In the very early days of our business, we happened to win tickets to WPPI. As aspiring photographers, new in the business, we thought that if we attended, we would learn everything we needed to know to have a super successful business. It was a whirlwind, but we managed to pack three notebooks full of “all of the things we ABSOLUTELY MUST DO if we ever want to succeed, and if we don’t we will fail miserably and everyone will laugh at us.” Afterwards, stuffed to the brim with knowledge and enthusiasm, we went home and started implementing all of the advice immediately.
If the rock star teachers at WPPI told us to do it, we did it. We rebranded with a frilly new logo, and started printing on fancy paper. We joined all the Facebook groups and started taking everyone’s advice about everything. We should have been skyrocketing to success and stoked about it, right?
Wrong. Fast forward a year, and we’re freaking miserable. We actually hate fancy paper. Turns out, listening to everyone else’s opinions totally sucks. We did everything we were “supposed to do” and it was awful, so we stopped. We stopped doing things the way people expected us to, or suggested we do, and we're so much happier for doing so.
Every day in this industry, someone is ranting and raving about something new. Everyone has an opinion about presets, or workshops, or Iceland, or bucket lists. And, here’s the deal: opinions are okay, but if we listen to all the noise, we would never get anything done. For us, realizing this was an absolute game changer.
“But how do you get away from all the opinions? They’re everywhere!”
We hear you. Our advice for overcoming all the noise is to put on your horse blinders. Seriously, stop looking! If you find yourself getting caught up making decisions you don’t like in an attempt to please the masses, go offline. Try muting or removing yourself from Facebook groups, don’t read the rants, and ignore the comments as much as you can. Opinions are just opinions and you can’t please everyone, so don’t stress about it and waste your time trying.
If you are willing to try a new trend or buy into the latest fad, make sure it is something you’re truly passionate about. Make sure it’s something that’s true to you. Never forget that your business is your business, and the only rule is that there are no rules. Stay focused on the things you like and the things you are super passionate about. Who cares what anyone thinks!
Grace & Jaden are a husband and wife wedding + travel photography team based in Portland, OR. We are professional pizza eaters, and full-time adventure seekers! You can check us out on Instagram, Facebook, and on our site.
Dear Ashley and Graham circa 2008,
Your business will not live and die by social media. You're going to be tempted to put more time into Facebook and Instagram than you do into in-person relationships because it will feel like that's what everyone else is doing; it will feel like the only way to keep up. Resist that temptation. Resist the urge to jump on the ever changing hamster wheel of social media. When you get on that hamster wheel it will feel like you're running as fast as you can and getting nowhere. And that's exactly where sinking unscheduled, unintentional time into social media will get you: nowhere.
Next to framed art, albums are a favorite, no-brainer product you should be offering every client. Albums are the one product that truly stands the test of time and will be treasured for generations to come. Not long ago, album design went a bit “photographers-gone-wild” with acrylic, metal, and even fur covers. Remember that panoramic ultra-wide album fad?
Luckily the tide has turned back to favoring a classic, luxury presentation.