It’s a big day over here! One I’ve been waiting and battling nerves over this for quite some time, friends! Today, I’m making the official launch of mentor sessions! After reading through this second round of CMP’s 3 Tips for Photographers, take a look at the new For Photographers section of the website!
Friends, I love our industry. There is so. much. talent! There are so many amazing creators out there (established and upcoming) and I just want to say how much I appreciate you all. We are, together, making the industry this special thing that it is! With that said, I also know everyone feels it. The market is saturated. I felt it the most when I was in my early stages and trying out this new endeavor. Every time I mentioned to someone about my dream of being “photographer”, it was then followed by a “oh, I do that too!” or “my mom is a photographer”. It was hard to feel there was any room left for me ! But as I’ve journeyed along and carved out more of my own space within the industry, it’s been easier to not feel so discouraged. So, today, I’m sharing 3 tips that I feel are pretty core to success in setting yourself apart and claiming your space in the industry. I so hope they bless you!
#3–Develop a signature style
If you had to use three words to describe you, what would they be? I ask, because this likely is the same way you’d describe your photographic style. If these words aren’t defining your work, but you want them to, work on it! Create a pinterest board of images that tell the kinds of stories you want to tell, not to copy, but to help you capture the idea of what it is you want to create. Give your clients guidelines on what to wear, master light so you know how to use it and get consistent results, and know who you are. In an artistic industry, we need our potential buyers to connect deeply with our art. If our art isn’t well defined, how are we able to know how to sell it, let alone expect our client to know what they’re buying? I remember this was a huge turning point for me. Once I could define my work in a few set sentences and words, it was so much easier to present my work (and passion!) to others, and it was so much easier for them to know whether or not it was the right fit. If you’re consistent with your style (and consistency is key!) you will start to draw in or repel people, and you want both! Both contribute to the success of creating the kind of art that brings your heart and passion alive, and it will set you apart in it’s uniqueness of YOU.
I feel like this is somewhat similar in tone to the above, but here I’m speaking specifically about which services you do choose and do not choose to offer. At first it can be so easy to want to do it all–more possible streams of income, right? But truthfully, in my experience and knowing from others, it is far more profitable to specialize in one area and to become really, really good at that area. Find what you’re most passionate about, then do that! Pour yourself into it. As you become great at your one thing, others will catch on, and the next time a friend-of-a-friend mentions needing a newborn or wedding photographer, YOU will come to mind because you define that one thing for them, and you are incredible at it!
#1–Devote yourself to service
I believe that all of us must end up in this industry because we crave to create! To use our own unique set of eyes to paint a picture of beauty for the world to revel in. Some of us are really, really amazing at this piece, only to completely neglect another fundamental area: service. It is a core piece to taking your business and art to the next level. There are some people who are incredible artists, but those who can pair that with the careful curation of a thoughtful and intentional service will soar above, because people care how they are treated and they care about experience. For example, I’m a frequent customer of my local Starbucks. Are there other coffee shops in town with a cup of joe that is far superior? YES. Absolutely. And I love those places and their coffee. Mmmm. But there is something that keeps bringing me back to my favorite store down the street, especially when I bring my sweet 1 year old son, Achilles along. The baristas are smiley, helpful, and kind. They remember us and especially Achilles, commening on how big he’s gotten since the last time they saw him. There is something in me that will [sometimes] pass on a better cup of coffee to get to share in the enriching experience of the service of my local Starbucks. Do both artistry and service well, and you will soar above the ranks, friends.
And lastly, a sweet shoutout to two of my photography besties because this just seems appropriate. These girls have been the ones to journey the rollercoaster road of entreprenuership with me. I owe so much to their sweet souls as they have encouraged, listened, and taught me a lot about what it means to create art as we’ve journeyed the road side-by-side.