Many of you know I’ve been out of town the past week attending the world’s largest photographers convention in Vegas. Can you imagine having 15,000 photographers in one place??? The information, the networking, the laughing….. everything is busy and crazy!!! There’s tons of commotion, tons of parties, and far as the eye can see tons of gambling. But even through the craziness, I had time to think and reflect on where I am and where I want to be.
As a photographer you’re ultimate job is to serve your client. But in the crazy world of photographers sometimes that can get lost. You can fast get sucked in to the “stardom” of what and who you could be. There’s always the next great camera with the fastest lens or the “star” of the industry that stops your heart and makes you dream of becoming the next big name. But over the past couple of years I’ve often wondered, what does all of that really mean? I’ve been so so very fortunate to meet some of those big names at different events, I’ve shared conversations with them. And if you asked me about the level of my gear, I would say it’s pretty decent. But in an industry that says be bigger, grow faster, I say no. I say figure out for yourself what you want your business to be first. If you want to grow, if you want to be big, then do it!! Chase your dreams…make it happen!! But if you want to shoot one wedding every few months and your dream is to do this on a super small scale, then do that!!
Deciding for yourself where you want your photography to take you is a personal decision. If you don’t have a full frame camera or a L series lens, if you don’t do photography full time, if you don’t have bookings on a regular basis….. it’s ok!! If you dream of being a big name and rising to the top of the industry that’s okay too! The hardest part, in my opinion, is figuring out where you want to go. And here’s my analogy to prove it. If you want to go on vacation but you haven’t picked your destination then there is no way you know how long it takes to get there. You don’t know the best route, or even your best means of travel. You have to first know where you are going before the route can be laid. It’s the same with photography!! If you want to be the big name, you have to lay out your steps… make the connections, nail your marketing, and attract the right clients! If you want to be small, set your boundaries and decide exactly how much is too little or too much. But whether you want to be big or small or somewhere in between, make your decision, lay your route, and execute your plan with integrity and professionalism.
For me, this convention assured me I was on the right path. I don’t want to be the big name. I don’t want to travel all the time. A few times a year, here or there, traveling to a workshop or convention to work on a certain skill suits me fine. I want to continue to give to my clients the best I possibly I can, the best experience and the best product. I want to continue to use my photography to make a difference, to give back. For me there’s no greater reward than giving, it’s part of who I am. So for me I’ve chosen my destination and I’m planning my route. More details about that route will be shared in the near future but I’m hoping more than anything this post encourages you. If you haven’t already, find your destination first. Without your destination in place you may easily be running in circles.
The image I’m posting below was a few hours before I left. I’ve never been to Vegas and I’ve never gambled so I figured I would try my hand at luck. I inserted my dollar and pushed the button. As you can see I didn’t win! But there is no room for luck in my business. For it to be what I want it to be, I have to make it happen!!