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Photographers…stop being a**holes

I published this on my blog but it’s worth saying it again, to all of you, in case you didn’t see the original post.

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PHOTOGRAPHERS

Photographers.  The person with a camera that will make or break your session/wedding/bank account.

But on the flipside of that coin, they are also a bunch of assholes.  There.  I said it.  Oh boy!  Here’s this little known wedding photographer from Tampa that is going to open her mouth.  Yep ?

And this is why.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve watched multiple photographers make Facebook statuses about how they’ve reached out to another photographers to book a session/wedding.  This is a photographer that is reaching out to another photographer because they love their work, they respect their work and they are willing to pay MONEY to be in front of their camera.  That should be one of the highest compliments that a photographer can get.  But you know what is happening?  These “rock star” photographers aren’t answering emails back.  WTactualF?!  Why?  Give me one good legit reason why you, a well respected photographer in the LARGE sea of photographers, shouldn’t email someone back?

There isn’t one.

Well maybe there is.  Maybe they have gotten to the point where they think they are above someone?  Maybe they have gotten to the point where they think they no longer need the work.  If the latter is the case, then don’t shoot anyone but in reality, I really don’t think that’s the reason.

Photographers (not all) get to this point where they think they are above everyone.  Any photographer that emails/messages them, wants their secrets, wants to know what makes them tick.  PUHlease!  Not everyone is out to steal your secrets, which come on, it’s not like secrets can’t be found out with a crapton of trial and error so what are you really hiding from people?  These photographers are usually known as the “rock stars”.  They skyrocketed to stardom and forget where they came from.  I used to want to be one of those rock stars.  Booking clients left and right, viral images all over the place, clients that don’t blink twice about pricing but you know what?  I refuse to be one of those photographers.  I love helping other photographers and I love the fact that other photographers contact me to shoot them.  I don’t care how “big” I ever made it, that is one of the coolest feelings in the world!

5-6 years ago when I started this whole journey, there were a handful of photographers that I was close with.  Some rose to the rock star level and some didn’t (raises hand).  Those photographers are now the ones that raise an eyebrow when they see others that aren’t in their clique’, not return emails when contacted to shoot and most of all, think they are above others.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s a dog eat dog world in the photography world but we all need those that we can count on, that we can lean on, that will ask us to shoot them or vise versa.  Ranting to spouses/family about what is going on in the photographer world is pretty useless and almost always will get a bunch of head nods just so it seems like they are paying attention.  You need those friends that will understand exactly what you are going through.  Turning into an a**hole photographer is a surefire way to get you on that list of photographers people don’t want to talk to.  You get that reputation of being hard to reach, we aren’t lining your pockets with workshop money so you won’t give others the time of day.  STOP IT!!  You were once that photographer on the bottom of the monopod so just freakin’ stop it.  You are no better than anyone else with a camera in their hands.

We all started somewhere right?  I mean we all weren’t born with a silver camera in our hands or maybe some where but this photographer wasn’t.  If it wasn’t for the handful of photographers that I’m friends with, it would be a lonely world out there.  Don’t ever look down on someone because they do things differently with their clients or they shoot different than you do.  If we were all the same, it would be a very boring world.

So the next time you get an email from another photographer, don’t assume that they want all your secrets.  They want to connect.  They want to give you money for a session/wedding so don’t ignore them.  If you don’t want to give out information, be nice about it.  While it sucks to reach out to a photographer and get shot down, getting a response back is even better.

What I Learned After One Year of Full Time Photography

FullTIme

Hello there!

As I am approaching my one year anniversay in June of becoming a full time photographer,  I have been reflecting on what I have learned this past year. I am SO grateful to be doing my dream job everyday but it has been a bit of a bumpy road. Being an entrepreneur is not easy, and I didn’t expect it to be, but I didn’t realize how much work I was going to be doing and how much time it was going to take to be successful but let me tell you, it has been worth it!

Some backstory for you is I was working full time in a health care facility as a receptionist. I did some college but never figured out what I wanted to dedicate my life to. I have always been a creative and wanted to something creative but didn’t want to be an art teacher. So I was getting my generals out of the way expecting that one day I will wake up and know what I want to do for the rest of my life. Well that never happened and instead, I met a boy and got married!!! I never finished school and thought I would be a receptionist for the rest of my life. Then one day my husband and I bought a camera so we could make music videos for him (he’s a musician) but instead, I started playing with it and began taking pictures, posting them on facebook, and wa-la(!), I began getting clients. I did it as a hobby for two years when one day I had the opportunity to quit my full time job to pursue it. By opportunity I mean my boss wouldn’t let me take time off to photograph a wedding that was two weeks away and had been planning to shoot for months and I couldn’t just cancel on the bride. Also hubby got a new job making enough money to cover my income.

