Make friends – not enemies.
When I thought about re-launching my blog I thought about how I could keep readers interested. Obviously it’s fun to look at photos and to talk about sessions – but I knew I needed more than that. I’m going through a major change in my career life right now and am essentially starting from square one building my business. Everyone loves a “from the very bottom to the very top” kind of story – right? It’s uplifting… it encourages others… and often times people can relate. So I’ve decided to structure my blog posts around just that… I hope to take people along through this journey I’m on building my business. If along the way – people lend advice – awesome… but more importantly, if along the way, I can help someone else with one piece of advice – then this will all be worth it. And hopefully this will truly be a “from the very bottom to the very top” kind of journey.
So today’s piece of advice is this – MAKE FRIENDS in your industry. Like many others out there, in the photography industry, I’ve experienced two kinds of people:
One type feels threatened by newcomers in the industry, and gets easily concerned that newcomers may take a chunk of their business. So this type of person doesn’t share tips and tricks with others because they believe they learned it on their own and if they share it they will create their own competition. (When the real truth here is – someone, somewhere taught them. They didn’t really learn it all on their own…)
The other type of people in this industry are the exact opposite, and sadly are few and far between. This type of person offers help, advice and knowledge at every turn. They aren’t concerned about others taking a chunk of their business because they are confident in what they offer and they know there is plenty of business to go around.
In my experience with both types of people – the type who offers help and advice at every turn are far more successful than those who do not. Is this a coincidence? I don’t think so.
Here’s how I see it:
Back in college I asked someone to give me some tips on how to use my camera and how to capture the amazing images that she was capturing. She simply said “just go practice.” While this was, on some level, sound advice… more than that, it was a clear message that she did not want to help me. So I thought, “fine… I’ll just Google it.” And from then on, when I had a question that someone didn’t want to answer – I Googled it and figured it out. To think that keeping knowledge and techniques to yourself will prevent people from becoming your competition is… well… for lack of a better term… STUPID. What you will create, by doing this, is another soured relationship in the industry. You will lose the ability to create a network of friends and people in your industry and THAT is very important. When you have others who help you, and when you help others, you can all work in harmony. If I’m booked, I will refer out to one of my photographer friends, and vice versa… But if you attempt to inhibit others, then they certainly are not going to try to help you or refer business your way when they are booked. So make friends in your industry. Be kind. Be helpful. And the rewards will always come back to you.
One of my greatest mentors is someone I admire probably more than she even realizes. She has seen me through a lot of projects, jobs, and opportunities. I’ve come to work with her at times, and at other times took a step away from her business to try other things. No matter what, every time I’ve asked for advice – she has offered it. She gives me opportunities CONSTANTLY and I don’t know how I will ever be able to repay her for her constant generosity. She is talented beyond words and has a client base that far succeeds mine… but I do hope that one day I will be able to show her my gratitude in some way. I am always truly honored when she asks me to photograph something for her – being able to do this for her makes me feel like on some level I am giving something back. In December I had the privilege of photographing her wonderful family. Take a look at this gorgeous Laguna Beach Family:
You can check out Kristin’s amazing photography at http://www.BlueSkysStudio.com
Kristin – THANK YOU for always being so generous and for everything you have taught me and continue to to teach me. I am truly blessed to have a mentor like you.
Remember to thank your mentors today! And if you feel like sharing a piece of invaluable advice that you once received… please comment and share.
With endless love and hope,