Rules of Business: Be Yourself (Part 3)
Let’s round out this series with something uplifting. I had the joy of shooting my big sister’s engagement pictures. I’ll keep it short and sweet and let you guys just look through the pictures, but the great part about this was that there were no expectations. This wasn’t just another client. This is my sister, and all she wanted were some nice pictures. I had freedom to shoot whatever I wanted. I did the shots they wanted no matter how corny or cliche the request, I did a few “safe” shots that I know they’d love, but the part that excited me was being able to shoot something out of the ordinary. Being able to do something bold and crazy, not just your typical couple picture. We were at the beach in Port Townsend and the fog was rolling in really quickly. They had planned on a nice bright sunny day at the beach, so they were disappointed when we got there and the weather was what you’d call “icky”. But I saw an opportunity to take a risk and do something crazy. I told them to just walk down the beach, and just keep going as far as they could, despite the wind, rain, and weather. They did, and 30 feet down the beach they forgot I was there. I found this beautiful moment in a place that nobody would ever want to take photos, because reason said “bad weather makes bad photos”. Wrong. It’s why I love taking photos. One of my favorite comments on a picture was “and just when I thought wedding pictures couldn’t be unique.” I love that. Sometimes you have to fight reason because the things you find beyond reason are worth the fight.
Want to be successful? Be yourself. Be different. Don’t be doing the same thing everybody else is doing. If you aren’t unique, then you’re a commodity, and anybody can just pay for the cheapest one and get the same thing. The problem with that is everybody is different. Every photographer is different. Didn’t your parents ever teach you to resist peer pressure? Be yourself, because yourself is different than everybody else. Here’s a quote from the photographer’s website that pioneered the trash the dress trend. “John Michael Cooper, a 26 year photography veteran – shooting things his own damn way.” I absolutely love that. Do what you do, because nobody does it like you.
I like making the visions in my head come true. Many times, that vision is unconventional to what’s normal. Good. I don’t want “nice, normal pictures.” I want “jaw dropping show-stopper pictures.” We don’t need to go out of our way, we just need to get out of our way. Let others do what they do and whatever they do, in the end, it doesn’t really matter too much. Be yourself, because yourself is different.
Right now the only things hanging on my sister’s walls are pictures I’ve given her, so I’m looking forward to walking into their house someday and seeing how many pictures I can fill their house with. Now for the pretty pictures… Enjoy!