So, all of that to say, even though I am full time I am not making a ton of money (yet!) but I am constantly working on finding ways to build my business. Not only that I am constantly learning about how to run a business and what tools to use to help run a business. So without furthe adieau, here is what I have learned (in no particular order):

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1. Writing down my dreams and your goals for my business and looking at them regularly will get you far. I have writen down my financial goals, educational goals, my personal goals, and have made a timeline of when I want to have these goals done by. By doing this, I have executed my first styled shoot this past year and have been published a couple of times all because I wanted it really bad. Plus I have met all of my financial goals every month, have booked double the weddings I had last year, and have learned so much by taking classes and workshops including Carrie’s Photography Awesomesauce Photo Camp.

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2.  This kind of piggy backs on the last one but never stop learning. I feel like I’m still barely scratching the surface of photography and everything there is to know about it (even though I’ve been shooting for 3 years) but thinking about the things I want to learn and maybe schedule an hour or two everyweek just to research it has helped me so much. I’ve learned a little bit about off camera flash, what the difference is between a Canon 6D and a Canon 5D miii is, what the Brenzier Method is, how to fix chromatic aberration and a few other things. Since I learned photography on my own I have had to learn about a lot of things the hard way and have had to do my own research but it helps me feel a little more confident as a photographer and not feel like a fool or a fraud lol. Can you hear some of my true feelings coming out lol?

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3. Shoot for yourself regularly. This has kept me feeling inspired and creative and not burnt out. It’s so easy for me to get in a rut and feel like photography is work, which it is, but I don’t ever want to forget why I’m doing it and why I love it. When I was starting out I would take my camera everywhere with me just to make sure I captured everything that was beautiful to me but now I think about how much editing I already have to do and I don’t want to add to it. I still don’t take my camera everywhere with me but instead I plan a shoot with a family member or a friend and go buck wild with it. I plan weird poses that I’ve been wanting to try and I have them wear something that correlates with the mood or theme I’m going for, and I just create. Most of my favorite images have been during these shoots and they always leave me feeling rejuvinated and inspired.

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4. If you have read my last post then you know I’m an introvert. That means I can so easily get cooped up in my house and become a loner (fo real doe). What I have learned is that community is important. By seriously stretching myself and purposing to go to workshops and networking events (because that is literally work for me) I have met some incredible people and have had their help making my dreams come true. For example, I went to a workshop here in Denver for wedding vendors and met some incredbile women who were just starting their businesses and we partnered together for our first styled shoot. It was so much fun and we all were so excited to work together and now we are all good friends.

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5. Even though I have been shooting for only 3 years I can already tell that my shoulders and back are starting to hurt from holding my camera and my camera bag. Since I am on my feet a lot during weddings and shoots and sitting hunched over a lot while editing, I have decided to take better care of myself. I am only 26 and if I am already feeling pain in my body. That is a sign for me to do take better care of my body. If I want to be the best at what I do and live a long healthy life and stay mobile, I need to take care of my body because I only get one and it’s suppose to last up to 70 to 100 years. I have wanted to get a little healthier anyway but I have decided that my health and body are worth investing in so I am doing accupunture, some chiropractic, an occasional massage, and doing yoga. Now that wedding season has begun I will really be able to tell if these are helping by the end of the season but so far I’m loving all of them. And just a tip (I am a huge budgeter and like to find deals), if you can’t afford preventative care a suggestion for you may be to do trade work with them. I have been trading photos with my accupunturist so that I can get “free” care and it’s been amazing! Also I go to a yoga class occasionally to stay inspired but I have found some amazing resources on YouTube for free and have been loving practicing at home.

 

Anyway, those are just a few things I have a learned this year from being full time. I know it was a little bit longer of a post but hopefully the photos helped a little! 🙂

 

Alicia

3 Alternatives to Photo CDs

3 Alternatives to Photo CDsDisclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means Photography Awesomesauce receives commission if you make a purchase using affiliate links.

It’s 2016. CDs are old news. Now people buy their movies on iTunes, own their music digitally and keep photos in digital format too. What inspired me to write this post is the surprising amount of photographers who are still proving a disc of images to your clients. If that’s you I want to encourage you to look to other alternatives, which I’ve listed in this post. Here’s why. In the last couple years many computer companies have stopped creating computers with a disc drive at all. Even though you can purchase one separately it’s likely that we’re now in an age where discs are going to become outdated, if they haven’t already. However you provide digital files to your clients, whether they’re included or you sell them separately, make sure you’re at the very least giving them in a format that will be working in the future.

