M.I.A. Status Explained | Confessions of a 30 something Photographer

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January 22, 2019

It’s 21 days into the new year and apparently I’m not off to a good
start on my resolution to get back to blogging on the regular.

Last year I let the ball drop in a major way when it came to blogging;
it was about the same time I abandoned my Instagram account.  It
wasn’t that I was overwhelmed.  There was nothing overly different
than every other fall season I’ve had to date.  There were weddings
nearly every week, multiple family sessions, and my mini session
event…nothing I couldn’t handle.  No, I guess if I had to chalk it up
to something it would be a temper tantrum.  Funny? Yes, but I think
pitiful would be a better description….it was sensory overload.

In photography, like most professions, the learning never stops.  Not unless you want your business to grow stagnant.  Technical skills
aside, marketing is EVERYTHING in this business.  So of course, I try
to absorb as many tips and tricks as possible. This past year,
however, I just grew tired of it.  Facebook, Instagram, Instastories,
SnapChat, Twitter, Pinterest, blogging, mass marketing e-mails… the
list goes on and on.  Everyday I was flooded with information on how
to make the most of these.  I’m just old enough to remember life
before the internet.  I still remember the sound of one’s computer
connecting and the little AOL man running across the screen.  I
remember getting online after school and waiting for friends to join
instant messenger to talk.  I remember the dawn of e-mail accounts and
getting my first one – one that sat empty most of the time.  I’m not
bitter about the growth of technology.  I don’t resent it.  I think
it’s awesome!  I use it (more than I should) every day.  I was just
angry.

Angry, and frustrated, that something that has so little to do with
what I actually do – bears so much of the influence of what I do.

I’ll explain.  As someone who could be labeled “a creative” I excel in
art.  I see what’s in front me, and can see what it could become.  I
create.  I don’t care for, at all, the business side of my business.
Taxes, bookkeeping, income ratio charts…. on and on, ad nauseam.  In
this industry you can’t have one without the other, so I deal.  I do
what I need to, albeit grudgingly. But in addition to all of that, I’m
told by top people in the marketing field that I need to schedule
instagram posts, share every session or event on instastories, make
sure my IG account is branded, write informative blog posts, learn the
algorithms FB and IG use to get the most views and engagement.  All
for platforms that now have advertising after every other image to get
people to buy stuff.

Honestly, I felt like I was being taught how to manipulate people
instead of simply showing my work to generate more business.

I’m not naive, I know how it works.  But let me put it this way…. If
you needed a house built, would you rather have an experienced
contractor whose work was proven, or someone that had a rough idea of
how to do the job but knew how to market themselves REALLY WELL?
Someone who can do both is ideal, and plenty exist, but as a 35 year
old, in what now seems to be a field filled with young bright 20 somethings, I’ll be honest, part of me wanted nothing to do with it.  I
wanted, and still want, clients who want me for me.  There are those
that can be transparent, and authentic in their social media presence…
but as someone who grows weary of seeing such posts, I couldn’t join
the masses.   I want my work to stand on it’s own – and if one loved
it enough to hire me, then they would have the ability to meet and get
to know ME – not the carefully curated version of me portrayed via
social media.   Experts say it’s important to establish a connection
with potential clients.  It’s what they are looking for, and what
separates your business from the sea of others out there.  I
understand, I REALLY do.  But when did that happen?  When did having
an Internet connection replace the value of having the human kind?
When did quantity of anecdotal posts start to outweigh the quality of
product?  Why does my image take precedence over the images I create?
LOL, don’t worry, I am not a serial killer or anything; what I am is,
a little sarcastic, a bit overweight, and have been through enough in
my life to know that it’s not all rainbows and butterflies out there.
Don’t get me wrong, I know it’s a necessary evil, and you have to put
yourself out there somewhat and share. Frankly though,I don’t think my
clients HAVE to know everything about me. They don’t need to know that
I don’t wear makeup everyday, or wear pajamas unless I leave the
house. They could probably go their whole life without knowing that I
pay someone to come clean because I hate it, or that there are always
piles of laundry waiting to be folded, and  that sometimes, we have
sandwiches for dinner because I didn’t think ahead to thaw anything.
Most of my clients become like family to me, but not even my actual
family knows every little daily thing! What they DO need to know is, I
am true to my word.  I will work my absolute hardest to give them a
product they will LOVE, and my 7 years in business has created
consistency that is visible when they look at my work, so they can
trust that they will receive the same.  Because after all, my business
isn’t about me, it’s about people, and I’d rather put my effort into
creating beautiful images than clever captions.

I guess you could say I was, and still am, lost.  I’m trying to figure
out if this is an area where I should stay true to myself, or if I
should conform to the status quo. Do I get caught up in the machine of
this social-less media, that simultaneously shares way too much, and
yet not enough? 

My biggest fear is that this will be interpreted as a
finger up to past and future clients.  I’m not stretching any version
of the truth at all when I say that I love my clients.  I hope they
can say the same about me, too.  I want to be wanted.  I want to be
the one that is contacted for anything and everything.  However,  I
know that’s not always going to be the case.  I know that I have lost
potential business because of the above, but there must be a happy
medium.  One where I’m not a slave to Social Media, but people still
wish to give me their business.  I can’t promise that I will fawn all
over you online… but I WILL love you with every ounce of my being when we are together.  I can’t promise that you’ll get to see behind the
scenes of my life… but I WILL capture your family, child, or love
story true to your own.

All that being said… blogging isn’t something I’m willing to part
with.  Stay tuned for multiple posts in the coming weeks of all my
2018 gorgeous Fall and Winter Weddings.

XO

PS. The irony of this post is not lost on me. 😉

  1. Cindy Clarke

    January 22nd, 2019 at 1:32 pm

    You are a wondeful person and a talented photographer. Word of mouth is a big advertisement in it’s self, that gives the consumer to get excited with the person sharing your worth to them and the next thing you know you have another customer. Happy Shooting

  2. Whitney

    January 22nd, 2019 at 2:29 pm

    THIS IS WHY I LOVE YOUUUUUUU! So real, so authentic. I’d much rather your energy and creativity be poured into your photography than into a perfectly curated Insta feed.

    You are simply the BEST photographer around. Hands down. And this is why.

  3. linda

    January 22nd, 2019 at 2:49 pm

    you are a very talented young lady. you are very busy, do your thing and God will bless it. love you much

  4. Jackie James

    January 22nd, 2019 at 11:27 pm

    I am proud of you and your work! You have heart for what you do! This shows in all of your beautiful pictures! I am so glad you find that more important than all that other “stuff.”

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