Starting a photography business can be a lonely and scary endeavor. You have found something you really enjoy and you think you have what it takes to really take it to the next level. You likely follow a lot of other photographers and have been reading a lot online (hopefully.) You see some of the battles in facebook forums about how "newbies" are destroying the photography industry. You may even personally know some professional photographers and are nervous that starting your business might "step on toes" or cause people to roll their eyes. You may worry that other photographers in your area will say, "Another one? Greeaaaaat. Just someone else with a camera trying to take business away from me."
I experienced all of this and more. My personal strategy to combat this downward spiral of negative thinking, competition and ugliness was to dive in and learn and practice as much as I possibly could as well as to consistently encourage others. I've said it before and I will say it again, there is room in the market for everyone who wants to join, YOUR success depends on YOUR drive, motivation and desire to get where you want to go. No amount of "newbies" can destroy that.
I was blessed to find a community of photographers who feel the same. Their passion is for encouragement, teaching and sharing information to lift the industry up instead of trying to tear each other down. While a lot of these amazing PEOPLE who also happen to be photographers have shared how they do this in a variety of ways, Natalie Franke wrote a post a while back and incorporated a hashtag which I totally love.
That really what it is all about. Sharing and learning together, enjoying each others success and lifting each other up when struggles come (and they always will) is just so much of who I am as a person that knowing there are SO MANY other photographers and successful business owners who feel this way is empowering.
Recently I have been blessed with a little in-person community as opposed to the online community I consider myself a part of. I met Ashley in the craziest way online about six months ago and we have been chatting ever since. She saw me post a photo in a FB group and she knew the couple IN the photo and mentioned it in the comments. Then we figured out that we only live about an hour and a half away from each other. We have been chatting all things photography since then and have gotten together a couple of times.
A while back we planned a little shoot together so we could learn from each other and just do what we love!! My stepson and his girlfriend were willing models and Paul came along to assist. We had SO MUCH FUN hanging out and trying different things in different locations. She watched me work and I watched her work and we just had a blast.
I took some behind the scenes shots (I just love BTS shots, they are some of my favorites!) and then also some headshots of the gorgeous miss Ashely. Isn't she beautiful?!
I don't know about you but I would much rather be in community than competition with someone. If you are feeling discouraged or alone in this industry, my best advice is to BE an encourager. Build others up. Help if you get questions. If you don't find a community, sometimes you have to build your own. I promise you will be blessed!
Some other amazing posts on community, competition and encouraging others: