Let’s face it, 9 days into the new year and over a million resolutions have already been broken. Why? Because nobody takes them seriously. It has pretty much become a tradition to make a resolution for the upcoming year. Don’t buy into this. You don’t need a specific date on a calendar to begin making changes in your life. Replace “Resolutions” with “Goals” and begin when you are ready. To see change, you have to change. It requires commitment and it won’t be easy. Who’s up for the challenge?
Are you the smartest of the people that you spend the most time around? If so, find new people to spend time with. It’s always fun to be the best at something. Take tennis for example. If you and a friend play tennis all of the time and you beat them at every match, who’s really benefitting? The answer: “Not you“. The only way to advance to the next level is to play with the people who are already there.
Prior to the internet, your city’s local area photography studio was making a killing. If that particular studio wasn’t a good fit, it was a car ride to next option. Most people would visit two or three of their local choices and make a decision on who to hire. Those days are long gone. Competition is fierce! Your website is your local storefront. Where is it located in a Google search? And once somebody arrives there, how likely are they to stay and browse? A first impression is everything! The images you choose to display better be your best and the story you are telling about your company should be complimented by those images.
Your attitude and how you feel physically have the biggest impact on how your life transpires. These two things alone will make you perceive things differently and judge your everyday circumstances unfairly. Resulting in an endless cycle of self destruction. If things aren’t going the way that you want them to, try to see them from a different perspective. Your initial perspective is driven by your attitude, past experiences and your physical condition.
Earl Nightingale defines success as: “The progressive realization of a worthy ideal.” OR Deliberately working towards a predetermined goal. You must know exactly what your goals are or you will never hit them. If you don’t hit them, then you will remain right where you. Set SMART goals. •Specific• Measurable• Attainable• Realistic• Timely. Write them down and carry them out day by day.
Opportunities come and go. They can seem so far-fetched you may fail to see what’s right in front of you. The key to success is to recognize an opportunity and jump on it immediately. There is a small window from when the opportunity presents itself to when it is too late. Say yes now and figure it all out later.
Your “Natural state” is how you behave when you’re most natural. It’s your basic state. The one you adopt when your “authentic” and “true to yourself”. Your “Adaptive state” is how you behave when you feel like your being observed or how you behave when you’re “Aware” of your behavior. This is less authentic to you. Studies show that you are far more effective in your natural state. Most of you slip from “Natural” to “adaptive” when you show up for a job or meet with potential clients, thus rendering you less effective. It wasn’t until this was brought to my attention that I was able to manage my states. So now that your aware of this, the next time you feel yourself transitioning from natural to adaptive, do your best to stay as natural as possible. You will get better results.
There are many different styles to wedding photography today. Each and every one serves its purpose and is sought after by a lot of people. Because you can’t be everything to everybody, you have to decide what your style of photography is and show it. A lot of wedding photographers claim to be “storytellers” yet that type of work goes unseen on their blog and website. Not only is this sending the wrong message to your potential clients, it’s subconsciously having an effect on you to be comfortable and thrive in your environment. Everything must align. Show who you are and what you do best and everything else will fall into place.
Failure is not a catastrophic event. It’s a series of poor judgment and decisions that compound over time. We do not just fail over night. Success happens the exact same way. Things that are easy to do are also easy not to do. By taking small incremental steps everyday, you are setting yourself up for a bright future. Success is easier than you think.
It takes the same amount of energy to hit a big goal as it does to hit an ordinary goal. It’s the big goals that get us excited, driven and motivated. Bigger goals also have better rewards. Hitting those goals is one thing but it’s the person who you have to become to hit those goals that is the most important.
Every decision we make has a consequence whether it’s positive or negative. The goal is to get as many positive outcomes as possible. You must be confident in your shots. Quick and decisive. Don’t let the influence of others distract you. As wedding photographers, we’re making decisions all day long on which aspects to spend and focus more time on. You must understand that every time you say yes to something, your saying no to something else. So be patient and commit to your decision.
