Is it time to quit?
Let me share this with you.
The reason that I quit shooting weddings.
I’ve kind of shared this before, and there is more than ONE reason I quit shooting weddings, and in fact, I might still go on and shoot more, because there is a huge part of me that misses them but, since last year I made the decision to quit-
You might want to know this.
Especially if you’re struggling right now. And not just as a wedding photographer, but within any niche.
The real reason I quit wedding photography?
I got bored of shooting stuff that didn’t really matter.
I got bored of obsessing about details.
Of shooting to get featured.
Of creating a ‘bloggable wedding’.
I even got to that point in my head where I was looking out for beautiful detail over shooting actual PEOPLE which err- hello? Is slightly disturbing.
I love pretty don’t get me wrong.
But pretty for the sake of being ‘bloggable’?
Creating an empty styled shoot around a ‘theme’ without even some sense of bloody STORY or PERSONALITY behind it, just driven by what we think is PRETTY???
Isn’t there more to us than THAT!?
Than creating styled shoots with no bloody sense of MEANING behind them? Like some narcissus or Dorian Gray where we become completely CONSUMED by nothing greater than our own vain reflection????
Please, someone tell me.
What is the point.
Please don’t tell me it’s art.
Or perhaps it is beauty in the eye of the beholder but seriously if you’re expecting THAT vain shallow CRAP to sell your business? To grow it to its full maximum potential?!?!
Let me tell you what happens.
People get disappointed. ‘my wedding doesn’t look like the ones on your website’… that’s because you didn’t hire a stylist, a planner, and an entire A list team, you’re not models, and even if you did have all of those things and you were models, your wedding isn’t theirs
You hit a glass ceiling in terms of how much you can grow.
You’re hitting a very narrow target base
You’re setting yourself up for a fall for when the trends change
The artist in you begins to wither
Ok so this is my shoot for Mag Rouge. You’ve all seen it, might have even read about it – inspired by the tangled emotions a bride goes through on her wedding morning.
Yes. That was MY concept. Not the stylists, florists, caterers, venues or any other of the incredibly talented industry professionals I worked with to make it happen. I am friends with the stylist, and we had talked about doing a shoot, and we started pinning a few odd images. And I remember saying – I don’t want this. I want soul. Kinfolk. Connection.
I wanted MORE than just SURFACE GLOSS.
And do you know what it was triggered by?
How I felt on my wedding morning. Where just for those few, hidden, stolen moments, I felt a sense of loss
Of sadness, even.
This isn’t about how much I love my husband, or whether or not I doubted whether he was my one. He always has and always will be my One.
You know what’s real?
Human bloody EMOTION. Moments, memories, an ever changing dance between the light and the darkness.
And that was what happened on my wedding morning. And more still what happened in my daydreams, and then again still now, sometimes-
Just faint traces of fear and wonder slinking through the windowsills along with the sunlight. Playing along through my mind in faint whispers.
(Nothing more, or less, than perfect love).
So please. Spare me the bloody candlesticks. The peonies. Those THINGS that exist in abstract isolation without meaning or point.
Is this truly what you LOVE??? What you are driven by??? Please tell me what’s the bloody POINT???
And then I realised. Or perhaps I’d realised all along.
That was my story as a wedding photographer.
It was always about the story.
Not their story.
For me, the uncertainty and fairytale at once gothic and romance and love- dusted, of the heroine alone with thoughts and then, love.
It was there throughout every single shot that I took.
Wedding or not.
It was never meaningless.
It never should be.
And that was why I quit weddings. It’s not the only reason.
But it was a big part of it. Because I couldn’t bear to frame myself in a world without meaning or reference and just sheer, utter, pointlessness.
Couldn’t I just change who I was? Couldn’t I just shoot as I was and shoot for those target clients who love the vision I had and shared it? Work with the beautiful gifts of those that I collaborated with on Undone? Couldn’t I just carry on and not think about it, and ignore the narcissistic artists streak that I myself clearly had?
Because my heart tells me.
It’s time to work with photographers who are bold. Unafraid. Confident. Who have found their purpose and their truths are shooting everything they love and creating their own magic and meaning which very definitely is purposeful and heart led and passion filled. Or who want to.
And those who want to know what the hell to do with that to truly THRIVE in business AND as an artist.
And this is it. This is what you do.
Keep shooting. Every bloody day shoot something and publish it. EVERY DAMN DAY!
Write and if you can’t write then speak.
What matters is that every day, in some way small or some way big, you share what is on your heart and mind and soul.
Whether that’s your poetic visions or your downright awkward opinions or simply your beliefs and views on WHATEVER that is about Photography related or not (because everything is One)
Just share it. Every single day.
Don’t wait for the perfect moment or the perfect truth.
There is a reason we fish for raw pearls
Beauty is natural, organic.
The good news about the industry overcrowding is
Someone has to stand out. Some photographers will rise above.
And it’s not about just talent anymore (we are all talented) and it’s not about the passion (we are all passionate)
The seas will part for those willing to stand in their truth.
The question is – are you?
Are you willing and able to share what’s on your heart and mind and what you see every single day? To know that a social media update is NEVER enough?
To open heart and mind wide enough to understand that businesses and industries themselves are transforming literally in front of our very eyes and it’s not what we do now that is enough
It’s who we are
And it’s how we communicate who we are
And all that we stand for or believe
That gets us an insiders pass
To hearts and minds of our clients.
And then and only then
Will you quit
And it won’t be the business
It won’t be photography
It will be quitting fear
Quitting traditional business thinking
Quitting the crowds
The mass thought processes
So can you do it???
Can you NOT quit but instead – step out and follow a different path- one filled with meaning?
Along with meaning comes truth and then comes hope.
And that’s why it’s not your time to quit.
Or walk away.
But perhaps instead of clinging on
It’s time to let go
Of to do lists
Instead become open
To embrace new ways of thinking,
A new way of being in business as a photographer
Which isn’t about seeing the light.
But being it.
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