The Key To Success: Don’t be an Asshole.

This is honestly the best advice I can offer people running their own business. I want to get it on a t-shirt…

I’ve probably ranted about this before, but I’m going to rant about it again. Sure, you can be the worlds greatest at what you do… You can have a service or product that stands apart from everyone else in your industry – something REALLY unique and fantastic… But if you’re a dick… all the talent in the world can’t make you successful. People don’t like assholes.

Where is this stemming from, you ask? Let me tell you…

As you know… I run a business. As you also might know, I am pretty determined to succeed. I work really hard. I am always making friends in my industry, educating myself and learning new things about marketing… You have heard me lament about how hard it is to succeed on Instagram. The world of IG has become so saturated that there are constantly new rules and guidelines that none of us know about, being implemented. When we find out about them, it’s usually after being shadow blocked for unknowingly breaking one of the new rules. Not super fair, right? But it is what it is… I’ve tried many things when it comes to marketing, and one of the things I am trying now is a company that helps you grow your instagram account. No it is NOT buy followers… it’s a company that does what I simply don’t have time to do… which is going around instagram and interacting for me so that my posts are seen more frequently, and people (REAL PEOPLE) begin to follow me because I am more active.

One of the things this company does on my Shy Heart Studios instagram (@shy_heart_studios) is sends a new message to every single follower. The message is created by me, but they send it to all of the new people who come my way welcoming them, thanking them for their follow, and letting them know that they can ask us any questions about our services. Simply, and lovely, right? It’s a GREAT tool because it actually gets people responding and often asking questions. We’ve even booked people thanks to this tool… all because it automatically sends a message, and then we get to start a REAL conversation when they reply.

We still control all of our material, and everything that gets posted. This does not completely automate our instagram accounts.

Anyway… this morning I got a nasty reply from a fellow wedding photographer:

“@shy_heart_studios did you even look at my account? What booking or services do you think I’ll have questions about? I’m just trying to support other vendors with a follow. Seems like you just fired off a generic message you send every new follower.”

I sent this sassy retort:

“Sure did. It’s a marketing program I use… it helps our business grow in the hopes that it can start conversations with potential clients… Saying hello and being friendly, generic or not, is actually quote effective and we’ve booked business from it. You could have simply replied politely… or ignored our message. No need to be rude about it. Photographers often need other photographers since we can’t photograph ourselves… So I don’t see the harm in sending the same message to all of my new followers.”

I doubt the ended up seeing that reply because after some more thought, I chose to block them all together.

Here’s the thing you guys… This person was obviously offended and felt the need to call me out for using a generic message. I did check out their page… and then their website. They have about half of the following that we have on our IG account, and their website is pretty terrible. It looks to me like they are pretty new to the world of professional photography… and they just burned a bridge with someone who is NOT new to this industry, and could have shared a wealth of helpful knowledge with them.

If they had written to me and said, “Hi @shy_heart_studios – I’m also a photographer, and not in need of photography services at this time, but I noticed it seems like you sent a generic message that you probably send to all of your new followers. Is that accurate? If so, how did you do that? Has it been successful in helping you book clients?” they would have instantly gained a friend in the industry and an ally who could help them in this difficult world of navigating social media in order to grow your business. I have been at this a long time and have a lot of knowledge to share with others. Instead, they wrote me a snarky message in an attempt to “call me out” on something I have no shame about… because it’s actually a SMART marketing tool… and I blocked them, and I will not forget the name of their company. I’d also like to point out that they claimed to want to “support other vendors with a follow” – how does following another vendor help them when you send them a message with the intention to shame them? Seems counter productive to me.

I have a lot of friends who are photographers. Sure, one could look at them as my competition, but I do not. I look at them as friends who I can help, and who can help me. When we learn new things about marketing or industry and networking events, we share it with each other. We help each other grow. I have learned time and time again in this industry that being an asshole might help you for a while… You might get to the top more quickly than others by stepping on people on your way up… But when no one is left that wants to support you because you’ve stepped on all of them, when you begin to fall – no one will reach out to grab your hand… and the rest of us… we’ll still get to the top.

So succeed by being kind and helpful. Don’t be an asshole. That’s my PSA for today.


Onto some lovely photos of a lovely couple… Andrea & James are the sweetest. Check out their engagement session at Oak Canyon Nature Center:


Be kind to others you guys… Make friends… don’t burn bridges.

For more information on how NOT to be an asshole, or for information on photography services, please feel free to visit or and send us a message! Follow both of my photography brands on Instagram @briannacaster for my BC & Co. Photographers brand and @shy_heart_studios for my wonderful team of talented photographers.

With love and kindness,


One Comment on “The Key To Success: Don’t be an Asshole.

  1. *Followed! Woot

    And yes, that is some premium advice right there. Also, that B&W on the bridge is phenomenal! Always love seeing your images bring love to life.


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