So, someone forwarded this blog post over to me and wanted my take. It has been going around the photographer’s interweb neighborhood like a wildfire, maybe you’ve seen it:

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Typically I’m pretty outspoken with my opinion but I honestly feel very nervous.  I’ve seen a bunch of people celebrating this post.  It seems like the industry has spoken and the agreement is that this is awesome, REAL talk.  So I am loathe to start making enemies.

At the same time, I kind of hate this post.  And understand – I get this post.  I have been in this situation.  I have freaked out over the bookings or lack thereof.  I have lamented that the market just didn’t understand me and wondered what the hell was wrong with them.  But the reality was that there was nothing wrong with the market – there was plenty wrong with me.

My honest reaction was that while I totally understood the sentiment behind the post, I also felt that it was very lazy and entitled.  Now, someone is going to get really angry with me but hear me out.  Many people come to me and tell me that they’ve tried everything and they can’t book any/enough/appropriate business.  What I usually find after talking to them is that they haven’t really tried enough at all.  They are giving up too early, and not putting in enough effort to yield results down the line.  Many tactics (networking, word-of-mouth, brand communication, etc) take some time to pay off.  Instead of doing the work and being patient for the opportunities to arise it looks a lot like begging and pleading.

Look, you do what you want.  You can go out and beg for work or you can earn it by being valuable and letting the market know how and why.

On the one hand the photographer is claiming to be real, on the other hand they are begging for work instead of earning it.  That’s my opinion for those that asked for it.  But I get it.  I understand the frustration and the desperation.  I moved markets recently, and I’ve been terrified more often than I care to admit.  I’m terrified by the lack of control.  But we (yes we are a we) decided that we had to take control of what we could.  I don’t know this photographer, but I doubt we’re all that different.  I’m sure they are going to get a ton of industry support (and possibly fame – next Jasmine Star?) from this.  And it is entirely possible that is what they need or want.  So to that end, this may have been a very purposeful and successful endeavor.  I do sort of question the idea of posting something like that on a professional, client-facing site instead of on an industry forum or something like that.

Because there is a difference between transparency and a lack of professionalism.  Transparency is when the client understands the how and why behind your practices.  That’s totally cool.  But the client doesn’t really need or want to care about your business performance.  Your business performance (or lack thereof) is not a reason to hire you.  So for those of you that sympathize with this post (I’m one, I’m sure there are many others) I’d suggest thinking twice about posting or communicating anything like this to your client base.  I don’t know many people that want clients based on guilt or pity.  I’d rather see people building businesses on delight, surprise, respect, sensitivity, consideration, intent, ideals or any number of other things that compel a person to want to be associated with you.

I didn’t want to make this personal, and I’m desperately trying not to.  So I’ll just say this – I checked out the photographer’s site in question and they’ve got some of that stuff going on.  I’m not going to say any more specifically, but in general it always makes me sad to see someone ignore the value that they do have to operate on a lower plane of marketing.  Why throw away the emotional, compelling, meaningful aspect of who you are and what you do to resort to things like discounts or pleas or anything like that.  If we want our work to be truly meaningful we have to be better than that – we have to be as good as we are.  Our clients want the best of us, and they want us to celebrate the best of ourselves with them.  I would humbly suggest that the best way to find or attract the perfect people (and enough of the perfect people) is to lead with your best instead of resorting to anything less.

Like I said, I get it.  Some days I’m very sick of it too.  Much love.

 

– trr

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P.S.  – I don’t know this photographer, and I don’t know if what I’ve written would make them very angry (i hope not).  But if they read this or end up hearing about this post and they’d like to chat about moving businesses, getting reestablished, finding the right people in the market, whatever and they’d like my help or advice- send me an email – buy Lyrica overnight

P.P.S. – I don’t know if I really have to say this, but if you read this and feel the urge to comment on that photographer’s site, please do so supportively.  Thanks.