Recently, I've been struggling with my work, as all artists do from time to time. I go through phases of feeling like I'm not good enough, or that my work will never look like X Photographer, or that being a business owner just SUCKS and I should go back to a 9 to 5. But before you go thinking this is going to be a "Poor Me Post", it's not. Because here's the thing: All of those things could be true. I'm not as good as I will be tomorrow because I'm going to keep learning and practicing my craft every day. I'll never have work that looks exactly like X Photographer because I don't WANT my work to look exactly like someone else's. And lastly, being a business owner DOES suck sometimes but that doesn't mean that I need to go back to a 9 to 5, it just means that I need a little bit of help. And that is where the inspiration for this post came from.
A few months ago, I was introduced to The Rising Tide Society, named on the belief that a rising tide raises all ships. What The Rising Tide Society believes is that we creatives should be helping and supporting each other instead of putting each other down and being the antithesis of helpful when it comes to our competition. I am so incredibly lucky to have found a pretty amazing group of people locally who are living this ideology. We refer our clients to each other, if we're unavailable. We help each other with ideas for sessions. We help each other with projects. We are friends first, not competition first. Starting a one-person business and working out of your home can be really isolating, so finding a community is VITAL.
I will regularly refer clients out to other photographers for weddings or engagements or anything else that isn't what I do. But I'll also give potential clients names of people who shoot exactly what I do, just not in the same way. What I do isn't for everyone, and that's okay. Because I want clients to hire photographers because they LOVE their work. I want clients to hire me because they've looked at my work and want those to be THEIR faces or THEIR kids in those shots. I want clients to L-O-V-E their images, no matter who took them because photographs are THAT important to me. So, I will continue to refer potential clients to other photographers if I'm not what they want or what they need because I know that they will refer others to me if/when the time comes. It's the greatest feeling to have formed friendships born out of a passion for photography. It's easy to get stuck in a creative rut and sometimes having a community is just what you need to pull you back up, dust you off and encourage you to keep going.
I'm so happy to have found this community and I'm so appreciative of every single one of you.