Do Photographers Have Secrets + Should They Share?

Business

Dear Jasmine,
I discovered your blog last week and since then have spent a hefty amount of time sitting in the middle of it, looking at posts one by one. All this reading has led to several questions. It’s difficult knowing how to ask the right questions, and in thinking of these questions the past few days, I’ve realized how selfish my thought process is, but here goes.

1. How is it you seem so happy to share all your secrets?
I’m a peon in the world of photographers, yet, I feel defensive of my work and my methods and story because it feels so personal. Are you never afraid of telling/sharing/giving too much? You’ve worked so hard to brand yourself – make yourself stand out…Do you fear losing that if you tell too much?

2. Why do you seem happy about encouraging others to be photographers?
It’s such a flooded market. And it feels disheartening when every Tom, Dick and Jo bounce out of middle/high school and decide they want to be photographers. There are SO MANY already… It’s almost a fear that “with every new photographer on the market, I become less needed and my work less valuable.”

3.We’re not paying you to write the blog posts that are invaluable to us. Yet, you do it faithfully. Why?

Thanks for reading this. I know it’s a lot.
Sincerely,
Perilous Photographer

Dear Perilous Photographer,
Welcome to my blog, a small place on the web that has–somehow–become a way for me to connect with people who, like you, start as readers and morph into friends. And as any friend knows, I answer every question I can, so let me dive into yours…

1. How is it you seem so happy to share all your secrets?
Let’s get one thing straight: I don’t have secrets. In fact, there is little in the photo industry that can be considered a “secret”, so the minute you shift your perspective, you’ll see it too. Sure, we might have our own ways of running a business, but we all use a camera, edit our photos (that were captured using similar lenses) with virtually the same processing software, and often doubt our ability to produce work we love. We’re more alike than we’d like to admit.
Everything I’ve shared on my blog–everything–I’ve learned from others. When I first started my photo career, I felt incredibly overwhelmed and alone. I spent weeks online learning how to use a camera and as the months passed, I promised that–one day–I’d share freely what I learned because freely it was given to me. This blog and its posts dedicated to helping others is simply a effort to pay it forward.

2. Why do you seem happy about encouraging others to be photographers?
Two weeks ago I completed the Strength Finders test. I’d heard great things about this test, so I spent $20 to help me find my strengths as I move into a new venture in my career. What the test revealed, however, was something I knew, but was embarrassed to admit. My top two strengths were Achiever and Focus, and a byproduct of these traits is the desire for success…for myself, but it was equally as important for others. If I can help others be successful, I’m functioning at my greatest strength. I’ve been blogging nine years and it’s the first time I was able to embrace that others’ successes make me happy.

3. We’re not paying you to write the blog posts that are invaluable to us. Yet, you do it faithfully. Why?
As a child, my mother trained me to think differently. If we read at the library, we needed to organize the books before we left. If we used a playroom, we were expected to clean the toys. As life progressed, my mother’s expectations have remained tattooed to my heart.
I faithfully write blog posts because I’m supposed to leave the photo industry different than I found it. If I share, it encourages other photographers to share and when they share, it encourages others to follow suit. The more information available for photographers to get better, the industry, collectively, will get better. And that couldn’t make me prouder.

Perilous, I hope you see things in a new light today. Sharing does more for your business than secrets do. Really. As you follow your passion, help others along the way so they can celebrate your success with you.
Give Until You Can’t,
j*