Sometimes the wedding photography industry feels like the best thing in the world to be a part of, but other times… not so much. (Let me be clear that I’m not talking about wedding photography here… I’m talking about the INDUSTRY that is wedding photography.) It’s really an odd thing. When I first started shooting weddings I didn’t even know there was an entire industry out there of other people who did this for a living! Oh that naivety was SO wonderful, and yet – I felt SO alone.
Realizing there were in fact other people who called wedding photography their job was a really eye-opening time for me! There were so many blogs to read! So much to learn from others! People I could connect with and talk business with and feel less alone! Upon having this realization I started to reach out to others, and thankfully I met some truly amazing people not only in Chicago, but across the country who I am blessed to call my friends – that I can go to anytime for advice, or just to vent about the hard stuff.
The double edge of that sword is that because all of our businesses are run online… because our storefronts are our websites… and our stories & successes are shared on our blogs (because, let’s be honest, not many people share the hard times on their blogs… it’s a rare thing around here)… it is so easy to compare yourself CONSTANTLY to what others are doing… to see the best of their best, and set it up next to your mediocre day. To see: How much so & so is charging. Where so & so is shooting. What conference so & so is speaking at this week. Where so & so was featured. Who so & so is hanging out with in all their Instagrams.
Needless to say, it can be really overwhelming.
I don’t know of another industry that has such easy access to see what other people are up to! I mean… teachers don’t know what every other teacher across the country is doing that day… right? They don’t know what others’ classrooms look like, how well their students behaved that day, what kind of grades their kids got on that test. A nurse in Colorado doesn’t see what that pediatric nurse at the hospital in New York is up to… right? They don’t know how much she makes per hour, how many years she has been doing this, or what her breakfast looked like that morning.
It is really an odd thing how much access we have to each other in this industry. And while it can be an amazing thing in terms of growth, learning, and finding “your people” to connect with… It is also really hard to turn down the noise.
I think it is especially difficult this time of year when every single week of this past month has been filled with a photography conference of some sort. So there is an extra dose of who is with who, who is speaking where, and what everybody is up to. And to be honest, I’m
really embarrassed to admit I’ve been letting it all get under my skin. I find part of myself wishing I was at these conferences so I wouldn’t be left out, when in reality I know I didn’t really want to go – OR I WOULD HAVE GONE. (But I keep forgetting that, apparently.)
And all of this chatter in my brain keeps bringing me back to the post I wrote on success last spring. I don’t know why sometimes it is harder than other times for me to remember the points I made in that post… (maybe just the time of year; off-season; conferences; and everybody go-go-going).
I’m reminding myself that I didn’t become a wedding photographer for people to see me, hear me, or want to be me (which is what a lot of the industry feels like lately). I do this to document others’ stories for them to remember always. I do this for my clients. I do it to help others see the beauty within them when they see a photo I took of them. I do this to live a life of joy with James by my side.
It is not about QUANTITY of things in my life (blog readers, ‘likes’ on Facebook, people who pretend to be friends, conferences I’m attending, dollars in my bank account, houses & what items decorate my house).
It is about QUALITY of life (how much I love, give, share, laugh, and live a life I’m proud of with people I love by my side).
And so today I’m making a vow to get back on track. I’m not going to let these comparisons derail my productivity or make me feel bad about where I am for one more minute. I’m going to focus inward and stop looking (and comparing) outward.
Here’s to a new day. Are you guys with me?