What Type of Photographer are You?
Can I just start out by being completely honest? Being a photographer can really suck sometimes. It is a TOUGH business to get into now that everyone and their brother own a DSLR camera and label themselves a “photographer”. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE what I do! It can just get a little overwhelming when you start thinking about how many other photographers are out there. At that point you start to feel competitive and that can swallow you up if you allow it to and you start to lose sight of why you started this journey to begin with. I find that happening to myself quite a bit. I continue to remind myself that my only competition is the photographer I was yesterday and I do this because I love photography and I LOVE my clients, not to compete with other photogs. I struggle with determining what type of photographer I am and what type of photographer I want to be.
The way I see it there are 6 different types of Photographers: "The Know-it-all", "The Beginner", "The Hobbyist", "The Teacher"," The Supporter", and "The Critic". Most of us know which category we fall under (even though we may not want to admit it) and some of us may fall under more than one category at times.
The Know-it-all: This one is pretty self explanatory but to break it down it’s a photographer who, no matter how much experience they may have (sometimes it’s none), they think they know everything there is to know about Cameras, Lighting, Posing, Business, etc and have absolutely no problem telling you what you are doing wrong and how you need to do it without realizing there is more than one to do it all and every photographer has their own style, technique, etc.
The Beginner: A Photographer who is just starting out, is learning their equipment (which may just be their camera), isn’t sure what Photoshop is let alone how to use it and has a strong desire to learn everything they can and take on as many new clients as they can for FREE to build their portfolio. And more the power to them because it’s where we all started and there is no better way to learn than to practice!
The Hobbyist: A person who owns a digital or film camera and enjoys the art of photography or sometimes it’s that friend, brother, sister, aunt, uncle that owns an expensive camera who offers to shoot your wedding/portraits for free because “why pay so much for a professional? I can do it!” We all know a few of these ;)
The Teacher: An experienced and successful photographer who loves to help other aspiring photographers grow their business and teach them new techniques to grow their craft. They are extremely talented at what they do and are willing to share what they know to help others.
The Supporter: This one I think fits a majority of the photographers that I enjoy following on social media. They enjoy what they do and they like to support others who also enjoy it. They don’t get jealous of others success; instead they show their support by liking, sharing, commenting and showing the others love on their pages and websites.
The Critic: This one could also be called the “haters”. I see this quite often when people comment and feel the need to leave nasty remarks about other people’s work which mainly reflects jealously but also downright rudeness. They don’t leave helpful comments or critiques to help someone grow and improve; they leave mean and hateful comments insulting someone’s work just because they may not be at the same level as the person commenting.
I don’t know about you but I’m no “know-it-all”. I started my business in 2009 and looking back, I can see how far I have come but I know that I am nowhere near where I want to be. I am constantly trying to improve. I would never act as if I’ve perfected the craft, when the fact of the matter is… no one has. There is ALWAYS something new to learn in this profession.
Which type are you? Which one do you want to be?
The moral of the story is: Don’t be so hard on yourself and don’t be so critical of others. We are all trying to make it in the crazy world. I think it is so important for photographers to band together and show each other support. We are not in competition. There is so much business out there for all of us to be successful!
So instead of putting someone down, lift someone up. Not only will it make their day, it may make yours as well.
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