The industry of wedding photography is an odd one. For the most part it's compiled of a bunch of individuals competing against each other. However, you will find a collection of communities who provide support for their peers. This can range from advice on camera equipment to how to create a certain kind of photo. This camaraderie is a super effective way of bouncing back when you hit that 'wall'.
I don't think you can rest in this business. If you do, you're at risk of being left behind. I want to be constantly growing and developing as a photographer, and as a person. So, putting aside the obvious drive of why I do this for a job, i.e. my family and keeping them fed and housed, what do I find motivational and inspirational? What makes me think about things differently, and maybe just spark some new ideas of how to run this business and create better photographs? These are my examples of everyday stuff. Easily accessible. Something that you can dip into when you need a boost.
"You're looking for a moment when you feel as close to the soul as possible. That's what good design is."
Tucked away in your Netflix thumbnails you'll find a relatively new series called Abstract. A series focused on creators. Someone who is a leader in their industry, and probably doing things differently to most. Three episodes in particular stood out to me, Illustration, Architecture and Photography (obviously), the latter relating to the above quote.
For me, this drove home that behind every success was hard work and risk. When you feel safe, dare I say complacent, push harder! You're only as good as your last photo in my case I guess.
Okay. It's not an obvious choice, I give you that, but Moneyball is my favourite book. A baseball story about the Oakland A's in the early 2000s. The reason why this book stands out for me, setting aside how brilliantly written it is, is that it's a David vs Goliath story. A relatively small team, with an even smaller budget, competing against superstar teams like the Yankees.
Billy Beane, the General Manager, becomes fed up with playing by the same formula as everyone else and goes against long established baseball tradition. This in turn causes plenty of controversy, but ignoring the media onslaught this team does remarkably well by focusing on the right way to get results. It's an effective business book more than anything else.
If I'm honest, this story has been bugging me for years now. There is something I will figure out from this and apply it to my own business, on a grand scale, and when I do I'll be so happy to have sussed it out!!
Shout out to the ever growing Humans Of New York, a Facebook post that I always stop and read. Zack Arias's Q&A book was also a fantastic read a few years ago.
"Make It Count"
Yeah, this thumbnail isn't helping much. Let me explain...
Over recent months, when pausing the editing for lunch or a cuppa, I've started to enjoy the huge catalogue of independent film makers on YouTube. There's loads of them! Daily vloggers or maybe just (low budget) stories shot really well. The above is Casey Neistat, a tech business owner with a series of videos about his life and business. I find it really interesting. From an inspirational point of view I've taken on that content doesn't have to mean using the best equipment. Plenty of this work is shot on the iPhone or lower end DSLRs, and it's still engaging to me. The story trumps all!
There's plenty more. A good podcast when culling in Lightroom is always appreciated, PhotoBizX is a good go to of mine. I love a good film, if just for the basic escapism. A recent re-watch was Margin Call, released a few years ago and about the financial crash in 2008. The dialogue and shooting style just appears to be so simple, but I find it really effective. Again, the story trumps all! My Spotify playlist grows everyday almost, check out Rodriuez and City Of The Sun to help focus the mind.
Then of course there's the photographers, Instagram now probably my favourite place to see the great work out there. I never want to be a imitator, but it provides a great driving force, like I say, if you rest you'll fall behind. Just in the time I've been shooting weddings I've seen a huge growth in the quantity and quality of work. Got to keep pushing.
Looking back at these tips and experiences there is little to no mention of light, composition, lenses etc... The common thread is thinking differently. Taking a moment to step out of the pattern you find yourself in and wondering what direction you could go. It doesn't have to be huge, but always being OK with doing something differently will at least be progress, and maybe even success.