Value used to be measured by adding more and charging less. This traditional way of thinking has lead us to believe that adding more “stuff” to our offerings 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 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 chasing, we must do something different. We must become more aware of the fact that we each are the true value behind what we do. When we understand this, we see how we stand out.
The idea of standing out can very easily create a wave of anxiety inside us because most people believe what they do matters more than who they are. When we believe that our images, designs, logos, etc. are the primary way we stand out in an industry that is focused around visual elements, we get lost in a sea of thousands of others doing the same thing we are trying to do. Roughly 100 million images are uploaded to Instagram everyday and in turn, we are slapped in the face 24/7 with the best of the best. We are bombarded with everyones highlights and very rarely, if ever, experience their flaws. We all know the failures are there, no matter how many followers someone has, but in never seeing these, we tell ourselves lies that lead to us believing that we aren’t good enough or don’t have what it takes to be good enough. We fall back on the excuse that our industry is over saturated because that allows us to not have to dig deeper or comfort the uncomfortable side of ourselves. An industry is only ever “saturated” when everyone is doing and saying the same thing and the photography industry is filled with individuals doing and saying the exact same thing as one another yet trying to get different results.
You are good enough. You have what it takes. You are standing amidst an industry of incredibly talented humans but you still have the chance and the choice to be seen. Standing out requires being a leader and leadership requires you to dig deeper into yourself and explore the areas of life that most aren’t willing to explore. If you feel lost, don’t know who you are or are just tired of the hustle life that constantly leads you to being overworked, underpaid and above all under valued, then below you’ll find four ways to grow into a greater version of your self.
1. Build 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 or online that you connect with and that relate with you. Gather around others who believe what you believe but are willing to push each other to be better. Ask someone out to coffee or grab a beer somewhere. Go on a hike together. 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 talking about other people. You have enough personal problems to talk about so there is no point wasting your time 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. I had to learn this the hard way once I was at rock bottom fighting to stay alive in a season of overwhelming depression. 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. Step out of your comfort zone and host meetups. Be diligent in encouraging people to come and they will. Now you have a space to start cultivating relationships. If you are looking for a community to grow in, grab a free 30 minute session with me here, come be a part of my free community on Facebook! It’s filled with a ton of great people focused on doing what they love while living a life a a balance.
2. Invest In Your Education.
It feels as if our industry has lost a great deal of trust towards education. 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. Above all, how are you educating your self? If this is not a daily thing for you, pick up a book. Whoever reads the most books wins, period. I believe the next best thing to self education, is deep personalized education with a mentor and business coach. I’ve worked with hundreds of photographers throughout my career to help them discover a greater self confidence in who they are so they can build a business that stands out. When you can truly be authentic and do what you are deeply passionate about everyday, you have the power to work less and make more. The starving artist mentality is a lie and I will help you turn your fear and worry towards business and money around to becoming a brand of abundance. If you want to know more, simply grab a free 30 minute session with me here.
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’m here to help you eradicate the scarcity mentality that fills you with fear and worry and transform that into a life of abundance. What would your life be like if you had an exponential growth in your confidence? To make this shift it requires you to change who you are and becoming a better version of yourself. I’m here to help you accomplish that and find the success you want for your life. If you’d like to learn more, grab a free 30 minute session with me here, download my book for free to learn some deeper philosophies around business and how to pose couples or shoot me a message on Instagram! I’m an open book and would love to meet you. Feel encouraged today because no one can be you, and that’s a beautiful thing.