Last week, I spent nearly three days at the Inspire Conference, a gathering for photographers of all kinds to come together, talk about their photography businesses, talk about photos, and get inspired by each other. I took about 10 pages of notes, edited dozens of images, had a 1 1/2 hour meeting with a mentor, came up with tons of new ideas for branding and marketing my work, and thought about the value I bring to my clients. And that’s just a small sampling of what we accomplished in 3 days!
In one of my favorite exercises, we were asked to write down three words that: a) describe our website b) describe our ideal client and c) describe what our images look like. I hemmed and hawed over words like honest, artistic, approachable, authentic, informative, political, smart, and natural. All of these words describe my photography business, my work, my style, and my clients. But in the end, I can only choose three…
Honest has got to be one of them. Honest means fair, sincere, genuine, trustworthy, and honorable. In the most simple terms, my wedding photography and event photography is documentary in nature, and the core of my work is telling stories of what is happening in front of me. I document events, venues, people, and moments by being honest, open, and ready. But I also really like the word “Honest” because I pride myself on being honest and true to myself, my clients, my business, and my photography.
Artistic has got to be one, too, because I am an artist after all! When you hire a professional photographer, you are hiring their experience, their eye, their vision, their style. If I can’t use a word like artistic or something similar to describe my work, then something is wrong!
Authentic. On one hand, authentic is really similar to honest. But then again, I am honest and I am authentic, so I want to include both. The definition of authentic that I like the best is from Merriam-Webster: “true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character.” And so while it is similar to honesty, it’s specific in that it’s being honest with yourself. I think it describes me, my approach to my photography business, my goal with photography, and many of my clients.
I assume these words will change over time, but these are the ones I am settling on for now and will strive to meet in the future. Thanks to the Inspire Conference for truly inspiring me to ask myself some great questions and hopefully grow to serve even more clients with even better and more beautiful photographs.