I was featured on a blog in an interview-style post and I wanted to share question that is actually directed right at you: If you could sit down with a photographer that feels incredibly defeated and discouraged, what would you say to help them? Is there a story of overcoming and victory in your own story that you could share?
“What would you tell a photographer that feels defeated or discouraged?”
“Courtney’s Personal Enemy #1: COMPARISON. Over the past four years of building my business, I have watched others grow faster than me in terms of numbers — followers, likes, weddings booked, etc. My slow growth was certainly discouraging and I felt (and still feel) Imposter Syndrome on a regular basis. But I continually remind myself that I am on my own journey and to be patient. God has a plan for me. I tried to concentrate on MY intentions, MY path, not theirs. And it ultimately saved me.
Quality > Quantity
From the very start, I chose to set my intentions and focus on QUALITY, not quantity. I never wanted to overbook myself (because I had a full-time job) but more importantly, so that I could LEARN my business, FOCUS on each couple and prepare for their wedding individually and deliver an unforgettable experience. I loved having the mental capacity to create my own systems and processes like my wedding workflow and blogging after each wedding. I loved being able to present myself as a professional and not a hot mess, kid with a camera (even though some days felt like that at the beginning!) Plus, fewer weddings allowed me to go above and beyond for my couples and create deliver the ultimate client experience.
Education Over Equipment
I focused my time (and money) on education instead dumping it into equipment so that I had the knowledge to create an experience like no one else in my area. Let’s be real, your clients can’t tell the difference between a photo with an 85mm 1.8 vs the 1.4 anyway. Heck they probably can’t tell between a 35mm and 50mm!
Starting out we think “Their photos are incredible, I’ll DM them and ask what camera or lens they’re using, I’ll buy that and then my photos will look like that, too!” but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Learning how to choose great light will produce natual skin tones, learning superior client experience will help you deliver a standout service and create raving fans and knowledge of Lightroom will help you edit faster and create cohesiveness from session to session.
It is the photographer,
not that the camera,
that is the instrument.
And as I reflect on my journey up to this point, the growth of my business has been (and still is) slower than those around me but now I see it as more of an “exponential growth” with a slow start, building on its momentum and I get the feeling it’s about to take off!
Overnight success isn’t real
To the discouraged or defeated photographer, here is my non-tech-related advice: Trust the process. Put up your blinders and stay in your lane. Overnight success is not a thing. Be patient as you build your confidence and your business. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Find your WHY, set your intentions and DO YOU. Stop watching what other people are doing!
My mindset shift has done wonders for my business and mentality, and it will do the same for you! So stay hungry, stay focused and be patient. Hard work does pay off, I promise!