/ˈin(t)əməsē/ noun close familiarity or friendship; closeness.
How do you pose couples? What do you need to do to capture more natural images? Why am I not able to cultivate raw true emotion with my couples on a shoot? These questions are asked every day throughout our industry yet the answer is right in front of every one of us. Intimacy is both physical and emotional. It’s friendship, platonic love, romance, and sex but also empathy, understanding, intention, and support. Intimacy takes on different meanings for every couple who asks you to photograph them but their willingness to open up and share their truest selves with a stranger (you) is determined by the connection and depth you build in your relationship with them prior to pulling out your camera.
We desire to capture natural images that tell tales of love and romance, be it in an emotional sexy way or in a light, fun and energetic way yet we often fall short of achieving these results if we haven’t put in the work to cultivate this connection beforehand. Are you willing to do the real work it takes to be the photographer you want to be? If you want to excel as a photographer, you must excel with people. Open yourself up to others, hear what they have to say, be genuinely interested in them and above everything, be yourself.
I had the privilege of sharing some thoughts on how I cultivate intimacy and connection with couples last week on the Photography Together Podcast. Click play above to listen to my 30-minute conversation with Kyle Yates and as always, if additional questions arise, don’t hesitate to shoot me a note on Instagram. If you are looking for more depth on this topic, I’d encourage you to grab a free copy of my book, POSER where I share some business philosophy for photographers as well as break down the entire directing process I take with every couple I work with. Download a copy of Poser now by clicking here. I hope my conversation with Kyle encourages you as you head into the weekend and I hope it motivates you to shoot a little more for yourself and your brand in the days ahead.
Building a business is easy. There are formulas, strategies, and techniques to follow. Anyone can learn and execute a strategy. Building a brand is far more complex and requires a different mindset to achieve successfully. Your business is the support for your brand to exist in the world but what you are really trying to say by offering a product or service is what helps you stand out from the rest. Being true to who you really are and in turn telling the world what you believe is how you will start to be seen and gain the loyalty or attention to fulfill your vision. If you chase business, you will struggle to stand out. If you chase building a brand, you will find your unique voice more and more every single day and others will start to take notice.
Business is a system. Brand is a belief.
Business is a machine. Brand is a personality.
Business is analytical. Brand is emotional.
Business is hard to change. Brand evolves naturally.
Business is driven by profits. Brand is driven by people.
Business is black and white. Brand is color.
Business is product. Brand is experience.
Business makes money. Brand makes impact.
Business fills your pockets. Brand fills your soul.
Business communicates what. Brand communicates why.
Business can be replicated. Brand always stands out.
Which are you building?
If you feel lost in your business or if you are currently struggling with building a brand, I’d love to help you start to realize the potential you hold. Click here to check out some of the education opportunities I provide for wedding creatives or if you are looking for some more content, grab a free copy of my recently released book, POSER by clicking here.
Value used to be measured by adding more and charging less. This traditional way of thinking has lead us as creatives to believe that including more in what we offer while dictating price by comparison of the competition around us is how we will gain the lead in our market. Unfortunately, that has never been more of a lie than it is today and that belief has left wedding photographers across the world struggling to gain traction and momentum in what is so easily discounted as an “over-saturated industry”.
Today, clients want an experience over a product and when we believe that our images are the product we sell, we limit the value we can truly create for the couples who hire us. By believing this, we unconsciously place our businesses in a world of endless struggle and emulation masked as inspiration that doesn’t promote encouragement or individuality. This leaves us with only one choice. If we desire to have a business that not only brings in the profits we want or need but also provides the fulfillment that we are so wildly chasing, we must do something different. We must stand out.
But how do you really stand out? That question can very easily build a wave of anxiety because when you believe that your images are the primary way you stand out in an industry that is focused around photographs, you may forever be lost searching for the answer. 40 million images a day are uploaded to Instagram and in turn, we are slapped in the face 24/7 with the best of the best. An industry is only ever “saturated” when everyone is doing the same thing and the wedding industry is filled with photographers doing the exact same thing as one another yet trying to get different results. This won’t work. Additionally, we only see the highlights of our peers and very rarely, if ever, hear about the flaws. We all know the failures are there, no matter how many followers someone has, but in never seeing these, we trick ourselves into believing that we aren’t good enough or don’t have what it takes to be good enough.
You are good enough. You have what it takes. Every week, we as photographers are venturing out to beautiful places all over the world yet we still know how to make a couple draw your eyes away from the unbelievable 100-ft waterfall cascading down behind them. You are standing amidst an industry of incredibly talented people but you still have the chance and the choice to be seen. I believe in creatives and in everything I do, I want to see them succeed. I strive every single day to elevate and empower creatives I come in contact with because I’ve seen what life is like when you do reach that point that you dreamed of reaching. It’s intoxicating and there is nothing better than feeling completely in the zone. I want nothing more than to help you get to that point if that is what you desire. Below are a few things that I would encourage you to consider if you feel lost in this industry or if you just feel like you are tired of hustling.
