As a professional wedding photographer, it’s smart to stay with the times and stay relevant. To me, that means keeping a relevant brand, website, marketing materials, and always having current work and sample albums to show. Even following social media and communication trends and using that to relate to my audience. I enjoy keeping things fresh and learning the psychology, in both my work and communicating with my audience. Also, establishing relationships and networking with other wedding industry professionals could be beneficial.
I’m not a natural with networking events, but I’ve challenged myself to branch out and meet people. In fact, I’ve attended wedding industry mixers and events, open houses, etc. for about 7 years now. There is value to that. I just don’t know if wedding industry functions are still for me. I mean, you have to do something to keep your face out there if you’re a wedding professional, in my case a wedding photographer. Lately, I’ve felt as though it’s forced and I’m questioning everything.
Over the years, with wedding industry events and mixers, I’ve seen a lot of people come and go. Usually the ones that come in with the most noise and build hype are the first to go. I’ve met a lot of great wedding pros and I’m grateful for the connections I do have. I always will be, I value relationships and connections. I do not value the superficial and the cliques, which is how it can sometimes feel. Everyone’s experience with these things will be different. It is what you make it. It also depends where you are at in your career and how many are likeminded and common passions. The latter point is where I am coming up empty lately.
I’m not saying this is wrong, but so many wedding industry professionals are inundated with style and trends. For many vendor types, that’s their job, especially if they are providing decor or other visual services. These trends and styles, and overall image of a person seem to be bringing people together, more so than talent and ability. This is where I feel like a pink elephant. Everyone sees weddings differently. For me, it’s about the personal aspects. The human interaction, telling the story about the couples’ lives and their day. Sure, I do photograph the flowers and table settings, but that’s not the focal point of my wedding photography. Trends are trends, people and their memories are forever relevant.
What I offer is a niche style of wedding photography, but it’s perfect for couples looking for documentation of their day without orchestration and time away from their event. Not a trend. It’s timeless, and therefore, I can’t fake interest in cosmetic trends. This seems to be the disconnect between me and many other wedding industry professionals. Not hostility or anything, just a missing common link.
I love servicing weddings and storytelling, and offering a unique signature style and experience to my couples. Lately, events for wedding industry professionals are falling flat for me. I’ve met great people, and trusted professional colleagues. More of that happens from working events rather than being a “face” at mixers. That’s the thing. I’m not a face. I like to visit and mingle, but I’m always going to be the wedding photographer that is recognized as having talent, but is different. As in, not one of them. I’m not everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s just fine. But I’m not out to impress them with words or image. I bring it every time when I work a wedding, that is all that should impress anyone.
Isn’t different good? I think so, although not for everyone. Do you want to be ideal for everyone? Is that possible. I think not. It’s not about closing doors, but opening new ones.