Education shouldn’t stop when school ends. We must constantly fill ourselves with knowledge. But remember, knowledge is NOT power unless it is applied. Take action now! Don’t let these words just be an inspiration. “Be the person” you could have been “today”.
Know what your strengths and weaknesses are. Write them down so it becomes clear to you on what exactly you need to work on. You cannot give your best if you don’t know what your best is.
The only way to train your eye is to shoot a lot. Many of you have heard of the 10,000 hour rule. Those 10,000 hours cannot just come from wedding days. They come from every day in-between when you are “practicing”. If you condition yourself to shoot in any situation, at anytime of they day, the wedding day will seem more controlled.
The success reality is 10% product and 90% sales and marketing! As artists, we are in love with our product. We have the tendency to push it on our potential clients. This is a huge mistake. Nobody wants to be “sold”. You have to be in love with your clients. Find and express their needs and concerns.
There are so many wonderful photographers out there. Most of them offer workshops. They will show you some of their techniques and what works for them. That doesn’t mean it will work for you. Take in the information that they provide and use it as a reference. Something to build off of. If you are trying to be like everyone else, you will end up being nobody.
Everyday we are faced with decisions that must be made. Some seem so small and insignificant that we hardly put much thought into them at all. Yet, these decisions are linked together and create a path that you are following. This path leads to your future destination. Just like the “Choose Your Own Adventure” books you may had read as a child. There is no going back if you made the wrong choice. Always be aware of what’s ahead. Set your destination and stay on the right path.
We’re all unique. We live our lives based on what we have learned from our passed experiences. Those past experiences place limits on our future endeavors. This is severely impacting your quality of life and holding you back from the life that you deserve. These limits are IMAGINARY. They reside in your head only. Yet they feel so real that we structure our decision making around them as if they were 100% valid. It’s time to start living outside of your comfort zone. This is where the magic happens. This is where you can create new limits for yourself and pave the way towards the future that you desire. You are older and wiser now. Stop living your life from limits that were created when you were just a child.
If you try to do too much, you end up doing nothing. A professional basketball player may focus on free throws and three-point shots to help improve their game. It’s that intense focus on a very specific task or tasks that will drastically increase the players performance. Taking on more than two tasks at a time will hinder your overall results. What are the two areas that you can focus on today?
When marketing a product or service, you are telling a story. A story that resonates in the buyers mind which goes on to produce a “new story” of why they need your product or service. Nobody really needs a $200 pair of sneakers but we convince ourselves that we do. We tell ourselves stories about how that will help us run faster or even look cooler. Once we “buy in” to our story, we also buy into the product or service. Is your business telling a story? If so, is it the story that you want to be telling?
Another word for failure should be “evaluation”. Sometimes when we fail, we stop or just give up. We give ourselves one time to get it right. It’s nearly impossible to do something perfect the first time. Each failed attempt should be considered an evaluation or a point of reference. This way we can correct the problem and make the necessary adjustments to get us closer to our goals.
We often see during a hockey game, that the team that’s down by a goal will pull their goaltender and play at a much higher level with just a minute left in the game. We see the same thing happen in football when they hit the two minute warning. If they had played the entire game with a higher sense of urgency, they most likely wouldn’t have their backs against the wall with only seconds to spare. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Always play at your highest level.
Time is our most valuable commodity. You have to be sure you are spending it wisely. Find the one thing that you do best and give it 100%. The rest can be delegated.
You are in the business of “Selling Wedding Photography”. This has to be your number one thought every single day. With no work, there is no business. Your clients are not a number, or a target. They are people that need something from you. Find out what that is and how you can best serve them.
Live in the “right now“. We are constantly thinking about the past and the future while we are missing out on the present. We tackle one thing at a time as if they are obstacles. Only to bring us to more obstacles! It’s what we do in the present that will determine our future and create our past.
