Today I got a phone call from a senior client's mom. She was ecstatic about how wonderful her daughter's senior portraits turned out. She went into detail and it was obvious, she was REALLY moved by my work.
This is a post for all of my fellow photographers, especially the new ones (which I still totally consider myself). Sometimes when you finally take the leap and start meeting other photographers and getting involved in the community, as invigorating as it can be at first, it can also become OVERWHELMING. Photography starts out for most of us as a love of capturing the moment, and your friends and family say your good, and it's full of warm fuzzies. But you have questions. You want to get better. Then, when you get brave and go out into "the world" of photography, it feels like your back down at the bottom again, feeling like you have so much to learn and you'll never know enough. For me, it's workflow, Lightroom, CS3, pocketwizards, ExpoDiscs, softboxes, Raw vs. Jpeg, Canon, Nikon, should I get the 85mm 1.8 or the 70-200 2.8? Presets, Actions, Vibration Reduction ahhhh!!!
And the more you look, the more you find work from other photographers that takes...your...breath.............Away.
At a David Jay workshop I went to in 2007, he said "What impresses clients is totally different than what impresses other photographers."
Think about that for a minute. Think about what your clients (even if for now, it's your friends, your family, your baby, and your cat) say to you, or say about you. Pay attention to it! It is the root, the core of your business potential. No matter what, if they are happy, consider that a SUCCESS. Whether things went exactly 'right' or not is irrelevant. Focus on the feedback. Give yourself permission to revel in it, if it's good, and if there's a little hint of something that needs improvement, focus THERE first. Take your learning one step at a time. Professional equipment is great; it does help, but strive to take the BEST shots you can with WHAT you've GOT! So many of your clients just want a BEAUTIFUL shot. Now, there is a wide range of "beautiful" shots to create! You might be disappointed because it's not at the top of the range as YOU see it, but that doesn't make it ANY LESS of a treasure for your happy client. Consider this, if you are constantly looking back at pictures you took six months or a year ago and think they aren't as good as what you are shooting now, that's GREAT! That means you're improving at a fast pace! But those images are no less valued to your clients. If they love them, you've changed someone's life in a small way, and that is something to feel AWESOME about.
My wedding season officially begins in two weeks, and I have the highest expectations of myself that I've ever had going into a wedding season. It's a little nerve wracking! I can't wait to get back into the rhythm of wedding shooting, I can't wait to see what I'm going to capture for people, and I hope I capture it even better than last year. But this phone call I got this afternoon helped me remember that what is most important is that we stop to enjoy how far we've come, how many people we've touched, and have gratitude for where we are RIGHT NOW in our journey. . . .