Magic Monday: Be a Happy Photographer

Some great experiences this past week reminded me of this post I wrote last year.  I think its worth a re-post at least once a year :)

Originally posted March, 2009

In response to a recent conversation I had, I’ve re-discovered an old soap box of mine, and have spent some time in my house standing on it and preaching.  Ben is good enough to smile and nod, and even chime in with agreeing comments at all the right places, but I felt strongly enough about this topic that I wanted to expand my audience from my kitchen to the virtual world!

Perhaps you’ve heard a few comments like these (or maybe you’ve even felt them or said them yourself).

“I hate how anyone with a camera calls themselves a photographer!”

“Having a digital SLR doesn’t mean you’re a photographer, but so many people think they are!”

“All these people who get a camera and start a business are stealing all MY business!”

“What makes this person think they can have a business in photography!  They don’t even know what they’re doing and MY images are better!”

“That person copied my ideas!  She stole my location!  She stole my pose!  She stole my blog theme!”

and the most recent one I heard last week,

“I hate all these stay at home mom’s who’s husbands buy them a camera and they suddenly start a business in photography.  They don’t need the money.  I do!  They shouldn’t be shooting!”

Unfortunately, these comments exist.  These comments are said.  Sometimes even to each other, which can be hurtful and biting.  With the advance of digital photography, and the ever increasing affordability of an dSLR, more and more people are entering into the world of photography (business wise as well as not).  With the strikingly fast growing industry, there has arisen what I see as a clear division of two kinds of people.  For the sake of a good classification, I’ve taken one label from Dane Sanders bookFast Track Photographer. We have what Dane calls the “Grumpys”, and what I call the “Happys”.

Dane describes the Grumpy Photographer this way (p. 28):

-self centered

-knows everything, sees themself as an expert

-feels entitled to business

-always asks first, “What’s in it for me?”

-arrogant

I might add:

feels threatened/competitive/and upset by other photographers

Dane describes what I call the “Happy” Photographer, this way (p.28)

-client-centered

-always learning; a perennial “amateur”

-service-minded

-humble, not driven by ego

-personable

-adaptable, willing to change with a changing world

-flexible

-open to new technology

-able to delegate and outsource

I might add:

welcomes the idea of networking and making friends with others in the industry.  Can work together with other photographers, rejoice in their work, and come off inspired to improve themselves.

I like to hope that I fall into the “Happy” photographer category, but would be dishonest to not admit that I have had my moments as a “Grumpy”.  It really is a choice you have to make.   I firmly believe that if we have the “grumpy” attitude, we will find this industry even more increasingly difficult to deal with and to survive in.  We can’t control what others are doing.  We can’t control what consumers want.  We can’t control advances in technology.  We can’t control the economy.  But there are some things that we DO have a choice in.

We Can Choose

We can choose to be open and share what we know (this is a great secret–btw–and you’ll find that building friends in this industry can save your life more than once).  We can choose to be adaptable.  We can choose to help others and be happy and have fun.  Or we can choose to isolate ourselves, find fault in others work, be upset and competitive when we see what others are doing.

The attitude we choose to take–despite one’s consciousness about it–totally spills into our personality and business dealings with our clients and our friends (both attitudes–for good and bad).

How do I feel about all the new-comers to the photography industry?

Fabulous!  (To feel otherwise would be hypocritical!! …I am a new comer myself, and am grateful for the opportunity to learn and progress…) But aside from that, I think its wonderful that so many people are discovering how photography can be a source of joy in their life.

The Effects

I’ve heard countless stories of women who feel they have found themselves through photography, they’ve discovered a hobby they love and enjoy, that also involves their family.

I’ve heard from those who have suffered difficult trials in their life, who now find they are able to “see beauty” in the world around them when they pick up a camera.  It changes their perspective.  It helps them heal. It has helped them to find the positive.  To find the beautiful.  And to record it and remember that forever.

It has changed pessimists into optimists.

It has opened the curtains of our trial laden lives to reveal blessings and gratitude.

It has helped people to capture priceless moments.  To document miracles and relationships.  To remind people what is most important in their life.

Wow.

Photography can be powerful.  How could we deny that to someone else–even through our attitude or through our words?  It just isn’t right.

I think one of the biggest threats that a Grumpy photographer feels is towards business.  “They’re going to steal my work!  Steal my clients!  Steal my opportunities!  Steal my money!” 

I TRULY TRULY BELIEVE WITH ALL MY HEART–THAT THERE IS PLENTY OF WORK TO GO AROUND.

Yes.  Even in a saturated industry.  Everyone needs pictures.  I hate to break it to the Grumpy photographer, but likely, its not the “other photographers” that are stealing the work, but a bad attitude and perspective that is driving others away.

What goes around comes around. Many times, I find that the most successful photographers, are not always the technical “best” photographers.  But they love other people, they love their clients, they love their job, they serve with a happy attitude-great customer service–and the experiences that people have with them are so positive that it spreads.

Attitude is everything.

Choose to be a Happy Photographer.

avatarBrooke Snow is a Lifestyle photographer in Cache Valley, Utah. She is a proud new mother to a perfect baby boy. During the day she uses her BM and MM in Music Composition to write silly songs to make small people smile and laugh. During the nights and select mornings Brooke teaches private photography lessons as well as monthly photography classes in Logan, Utah. During the weekend she dreams up crazy and fun photo shoots for her fabulous subjects. Brooke welcomes comments, questions, new friendships, new clients, and new coats and hats for her growing collection.

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