Get out of your comfort zone! You may find yourself making the make images over and over again because you know it will work. This will prevent you from growing. If you have an idea, you have to run with it. Make the decision to do so quickly and stand by that decision until you have succeeded. We only imagine what is possible.
“Be present”. I’ve shot back to back weddings in one weekend at the very same venue. It’s the people that I’m interested in. I didn’t try to re-create a shot that I knew worked from the previous day. I stayed true to my clients. I covered “their” wedding. Have you ever been to a wedding venue while there was nothing going on? It’s very empty and lonely. It’s who occupies the space that brings it to life and gives it a meaning.
The power of “WHY“. At the very foundation of what you do, you should find your “why“. This should be your number one motivator. The reason you will never quit. It is the force that will drive you through the obstacles that you never saw coming. Without it, you are just like everyone else. If you don’t know what is currently driving you, it is time to figure it out. Your “why” is essential to your success.
Confidence is king. How are you supposed to convince others if your not sure yourself? Posture, eye contact and your tone of voice are three major pieces to this puzzle. Nobody will follow an indecisive, tentative and undetermined person. Be a leader.
We all have that voice inside of our heads. It never stops talking and it acts on instinct. It tells you what to do and what not to do. How to react to certain situations. It’s judgmental and thrives on fear. For some reason we give this voice the right of passage. Be the gate keeper! You control every decision that you make. You may be surprised by how often you disagree with your initial reaction.
I’m a firm believer that clean composition, good light and a great moment are going to win every time. But we have to do more. We have to blow our clients minds. We constantly have to push ourselves. Every wedding should be difficult. If it isn’t, you didn’t work hard enough. When you do something difficult over and over again until it becomes easy, you “level up”. Each time you “level up” you separate yourself from the competition.
How are you being perceived? It’s important to take a step back and try to see how you’re coming across to others. Only “you” can control what people see. Show only your “best” work on your blog/website and clean up your social media posts. Nowadays anybody can have access into your life, so show them what you want them to see.
Once you make the photograph that you were looking for, ask yourself, “how can I improve on this?“ Then act on it immediately. Your first shot was most likely your “safe shot”. Take it as far as you can. Don’t settle for mediocrity. Prove to yourself that you have it in you.
A common theme that is developing amongst most of the wedding photographers that I coach is the “lack of identity”. We have access to so much content online and we sometimes look for some inspiration. But how much is too much? I see many photographers trying to copy what they see rather than trying to create for themselves. If you do that, you lose everything that’s original to you as an artist. The more you look at other wedding photographers work, the more lost you will seem.
Most people don’t understand the workload of a photographer. It’s not just shooting and editing. There are endless emails, meetings, phone calls, blogging, etc. It’s a full time, 24 hour job and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. As busy as we are, we have to remember that “everything counts”. We have to make a habit of doing the best we can at everything we do. Once the habit forms, it becomes who we are.
“The Power of Positive Thought”. Somehow, someway, our thoughts have a direct correlation with the results that we achieve. If you think you are going to fail, the odds of failing fall into your favor. This works both ways. The universe provides us with a series of laws. Everything has an opposite. If you put positive thought into everything that you do, you can watch the transition from negative to positive take place. Doing this will change your demeanor and way you present yourself. A physical way of seeing this is to walk down the street with a smile on your face. Be observant of the reactions that you receive. Positive attracts positive, negative attracts negative.
You just may be the worst boss that you have ever worked for. You don’t put in enough hours. Your sales numbers are at an all time low. Your communication skills such as: Talking over the phone or sending emails are lackluster to say the least. You have failed to set S.M.A.R.T. goals. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely). It’s time look at yourself in the mirror and let that person go. “Your Fired!” Now, hire the person staring back at you knowing that things are going to be different.
We live in a world of endless opportunity. Most of the time it’s not so obvious but as long as you know what to look for, you will find it. Opportunity disguises itself in information, people and invitations. Most people are quick to dismiss a new experience but life is based on them. Our time here is limited. Make the most of it and keep your eyes open for opportunities.