Today I wanted to open up some conversation about the giant ego’s running around in our industry. This is mainly for other professionals in the wedding industry but to have brides and grooms garner a deeper understanding of this poison is something I highly value also. I want to talk about the chase for fame, the mindset of being better than everyone else and NARCISSISM AND HOW EASY IT IS TO GET DISTRACTED FROM THE MAIN GOAL. Before I get into this though I want to get it out there that I have a very healthy organic following on Instagram, always have people swell my brain, book between 30-40 weddings a year and am also confident that my works are pretty rad. I’m pretty damn humble though and firmly believe the connection with the character you have with clients is numero uno. The difference between narcissism and confidence is a fine line that often people cross and sometimes just jump the pond altogether.
See, in our business our clients are #1 and then we are #2, at least this is how it should be right? In any service industry this is the case, but in ours…..well lets just say there is a lot of ego feeding, short cutting and mis-prioritization. I won’t front, money is good for us in this profession. We have to kick a lot of ass to get it and the nights are very long after those weddings have passed ( well for those of us who don’t slap a quick preset on everything and deliver…you know who you are. ). So it’s not like we’re making out like bandits, we actually work WAY more hours then what brides and grooms think and have to cover all of the overhead. My point is, yes we do need to do what it takes to keep our businesses growing and get that money. The problem arises when priorities become 1. money 2. self 3. client. I’m a HUGE believer that if you don’t actually love weddings then you need to find a different career. So if you’re in this just for that payday, maybe you should learn a different path like families, commercial, product etc etc…I’m kinda getting to the point of why I’m even writing this so bare with me.
Ego feeding and just having a big ass head about things in general is just not good. Not for you, not for me, no one. Now do these people have their ideal clients? Sure, and these are not my ideal clients. It’s fed though through that chase for fame. We all want to be like Jordan, Kylie, Yngwie Malmsteen hahaha you get the picture. People in general want what these people have. You can try to argue against it but if it were not true than these people wouldn’t be looked upon as they are. That’s why there are SO many guys trying to ball like Jordan, so many girls who want to be a Kardashian and others who try to rip a guitar like Yngwie. What we all have to remember is that we are not them. We are completely different humans trying to carve out our own legacy for our families. In doing so though that fine line needs to be walked. It is possible to kick a holy hell amount of ass and still be approachable, empathetic and nurturing to the industry. I just wish more saw it this way.
When your ego exceeds your capacity for empathy then you become a poison. Our main goal is to rock and capture these incredible celebrations with strangers. Strangers who over the course of time become our friends and family. When you’re an asshole you’re completely ruining the expectations of other professionals, I don’t care how amazing your work is. We put each other on pedestals and feed the angry monster, we live by favoritisms or demand kick backs, we simply don’t like xyz for reasons abc. You have to stop this, and by ” have to stop this ” what I really mean is knock that shit off. Stop the stylized short-cutting, get your priorities together and instead of thinking you’re the greatest gift to photography start thinking about the greatest gift you can give to those who hire you.
When we put our best interests before our clients you are essentially telling them they don’t matter. When you force that epic mountain shot or misunderstand their wants you are in effect ruining their day. Balance that line to show them they made the right choice while also being confident enough to rock in any location you’re put in. Thankfully over the last few years venues have opened their eyes to see if they want to good shots to market they need to cater to the photographers eye so it has somewhat been less and less that we’re put in a cardboard box and tried to make it a million dollars. BUT, when that does happen be confident in your experience that you can make that box a butterfly. Don’t belittle a client because their venue isn’t some extravagant slice of heaven, they could be the raddest of couples but instead you turn them away because boo hoo they’re not models and you can’t market it. Get out of the industry if that’s the mindset. Take that big head and get it popped in the fashion industry if you want to only work with gorgeous couples.
So how can something so beautiful become so broken? That’s a question with a hundred moving parts but there’s no doubt in my mind that you can somewhat agree with the sentiment. In my opinion it boils down to the FABULOUS cliques, people who think their gear defines them and then those who fake their confidence in hopes to attract clients who hold that above all else. Not too long ago I found myself in a conversation with a feminist ( the hard core kind ) and I was attacked because I generalized our industry and said basically that our entire industry is catered to the female and not the male ( she didn’t like the fact that a male was generalizing a female driven industry…even though it’s fact ). It’s true though, I’ll even go out on a limb and say it’s logical fact. 97% of my leads are female and 3% male. Go to every wedding website and it’s super pretty with neutral color pallets. It’s beautiful. What we vendors create is beauty. We strive to live in that environment. What we lose focus of though is who we are doing it for, we need to be doing it for our clients and THEN ourselves…not the other way around.
When you are a narcissist you lose scope of the bigger story at play, you know…the one around you. You start to disregard moments and focus solely on what will get you another notch in the print comp belt, your eye will sway away from grandparents playing with grandchildren and in essence you’ll forget how to tell a story with pictures.
There’s an old saying ” it’s easy to make the wrong decision but very hard to make the correct decision “. It’s too true. In general life and specific profession, we all want to be on top right this second. The ugliness of instant gratification, the dissipation of patience it’s all there and there’s no stopping it no matter how much we fight it. What we can do though is everyday learn our craft better, tell more stories and be super fucking cool to each other. Drop the style grudges, be humble and have fun with what you do. Your clients will appreciate as well as everyone else.
While you’re here feel free to check out some of the other incredible weddings I’ve been a part of as well as advice you’ll need when debating that First Look!
I want to tell YOUR story and be you’re PASADENA WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER! Chat with me today to see if your date is still available!