So were you popular or unpopular in school? I wasn’t particularly good looking (my skin was out of control) or cool, but I was one of those people who was friends with everyone. As I grew older going from high school, to college and finally University I noticed that the lines started to blur between social groups. There was no longer ‘cool kids’ and ‘uncool kids’, people were just people. Like we were told by our parents “it doesn’t matter how popular you were in school, once you leave no one cares”. Parents you were correct, but what you neglected to tell us was the ‘in-crowd’ rules still apply as an adult…only now it’s a new group of cool kids.
I must have been hiding under a rock for the last few years, but until 2011 I had no idea these groups existed. I was just taking photographs, trying to build up my business and not really paying attention to the photographic industry. But once I met a few people it was made very clear to me that I should not have been ignoring my peers in the industry. So I began attending a few social gatherings, following photographers on twitter and meeting people for coffee. Very quickly I realised there was a whole photographic world out there that I had no idea existed….a world where high school rules still applied.
I learned that there are still the cool kids, but these people are no longer chosen to be popular because of good looks (though this doesn’t hurt) or athletic prowess. Instead by how successful their business is or appears to be, or even more importantly which photographers call them friend (keep in mind this may only be on Facebook). Unfortunately along with popularity comes the wannabes, the photographers who put more energy into becoming cool than into their businesses. Lastly there is the out crowd. These people aren’t noticed by the ‘photo cool kids’ for a couple of different reasons. Firstly because they are more than likely not successful enough yet and secondly because they are more focused on making their clients happy rather than other photographers. I’m pretty sure most industries have these issues, because it’s human nature to want people to like you.
To sum up I think having a good support system of other photographers around you is important. But make sure you put your energy into your clients liking you, what good is having 1000 photographers ‘like’ your Facebook page when you’re only booking 3 shoots a year? Instead of commenting on every blog post and trying to push your way into every Twitter conversation, write your own blog posts and tweet people who care about you. You don’t have to kiss up to photographers who don’t know who you are….you’re worth way more than that.
A peek into next week.