1. Get Into Your Community
I’m not saying go to some meet up just to check a box, I mean seek out other photographers in your area that you connect with and that relate with you. Ask someone out to coffee or grab a beer somewhere. Go on a hike. Start building a relationship with someone who understands where you are and in that share the truth about what you are going through with one another. Talk about your struggles but don’t let your conversation sway towards trashing other people. You have enough problems personally to talk about so there is no point in talking about others. Dream with your friends, share ideas, talk about the struggles and be honest. Support will never come until you are honest about the support you need. For those of you who travel often and aren’t in one specific place enough to get into your own community, fuel yourself by jumping into other communities. Host meetups if you have to. You’ll be amazed at how many amazing people are in this industry doing incredible things.
2. Invest In Your Education.
It feels as if our industry has lost a great deal of trust towards educators and that saddens me deeply. As I’ve watched workshops and boutique conferences explode in recent years, I’ve also watched them fail often, never get off the ground, and in attending them, I’ve personally not walked away with actionable’s that I could apply to my own business to further or grow it. Inspiration is pointless if there is no action around it. This lead me to start a workshop that isn’t focused towards me and what I’ve done or accomplished but instead, the sole intention is to provide you with the tools you need to actually make more in your business and to feel more fulfilled immediately. I’m not going to simply say, you be you, I’m going to share the steps to take to feel the confidence you need to truly be you. It’s an incredibly encouraging and empowering day and if you have any desires to make a massive change in how you go about your business, I’d love for you to join me for one of them. Working Less and Making More is a choice you get to make. It’s not something that comes with time, it starts with a shift of your thoughts and mindset today. My next workshop is coming up in Miami, FL on February 27th and you can click below if you are interested in joining!
. 3. Ask (and Answer) The Tough Questions
What do you believe? Really. What do you think about the world and everything that is going on in it? What opinions do you have about it? Believing in something and standing up for it is difficult, no doubt, but it is everything that makes us who we are. When we fumble through life just existing and being ok with attaching ourselves to what everyone around us believes, we never find who we really are. In sharing these beliefs, we must have discernment. Some people aren’t ready to hear the things you may have to say because we are all at different points on a path and if we force people to understand our view of life on our timeline, we end up missing out on really making change in their lives or allowing them to have an impact of making change in our own.
4. Seek Understanding
Every single person on the planet, no matter who it is, has something to teach you. Do you approach people believing this or are you so wrapped up in thinking you have it all figured out that you can’t hear what the person in front of you is saying? Slow down and listen. Stop talking. Stop thinking as someone else is talking. Learn empathy. Your world will change when you truly seek to understand the things people are trying to communicate because when you learn more about others, you learn more about your self. This can be a catalyst to standing out. No one is sharing feelings obliviously, they are experiencing something and they are processing life. They may even be fumbling with the confidence to say something bigger than what’s coming out and if you never provide the space for them to break through that, you may in turn just be another reason as to why they haven’t been able to express or process something that could help them and possibly even you. Create space for others to grow and others will create space for you grow.
I want you to get to the point in your business that you thrive. I want to assist you in getting to the point that you are unstoppable in what you do. The momentum starts with a choice. This is my mission. This is my purpose. If questions arise, I’m always an open book, ready to answer. Don’t hesitate to shoot me questions in an Instagram message! Feel encouraged today because no one can be you, and that’s a beautiful thing.
I exist to elevate and empower creatives; to realize the potential they individually hold to craft sustainable businesses that provide a purposeful life and profitable living. It’s been an incredibly special week having the opportunity to share for a full day in a very intimate setting with a group of creatives from around the Northwest at my first public workshop.
After years of teaching exclusively in a private year long Mentorship setting, I finally chose to make the jump into the workshop world with the intention of shifting the perspective of wedding creatives. I find the starving artist mentality is a lie that too many have bought into and I hope these gatherings continue to inspire and influence people to shift their businesses to becoming something different across the globe.
I cannot say thank you enough to Larch Provisions for crafting a memorable food experience and here’s a glimpse of the day captured by the incredible, Maccoy Dean. For everyone who attended the Work Less Make More Portland workshop, thank you for sharing the space with me. It was a day I won’t forget.
“My mind was blown last night at Robert J Hill’s workshop. I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited to be 1000% myself, nor have I felt this much sense of deep purpose/appreciation in what I do. Robert, thank you for making me feel so whole before booking season!”
“I loved it! Great day, super fun group, I learned a TON and the atmosphere was really friendly, relaxed and open which I sincerely appreciated. Even though I’ve been in business for 8 years I came away with a ton of new knowledge and ideas for my business!”
“It was worth it. You dedicated an entire day to elevating and empowering us. The experience was well orchestrated from the venue to the food and everything in between. I love being a part of a creative community. Pricing blew me away the most and it’s something that I need to get better at.”