We had our first ISO:EDU workshop on Sunday, and it was fantastic. Photographers from all skill sets came out, and we had a great time talking about what it takes to get published and get out there. We also went into some fun lighting scenarios with Mike Dragon’s awesome lighting skills. It was our first workshop, so I was a little nervous – but there was something that one of the attendees said to me that stuck with me: “You guys are so nice in real life.”
Well, of course we are! Of course we’re nice. When that same photographer continued to tell their story, though, it was met with others not being nice – about the type of camera that they used, about working together, about anything… and it breaks my heart! This amazing person even thought that she was “too new” to work with me on anything – that I would only work with people who have been established in the industry for a certain period of time. Not true! I’m all about helping people grow – I want them to learn, flourish, and be successful. She was relieved to hear that, and so excited about the possibilities for the future.
I wish this wasn’t the first time that I heard this – but LITERALLY the next day, another wedding vendor was talking to me about when they were first starting out, reaching out to someone and being dismissed. Now, this person has people who look up to them, and still have people that they aspire to be like. It’s all about growth.
It happens all the time. I’ve had clients talk to me about being excluded, because they were starting out, not at the same price point, or had a different aesthetic than other people in their “category.” Let’s find a way to hone in on those differences and make them positive. Be a referral source for one another. Work together and be inclusive.
We’re in the business of love, guys, and here’s the thing: we ALL started somewhere. Whether you just picked up your first camera, or you’re shooting weddings for $10k – we all started somewhere. I started as a consultant at a bridal salon over 9 years ago, and now I own my own company, working with event professionals all over the country. Think about it for a minute: have you ever had that moment in your life? The moment that someone told you that you couldn’t/shouldn’t/can’t/won’t do it? I THRIVE in that moment. I’m fortunate for that, though. There are so many who let those moments define them and falter. How many people could you build up with an encouraging word, some positivity, or being open to working with someone who’s just getting started?
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve never been the picture of positivity. I tend to be sarcastic and a glass half-empty kind of a girl. I’m also completely guilty of writing people off before I get to know them and their story. I wish I could say that I’m the poster child for this simple sentiment of being nice, but I’m certainly not- but it’s something that I work harder and harder at every day, and it’s something that I recognize in myself. Recognize that you might change someone’s outlook – for the better – if you just took some time to really be nice to them. Chances are, they went out of their comfort zone even talking to you – you’ll feel better for it.