My blog is going to be a little different today. I want to offer some words of encouragement to all of my fellow photographers out there. I’ve had a rough couple of days when it comes to my photography business. I met with a couple a few weeks ago regarding their wedding and we had a great meeting, but ultimately yesterday they told me they decided to go with another photographer. They said they I take great pictures but they decided to go another route. I didn’t ask why because it could have been a number of things. I just thanked them for considering me.
Then today I had my first unhappy client. Actually, they weren’t really my client, my client was actually REALLY happy with my work, but this person that happened to be at the event was unhappy with me and said that she hoped my client was happy because she had “seen better.” I responded as nicely as possible that every photographer is different and everyone has different taste. My client saw my work before hiring me and it was up to her whether she liked it or not.
Naturally, these events have been a little discouraging. Rejection, in whatever form, still stings whether it’s nicely put like the first situation or blatantly hurtful like in the second one. So I want to say this to all of my photographers, whether you’ve been doing this for 20 years or are just picking up a camera for the first time ever.
You’re going to have awesome days. Days where you feel on top of the world because everyone is pleased with your work. Then will come days like I’m having where you compare yourself to everyone else in the industry and can’t understand why you are even a photographer because you’ll never be as good. Word of advice: DON’T COMPARE YOURSELF TO ANYONE. Yes, admiration is good and learning from the best is awesome, but you aren’t them and they aren’t you and you’re going to learn your own way of doing things and develop your own style. There will be people that LOVE your style and other people that don’t care for it at all. Even I can point out photographers whose style I don’t particularly care for. This doesn’t mean they’re bad photographers, they just don’t fit with my taste.
My best friend told me this last night and I’m glad she did because it helped me cope with the hurtful remark I got told today:
“It doesn’t mean you are a bad photographer. That’s just one couple choosing to go with another photographer. Kind of like a color for a wall you are painting. It doesn’t mean red, black, and blue are awful colors. It just means that magenta suits the person’s personality and liking.”
And it’s true. Sometimes you pick an outfit that you love, and someone hates it! You design your room one way and it’s awesome but someone sees it and can’t believe you did that.
Will you suck from time to time? Of course! We all do at some point! I look back at things that at the time I thought were good and cringe, but that’s ok. You HAVE to get better. There is ALWAYS room for improvement. Fashion photographer Russell James said “Once you think you’ve made it, you’re probably done.”
So keep going. Take the good criticism and ignore the ignorant, destructive kind. Get better, just don’t stop. You got this. =)