It doesn’t matter to me how you decide to include digital files in your business and I know there’s still a lot of animosity in the photography industry about terms like “shoot and burn” or “shoot and share.” I’m not here to tell you what’s best. I think there’s a lot of great options for a variety of business owners, who may all like to operate their businesses differently depending on their needs. I’m just here to tell you that CDs are out…and these methods are in…

  1. Online Digital Downloads – One of the quickest ways to give people their digital photos is through digital download and companies like Shootproof make that super easy. They also give you all kinds of ways to control the downloads too, so you can limit it to certain people, or sell them, or include them in the session fee. It’s up to you to decide how you want to do it, but the nice thing about Shootproof is that it’s easy for your clients to download and there’s no risk of a disc getting lost or damaged in the mail. Plus, you can also sell prints – so it increases your profit opportunities. Shootproof has an automated email reminder system that can push out reminders to your clients to download before an expiration date, or remind them to purchase prints. There are lots of choices in companies if you want to do an online download delivery, but here are 9 Reasons Shootproof is the Best.
  2. USB Drives – USB/Flash Drives are the best option if you want to give your clients their digital files in a tangible format. In fact, there are all kinds of amazing ways to dress them up, personalize them and really wow your clients with them. One of my favorite ways is by sending a handcrafted wood box (which you can even engrave), with a few prints and a beautiful USB all wrapped up. Ryan’s Denn is literally my new favorite place for this. Their Luxe boxes are simply divine. I don’t say the word ‘divine’ ever, but I’m telling you their boxes are DIVINE. You can order boxes through them and USB drives.

    Ryan's Denn Handcrafted Photo Boxes
    Photo Credit: Ryan’s Denn
  3. In-Person Sales – In person sales might mean that you don’t provide digital downloads at all, or maybe you still do. But instead of just putting ye olde CD technology in the mail, consider getting together with your clients in person and trying to sell them all kinds of tangible prints, albums, canvases and other goodies that they can hold in their hands and pass down to generations to come.

Just whatever you do – no more CDs. If your clients still ask for them? Offer them a USB instead.

If you want to learn more awesome behind the business stuff like this make sure you subscribe to our weekly newsletter below, where we’ll be giving out extra special discounts and a few free products only for subscribers this Winter. You can also join our Facebook group, follow us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram, and even follow me on Pinterest where I love to pin social media, blogging, business, and photography tips from all over the web! If you subscribe to our newsletter you’ll need to head on over to your email after you hit the submit button here to confirm your subscription. If you don’t see a confirmation check your junk/spam!

 

Don’t be a Photography Trend Victim

Don't be a photography trend victim

Can we talk openly about photography trends?

I feel like I’m always hearing:

“Ewww, my client wants me to do [SPOT COLOR/DINOSAUR/OTHER] edits.”

“What new PRESETS should I buy?”

“I can’t believe she put a baby in THAT?”

“How did I ever think that [PRESET/INSTAGRAM FILTER] looked good?”

“Milk baths are [AMAZING/GROSS]”

“Are those TRAIN TRACKS?”

It’s the good, the bad, the ugly,  and the unsafe of photography trends. Many trends are followed by the masses only to be shunned a few years (or even months) later. One photography trend might have most of the industry in agreement while another is the subject of hot debates.  And then – if you are new and don’t know that a particular trend has now become a faux pas – you might find yourself blasted in an open photography forum by a mob of people who forgot what it was like to just be starting out.

Well, let me tell you a little secret I’ve learned about photography trends: they come and go in cycles.

The super popular trends we are doing today may be the “selective color” of tomorrow and then who knows? The trend may come back in vogue in a decade. Spot coloring has been around for 50 years, at least. Double exposure has been around for over a century. But the popularity of these techniques rises, falls, and returns in new ways. Half those people who are blasting that “fauxtographer” for [insert photography trend of choice] have or will fall victim to a photography trend at some point in their career.

I fully admit it. I have participated in many a photography trend over my years doing this. Some were trends I really loved and others I jumped on for no reason other than I saw others doing it and I thought I should, too.  In 2006, I was all about that selective color. By 2010, I was split-toning photos with yellow highlights and blue shadows. Now I process with a little matte, but even that is evolving in how I use it.

I’m totally willing to cop to it. I just have to look back and ask myself “Okay, did I do it well or poorly? What did I learn from that experience?” Instead of being embarrassed by the trends we followed that are no longer hip in the industry, we can embrace them as part of our growth and journey to where we are now.

So how do we avoid being photography trend victims in the future? Well, this is the reason some obsess over creating images that they consider “classic” and “timeless.” But even then we may be subconsciously following trends in our posing, our composition, the types of props we incorporate, or even the clothing we advise our clients to wear.

I want to experiment.

I want to be free to be creative.

I want my images to reflect the now.

I don’t want to constantly worry about what others think about the techniques I use or trends I might decide to follow or not follow.

