Jill’s work, Jerry Ghionis, Jasmine Star, Joe Buissink, Trevor Dayley, Jose Villa, Clayton Austin or Jessica Claire’s work, I become speechless. These are a few of the many photographers whose work I LOVE. These are a few of the many photgraphers that are true artists and business people. Of course it’s ok to feel frustrated at times for not being able to produce such amazing photoraphs, but that frustration need to turn into motivation. When I get frustrated, I take a few days off. Then I look at my work, and think what do I need to improve? Do I have a style? What kind of photographs do I enjoy taking the most? Why? If I got married, what kind of photographs would I want? Is that the kind of style I enjoying doing for others? There are a lot of amazing photographers that enjoy playing around with flash, and the pictures are AMAZING! I love looking at their work, but I realized that I enjoy taking natural light photographs a lot more than flash. Finding the great natural or available light, and challenging myself with it is more enjoyable to me than using flash.
#2 Who doesn’t want to rise like Jasmine Star, right? I’ve learned to accept that I wasn’t born with amazing, charismatic personality like Jasmine or David Jay. I wasn’t born with amazingly good luck either. I had to struggle and work hard for everything in life. So, what’s wrong with that? Nothing. I made myself come up with a destination for my future in photography. Of course, it might be same as trying to reach the moon, but that might take me at least closer to the moon, right? It’s ok to take time, but do it right. My motto is, whatever I do, I want to do my best or else I don’t want to do it. When I met with Dane Sanders last year, he told how he had a full time job and did photography for 8 years. It took him 8 years to get to where he is now, but he reached his destination, right? He shared with the world the mistakes he made at the beginning of his career, but he learned from it instead of becoming a grumpy. I wish I could speed up my process to reach my destination, but that’s not the reality, and accepting the reality only makes things better than does any harm.
#3 We want to book 15-20 weddings a year or more, right? Is that possible? Of course it is possible. There are so many successful photographers that are booking as many as 40 – 50 weddings each year. I am in the same boat as many of you are, however, there are ways to book a lot of weddings. My marketing knowledge is horrible, but that should only motivate me to learn more. If I am not booking weddings then there must be something that I’m not doing right. That’s what happend to me last year. I was pretty frustrated, and then made myself work on my marketing skills, come up with plans, goals, work on my client meeting skills and more. Finally, it started to pay off. I think I still suck big time, but I am working really hard to become so good that I would be able to write a blog post or post a video of all of the above skills.
#4 A positive outlook is very important in life whether you are a photographer or a doctor or an engineer or anyone else. Negativity contaminates creativity and happiness. Staying positive and seeing the good in everything will only make our lives, and lives of others around us better. Especially as artists, as wedding photographers, our job is to make our clients’ wedding more beautiful than it already is, right? If all we see in life are the bad things then how are we going to make our clients wedding more beautiful?
I have to share this pin that I found on pinterest. Let’s get a whole bunch of pinatas and have a PARTAY!