1. Look up and don’t compare yourself to others in your city. Essentially, this is how you’ll stand out as unique, gain confidence and fit into the shoes you’re meant to fill
If you’ve made it to this blog post, it must mean that you’re truly desiring to get your name out—whether you’re moving your business, have just moved it or are struggling to get your name out in the city in which you are. And honestly, if you read any of these, this is probably my favorite.
So let me leave a little personal advice with you in this post.
I actually learned this when I lived in Las Cruces, but it transferred so well for me when I moved to Dallas. You see, when I started in NM, I started from the bottom. Haha. Literally. I didn’t know what I was doing, and therefore, it showed in my work a lot in the early days. My work has and is continually being refined to fit my knowledge and style.
This is going to reveal such a sinful heart, but I’m being honest. I can remember looking at other local photographer’s work and feeling so much jealousy and judgment. I would pick apart their photography and editing, compare it to my own and essentially try to talk myself up (even when I was worse than them). In turn, this only hurt me more. It created such a bitter, lonely place for me to be.
When I realized the state I was in and realized the desire for other local photographers to have a relationship with me personally, not only photography-related, my heart began to change and my conviction was evident. I began to make friendships with these photographers and find my own style in the process. And as if that weren’t positive enough, I began to book more….BECAUSE of referrals from them. It was a two-way street: everybody was benefitting from this connecting. Friends, there truly are ENOUGH weddings to go ‘round. Enough sessions to go ‘round. Especially in Dallas! You don’t want to photograph a wedding EVERY weekend. Or at least I want to have a life. ;-) When I began to recite this very line to myself, it put so much into perspective and relieved so much weight from my shoulders.
Instead of comparing myself to the people around me and worrying that people would choose them over me, I began to look UP. I began to look OUT.
I started following 3 business religiously, because 1) I loved their styles 2) I loved who they were as people and 3) they shared much of their lives and business on their blogs, and I couldn’t learn enough from them. All my time was spent learning about these 3 photographers who were in a much higher market than me, and I began to grow. I would browse their blogs before engagement sessions and wedding days so that I could be inspired by them. I perused their Instagram (and still do!) to find similar inspiration.
And when I began to do this, my work flourished. It stood out from the others in my city of Las Cruces, because I wasn’t trying to be like them. And in turn, I became confident in myself. I didn’t feel bogged down by the own jealousy and judgment I was inflicting upon myself. It was a different challenge.
So knowing this in NM, I carried it with me to Dallas. While I do know and swoon over many of the talented photographers in Dallas, I immediately stop browsing their website, blog or Instagram if it brings up feelings of insecurity in me. That’s on me. Not them. I’m the only one who can stop those feelings by changing my actions and what I’m feeding my creativity.
So with this being said, a huge encouragement from me is to: look up and out. Find your 2-3 photographers that you just love everything about. Follow them. Be inspired by them. Learn from them. And essentially put up your blinders to those around you who may (or may not) make you feel inadequate or insecure. You may just find yourself and style in the process.
And I’m wishing all the confidence in the world for you!