I’ve had (emotionally) a rough past few weeks, I hate to admit. I’ve doubted myself more than I should and I let my emotions impair my judgement professionally. And I’ve done this on more than one occasion, but I have yet to meet a photographer who hasn’t made some kind of mistake like this.
We’ve all heard of “faux-togs”, right? People who go out and start photography “businesses” after just buying or receiving a BRAND-SPANKIN’-NEW-RIGHT-OUT-OF-THE-BOX DSLR and have no intentions on improving their skills or any desire for a real passion in photography. Lately, I’ve been seeing more and more of these people…everywhere. You’ll hear most photographers talk about these types of people at weddings as “Uncle Bob” or “Aunt Sally”, who are pretty much photo bombers for the hired professional. I mean, the list goes on and on.
BUT! As you get better and better (as long as you try to improve), you’ll see all of these mistakes that you made back when you first started, and you work hard to make sure that those things never happen again. But there are SOME people who don’t even try. No real passion for the art and only see it as some extra cash in their pocket.
This is where I made the mistake.
The mistake where I let jealousy and my true love for photography get the best of me without even thinking. I sounded off about how these photographers were taking away business from “real” professionals by only charging a very small amount ($25-50) per session. I also went about saying how much I had worked hard in the past three and a half years and how I improved my skills, but these people where getting all of the business. It’s not fair. Why would these people who are charging such cheap prices and low quality get all of the praise & business that I wanted/needed? But then I remembered (a little too late, might I add)…….I USE TO BE ONE OF THEM.
This was my FIRST wedding. I think I charged them $50 for the whole wedding. I swear to God, this is all true.
I done this……..yes. I did.
Oh yeah, and I done this too. Not sure what’s so awesome about that strand of grass and their blurry selves, but mind you…I has just started. And that angle? MY GOD MAN! WHAT WAS THINKING?!
Now that I go back and look at my “work” back in 2010-11, I realized that there were probably people who were saying the SAME EXACT thing as I have said about those other people. And if I would have known back then what was being said about my work, I’d feel like a pile of poo and just quit. And that’s when I realized that I was being a big, fat jerk and a bully.
Now, I’m not sure if you know how I feel about bullying, but I DESPISE it. I’ve had a sibling who has been a victim of bullying so there’s no way in the world that I’d ever condone it. And at the moment when it clicked that I was doing something so hurtful to people, without even speaking directly to them, I hated myself. I immediately pulled down everything and started working this blog post in my mind because I know I’ve had past clients who saw what was posted and even if you didn’t see it, you deserve to know how I felt anyway. And then, I got a message on Facebook from someone that I unintentionally hurt. I felt like a sack of garbage, like someone should’ve just thrown me in the bin, because I. felt. awful.
To all of you who are just starting with photography, whether or not you are doing for extra money or because your truly love it; I was once in your shoes. But, it gets better, it really does. If you work on improving your skills, making sure that you have the best equipment that you can possibly have and LEARN how to use it, you will be SO much better, in time.
I told this to the person who messaged me yesterday and I wanted to say it here, that I was truly jealous. I was so angry with these people who were getting SO much business and praise for doing so very little. That’s what I wanted (still want, to be truthful! lol) and I couldn’t handle it anymore. My mind just threw out all professionalism and went crazy. I have a great friend, whom I once felt intimidated by. She had started taking pictures and I thought of her as one of “THOSE” people at first, because I really felt like she would take away my potential business. Living in such a small town, yeah…..it was possible. So I was kind of snobbish towards her at first…whether or not she realized it. Why would I give her all of my advice and knowledge? Why would I just throw everything I knew away to someone who could potentially put me out of business? Not too long after that I watched something from Jasmine Star (or someone else I truly admire, I can’t remember for certain) that told me (something along the lines of) that no matter how much you help someone or what advice you give them, it’s not gonna make a huge difference if they don’t know what to do with it.
And again…I felt like a huge jerk. So, I started helping her out as much as I could and if she didn’t fully understand something, I’d explain it to the best of my abilities with examples of what I do in that certain situation. And now? I love her to death and I can truly call her a great friend. Also, she started upgrading her equipment and LEARNED how to use it and she is getting so much better every single day. I couldn’t be any more proud of her than I am right now. By the way, she knows that I’m talking about her, lol.
I guess you need these moments in your life and career to push you forward and to be the best professional that you can be. Dwelling on others’ mistakes can get you nowhere, and getting angry because of their small success doesn’t make you a better photographer/person either. If someone is having trouble with anything, help them and push them in the right direction to be better photographers (as long as they want it). I mean, the only way that you’re gonna see yourself getting better is by trial and error and trying new things. And how are gonna be able to do that if you don’t know that what you’re doing is wrong? I had the pleasure of having some friends who were gracious enough to help me when I asked questions about settings, equipment, etc. I can’t imagine where I’d be without that kind of help back then. Shewt, I still need help NOW with certain things. No, I’m not the perfect photographer….buddy, I’m far from it! lol But I can at least help others with what I DO know.
Have a great week,