Everyone has a bit of competitiveness in them. I know that I do. I hate to lose. I always want to be the best I can be. I have learned (and still trying to learn) that the only person I need to compete with is my former self. Being a newborn photographer, or any type of photographer really, is tough. Did you know that the state of Washington is the 5th most saturated state in the United States for photographers (all types included here). That number can be terrifying, especially as I sit here trying to build my own photography business. But the thing that really gets me is all of the talent out there. And there is a lot of it. There are just so many talented photographers out there to choose from. I appreciate every booking. It’s hard not to look around and compare myself to everyone around me. And it’s everywhere, on the internet, on social media, in magazines etc. That was one of my biggest hurdles three years ago when I was getting started and not having the experience I have now or being where I wanted to be. I never thought I would improve. I felt alone in a sea of professionals. I just couldn’t help but compare myself and my work when I saw all these amazing images everywhere I turned.
Getting more immersed in the photography industry, you start to see the “other” side of the business. The part that isn’t as fun or nice. I know it’s in every business you go so I tried to take it with a grain of salt. The people not being gracious or kind or helpful. The people who will do whatever it takes to get ahead even though it may be hurtful or unethical etc. And I knew, as much as I want to succeed, I want to do it on my own terms and do it the right way according to my own values and principles. As I have gone along on my journey, I have come across a good handful of people who feel like I do. YAY! I am so thankful for those people in my life. They are a source of inspiration and help, strength and community.
The best part of being a photographer is that photography is a business you can do at any level of experience, part-time or full-time, as a licensed business or just as a hobby. Everyone’s prices are their own. There will always be someone cheaper. Everyone’s style is their own. There will always be someone better and different. Everyone’s business should be as unique as the person running it. Why should I worry about what others around me are doing? I don’t…it’s just not worth my energy. There are always going to be people with different values and business practices, just like in any other type of business, photography is no different. There are even people who do not like it when others succeed. I just do not understand that way of thinking. It makes me sad. When we lift up our industry and the professionals that are a part of it, all that does is make our industry better. And who wouldn’t like that?
If we work together as a community all it does is improve our industry! But not just work together, lift each other up, support each other, keep safe and healthy business practices for our clients of all ages and run professional and ethical businesses. This is what I want to do as I build my business and the people I want to surround myself with.
I have been blessed and have come across some pretty amazing photographers, mentors, vendors, businesswomen and artists along my journey. I try to do my research when joining groups. I want these women to be of the same mindset that I am. People who are passionate about their jobs and this amazing industry we are a part of, with a positive outlook that filters down into their business. Photographers who practice safety for newborns, children and their models and run their businesses with good ethics and morals. I follow photographers and learn from mentors that inspire me not only in business but also in who they are as people and the way they conduct their own business.
Competition is good and healthy but community is vitally important to me. I want to pay it forward. I will always do whatever I can to make my community the best I can by being the best me I can be. I enjoy helping others. I enjoy growing and learning in my craft. I have learned to just keep moving forward, be myself and do my own thing and what is best for my business, to be creative, follow my own dreams and goals and really create a brand that is unique to me while still staying true to my own values. I love being a part of this community! We should all embrace community over competition…imagine what the world would be like!