Let Me Guess, You’re a Photographer, Too?

When I deleted my blog, a lot of great posts went with it. So, I’m re-posting items that I believe others might find useful. This post originally appeared on my blog on November 9, 2010.

The hot topic flying around in the photography biz is how everyone is a photographer.
And you know what, that’s quite alright with me 🙂

Sure, when I started, I thought gosh, yeah, everyone is a photographer, including me! How on earth will I compete? I found myself feeling overwhelmed when I mentioned the word photography to anyone and then they told me they were a photographer too. Say what???? For some time, I even stopped telling people I was a photographer and thought what on earth am I getting myself into?

In the beginning, I was very disheartened to find that other pro photographers were quick to brush me off or treat me rudely. They didn’t care to know I spent years learning how to use my equipment and about owning a business before slapping up a website and saying I’m a pro. Competition was all they saw. And ignoring me or sending rude emails was their way to make me go away. Sorry to break your heart, I’m not going anywhere.

I’m not used to this type of professionalism. As a seasoned librarian, I always find people in my field willing to offer help and support. Even when interviewing for librarian positions, the competitors sit, talk and share experiences! Maybe that’s why the library profession thrives even throughout the digital revolution. We share.

With all of this negative talk about everyone being a photographer, I decided this summer I’d take the road less traveled. There are some amazing people sharing their “secrets” to success who have inspired me (Zack Arias, Dane Sanders, Jasmine Star, Scott Bourne + more).

There are no secrets in photography, the technical details are the same:
Camera + Light = Photograph

Really, what sets any photographer apart is their individuality, personality and style.

What I’ve learned from organizing the NJSMUG is that there may be five photographers standing on the same spot, but they each capture the scene entirely different! Ah-mazing! Through this group, I’ve learned it’s not only okay to share information, it’s what I love to do!

For some time now, I’ve sat on the edge of my seat ready to share everything I’ve learned, but then I’ve let the resistance stop me. I worried about those other pros who might look down upon me or send me rude emails saying “what do you know”. I had this post sitting there, screaming to be published, for over three months. I even cut it back significantly because I was nervous for the response.

As this year draws to a close, I’m starting to love that there are thousands of people becoming photographers. They have a style all of their own and it’s amazingly different from mine. I too started inexpensive and learned as much as possible about myself, my business and my style. Now, I’m more confident in what I’m able to offer my clients and I have a direction for my business and art.

If there is anything I’ve learned in the past few years, it’s that life is all about relationships not things. Relate to others, learn from others and share with others. That’s the only way to grow. Next time you stress out and think, “everyone’s a photographer!” or “darn that Kate Nesi, who is she to share information?!” turn around and share something with the world. You’ll be thankful you did.

If I didn’t embrace the deeper need within myself to share with others, I would have never met a new awesome friend, Megan Gray. By closing yourself off to sharing, you are also closing yourself off from learning and growing. Sure, the thousands around you may seem daunting at first, but in the end you are only competing with yourself.

Photography is much like running. You don’t do it for the prize money, you do it because you love it. It’s an individual sport and you only compete against your best self. Every time I head out to shoot, I shoot to be better than the last time.

In the end, without the advances in technology and the ability to independently learn from others, I wouldn’t be a photographer either. So, thank you…

Thank you world for embracing my talents, pushing my limits and expanding my mind. Thank you world-wide photographers for sharing tips and insights into the life of a photographer. And thank you to the very few photographers who have embraced my entry into your world. You truly have been a blessing.