There are so many lies happening in the photography industry, and I am here to set the record straight.
Starting any kind of business can be scary! Especially when it feels like you are entering into an industry that is already super saturated. It can feel really tempting to keep up with what everyone else is doing and enter into this wild rat race of competition.
When I began my photography business several years ago, I did just this. I tried to become like everyone else, and thought that in order to achieve success I needed to have certain equipment, or work with a specific kind of client.
My heart never really felt fulfilled until I took a step back and decided to run my business to fit my life. Not make my life fit into my business. Talk about a game changer. And it showed. Big time.
If you are a photographer, and you are struggling to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Or if you find yourself believe some of these lies yourself, then please keep reading. I am here to tell you that you gear, the number of clients you have, etc. does not determine your worth.
01. If I was not traveling the world, I was not successful
The whole destination elopement thing was just starting to get big when I started photography and I thought that I had to do that in order to be a big shot. I did everything the other photographers were doing, and guess what? I even traveled a little here and there. And wanna know something? It WAS NOT my cup of tea. I learned quickly that 2-3 trips a year was plenty for me..if that.
You do not need to be booking destination weddings to “make it”. And maybe you aren’t like me and it’s something you really want to do but haven’t had the chance to yet… that’s ok! I promise you will get there, but these things take time and hard work.
One of the biggest issues I see with people who want to travel for photography, is they are not already traveling.
If you expect clients to pay you to travel, you better already to traveling in your own time and sharing it with the world. They need to see that you are capable and trustworthy to hop on a plane and venture out to wherever they are.
02. Top of the line gear will not make you a better photographer
Is having quality gear helpful? Sure! But you do not need to invest in the most expensive camera on the market in order to have amazing work. Especially in the beginning! Take it from Susan down the street who bought the $5k camera and still has blurry images and charges $50 per shoot.
Maybe that sounds harsh, but I am so sick of hearing that you can only be a top name photographer if you have top of the line gear. There are exceptions to everything however, and this is not to say that you should be shooting photos on an iPhone and calling yourself a professional. Okay? Okay.
But I do know a lot of pros that have been using the same camera bodies for years because they understand them, they work well with them and they still produce amazing work!
03. The more expensive the wedding, the better it will be
BIG FAT LIE OMG. So i’ve been on both sides of this… I have been to some boujee weddings that were the most stressful situations ever. I felt overwhelmed, and pressured, whereas some of the simple backyard weddings I have done that have minimal details are some of my favorite weddings I have ever shot.
It really comes down to finding your people. I will prioritize a fun easy going couple over fancy details any day. This job isn’t about me. It’s about making sure your wedding day is capturing beautifully not matter what the circumstances are!
We can get it in our heads that the clients who want every tiny detail perfected is our dream client because it will make the pictures better. But guess what? A horrible experience with a boujee client will make you never want to share a single photo from that day because the experience was just so awful.
Some of my dear clients turned friends, are the ones who kept the wedding details simple and to a minimum. They focused on having fun and and enjoying the moments with each other.
This could be different for everyone, but if your personality is anything like mine, focus on the people, not the details. Book the clients that make you want to hangout with them on a Saturday afternoon. Not the ones who only have you excited about what color napkins they are going to have.
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**This post is not sponsored, some links may be affiliate links, all opinions are my own!
I'm Sarah Elrod
I'm a Cowgirl turned serial entrepreneur.
I'm a horse trainer, western wedding photographer, business coach and ranch wife.
I help women in the western industry grow thriving businesses from rural America.
When I am not strategizing new marketing tactics, you will find me riding my horses, cuddling my cattle dog, or kissing my hot husband.
There is also a good chance I am buying way too many outfits from western boutiques.
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