As you know, a few weeks ago I spent five whole days – including my birthday – glued to my computer screen watching CreativeLIVE‘s wedding photography workshop with Jasmine Star. I learned so much from that workshop… it’s affected the way I run my business on every level… from marketing to shooting to post production. The workshop was absolutely priceless.
I’ve wanted to write about some of the things I learned for a few weeks, but I wasn’t sure how I would go about it, so I’m going to do a couple different posts over the next few weeks, taking specific things I’ve learned, and talking about how I am applying those things to my business.
Hands down, the most important thing I learned from Jasmine Star was to KEEP IT REAL. That sounds ridiculously simple, right? But sometimes it’s not. As a business owner, I have always been careful to walk a fine line, to try and be all things to all people, all clients. And that has not always been easy. Instead of being real, being me… I’ve been a vanilla version of me. A version that tip toes around and is careful not to say anything that might bother even one person, because I don’t want to lose a potential client. And I think I haven’t been able to connect with my clients as much as I’d like to because of that.
Which brings me to the title of this post… Connect or Repel. Jasmine talked a lot about this during the workshop. Keep it real, and you’ll connect with people… or repel people. And both of those things are wonderful! Even the repelling. Not every person that contacts me will be the right fit. And that’s totally okay! That doesn’t mean they’re bad people; it doesn’t mean I’m a bad person. It just means there is another photographer better suited to their needs, their personalities. I learned to be yourself… some people won’t like it – and that’s fine – but the people that do like it will be the perfect match, the perfect clients.
I’ve seen this to some extent already. I’ve had some clients who feel like they know me a little when we meet for the first time because they follow my blog… so many of my clients tell me when they first meet me that they love the photos of my cats that I occasionally post, and then start talking about their cats. They ask me about MY wedding planning, because they’ve read about it on the blog. And that always surprises me! Although Google analytics tells me people are reading this blog, I’m always so surprised to find out that it’s true. It’s such a nice feeling.
My clients and I connect over the few details about my life that I choose to share here… and then all of the sudden, I’m not just some stranger with a camera… we cross that threshold. And everyone is laughing and having fun, and now I’m your friend with a camera… no longer a stranger. The photography process is a very intimate thing… together we’re capturing a single, beautiful moment, and if there’s a connection between the person taking the photo and the people in the photo… that’s when you create something really special. Those are the photos that are truly spectacular, truly genuine.
I love my clients. I often sit around and talk to John about how much I love you guys. (Is that weird?) I’ve been so incredibly blessed to work with such cool people. But I haven’t always allowed myself to connect with people as much I’d like to… I’ve always been very aware of BUSINESS Katie and REGULAR Katie. But… I actually think my clients would really like the regular me. And I’m going to make a real effort to not just be all about the business, because that’s what being an independent photographer is all about… connecting with YOU. If I didn’t care, if I didn’t want to get to know my clients, I could just go work at a portrait studio where people file in and out all day… “Look at the bird, and say cheese!” But that’s not what I want, and I know that’s not what the people who come to me want.
If a someone is bothered by the fact that I want to get to know my clients, and I want them to get to know me… that’s okay! We’re not a match! If someone is bothered by the White Knot at the bottom of this page… we just aren’t the right fit. If you want “studio” portraits in front of a backdrop… I’m not your girl! Jasmine taught me that it’s okay to repel people. Because when you find a client who is the right fit, who gets you, and who you totally get in return… it is a PRICELESS experience.
And that is what I want above all else… I want to give you a PRICELESS experience. That’s what I’m all about. So I’m going to keep it real, keep on connecting with my amazing clients, and repelling those that just aren’t the right fit.