You too?

So how can we do those things and still be true to ourselves and our work?

Here I’ve compiled some simple reminders for helping us own our work without being a “victim” to trends.

  1. I don’t have to be afraid to take risks. Try new things.

    The only way to learn, grow and become better at our art is to try new things. Why let someone else’s opinion of a technique prevent us from trying it? This is part of the growth process. We don’t have to put everything we try in the portfolio. We just have to get ourselves out there and learn new things so we can be better artists.

  2. After I experiment with a photography trend, I will reflect on it and whether it’s right for me.

    Does this technique work for my shooting style? Do I feel a connection with this type of work?  Does it fit the vibe of my brand? Does it match the message I want to convey to my clients?  For me, this means that I am currently on board with techniques like matte processing, prisming, free-lensing and in-camera double-exposure because these fit with my style and brand, but I still do them in moderation. There are other trends out there I enjoy, but they don’t fit my business. And conversely, the techniques that work for me may be a bad fit for you. Learning to be discriminate about the trendy techniques we use and committing to doing them well will set us apart by keeping us true to ourselves. When you find a trend that works for you, do it with purpose.

  3. Just because a client asks me for something, doesn’t mean I have to do it.

    I think the photography trend of wedding parties running away from dinosaurs is super awesome, but it doesn’t fit my style and brand so I don’t offer it. However, I once had a client ask for a fake snow effect even though that’s not something I normally like or offer. It was important to her and I figured out how to do it in a way that fit my style and was able to make a long time client happy. Some things to consider when evaluating client requests are: how it important it is to my client, am I okay with it potentially being out there with my name attached to it, and am I prepared to deal with requests from others to do the same thing if it’s not something I want to offer.

  4. If a technique isn’t working for me, it’s okay to end it.

    An on-going photography trend that I love [when other photographers do it] is the cake smash. Because I am primarily a family photographer, I thought that I needed to offer cake smashes because that was just what family photographers do. The problem was that the popular studio-style cake smashes don’t really fit my style or my brand. It finally occurred to me that just because I photograph families, does not mean I have to offer cake smashes. That doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with cake smashes. They just don’t work for me. So simple yet so profound. If something isn’t a fit for me, I don’t have to do it!

  5. I will be kind to others even if I think their use of a technique is awful or dated.

    In other words, I’m not going to be a jerk. This doesn’t mean I have to tell everyone I think their work is amazing if I think it needs help, but I want to be mindful of back to when I was a new photographer and what helped me. If someone is committing a photography faux pas, there’s no need to mob them with criticism. I just don’t understand why people gang up on each other about these things. Why should it matter if my fellow photographer loves using selective color or [insert faux pas technique of choice here]? Does his choice ultimately affect me? If that person asks me for CC, then I will take it as a compliment that they respect me and give them criticism that is actually constructive – like why is their use of a technique ineffective rather than just saying that I don’t like that technique. It will make us better photographers for it.  Plus karma.

  6. I will own my journey.

    We are only victims if we don’t own it. Let’s not be ashamed of who we are or how we got here.

Why You Need a Photography Mentor

Why You Need a Photography Mentor

When I first started my photography career, I didn’t realize the benefit of having a mentor who was in this business. I have since realized several very important things about why having one is such a valuable thing, especially in a creative business such as photography.

  1. Mentors have been in your shoes. They know where you are coming from and where you have the potential to go. They know how to grab their boot straps and carry on, lifting themselves and others up one step or one day at a time.
  2. Mentors can guide you, especially when you ask questions, towards greater growth and expanding your potential. They may not know what you don’t know which is why asking questions is so important for your growth.
  3. Mentors are usually at a point further along in their career than you are and therefore able to inspire you by their own business acumen.
  4. Mentors enable you to laugh at your mistakes without making you feel like throwing in the towel.
  5. Mentors (or at least good ones) encourage you to put your best foot forward even when you don’t feel much like it and even when you don’t want to. This enables you to get past obstacles you see as standing in your way when really they are just hurdles you are jumping on your climb to the top of your game.
  6. Mentors applaud you for your successes and don’t think you’re a fool when you fail. This one is critical, because if they are putting you down then they aren’t your mentor at all even if they have more or better experience than you do and even if they are where you want to be.
  7. And last, great mentors are so excited when you move past them and need to seek another mentor who can make you want to reach even further. They are your biggest champions and some of your biggest fans.

So take the time to seek out a mentor – find someone you admire and follow them on social media, comment on their blog posts (not just on Facebook) and send them a message asking if they would be willing to mentor you. Be understanding if they simply don’t have time – they have a life and a business to run also so they may not have time to take on another mentee. But it will make a big difference in your lives when you find the right mentor.