Amanda Kraft is a photographer and holistic health coaching living in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. She photographs high school seniors and recently created Stop Editing, Start Living to help creative professionals regain control of their businesses, so they can live the life they have always dreamed of. Most days she can be found coaching her clients, preparing gourmet dinner, relaxing with her husband or enjoying the open road in her jeep. Read part 1 of this series before continuing ahead.
Enough With The Head Trash
Mental head trash is more than likely what got you into this mess. You started to feel that your images weren’t good enough or investing a few more hours than necessary editing a particular design, photo or video to make it absolutely perfect, or maybe an unhappy client has left you jaded. Please know that you are not alone and those who you view as industry rockstars have fought the same battles along the way. This is when you have to dig deep and learn to recognize your self destructive ways. All of the head trash you allow in your mental space starts to manifest and instead of attracting the positives you start to attract the negatives. Ever notice how one bad thing leads to another, it is because you are investing more time on the negatives instead of focusing on the positives.
1) Stop Comparing Yourself – Jealously is an ugly monster and we often look for fault in others successes. In our minds we try to come up with reasons our competitors or industry rockstars have it easier than we do: we think of all the “easy” ways they might have become successful, claiming that they are trust fund babies, their husband must make a lot of money, maybe they won the lottery or have a huge inheritance. We have all fallen victim to this. Personally, this happened to me years ago when I would compare the number of bookings with my circle of friends. It felt like we were in a competition to see how many bookings we could get. It didn’t matter if the client was a good fit, we wanted to have more than the other person. If that wasn’t the stupidest thing I had ever done. I completely took myself, my brand and lifestyle out of the mix and purely did work that didn’t make me happy. That is the beauty of what we do, we can choose when we photograph, who we photograph and why we photograph. Another wise line told to me by a photographer friend – “there is the right photographer for every bride, and the right bride for every photographer.” Stop comparing everyone else and start comparing your business to the life you want to live.
2) Go After The Work That Inspires You – I can’t begin to tell you how freeing it has been removing weddings from my business and turning my attention to high school senior portraits. What is the point of doing work that doesn’t make you happy? You’ll argue and tell me that you HAD to take on a booking or client that you weren’t a fit for because of the money and now you are dealing with an unhappy client. Is it the client at fault or are you at fault for not declining the booking? If you have been shooting, designing, or programing for a while you will know what elements inspire you about a project. Maybe it is the location, the connection with the client and hopefully the client is not even flinching on the rates you are worth. Find three key elements that every project needs to have and then it will be a no-brainer that the gig is the perfect match for you and your business. I call this the booking trifecta.
3) The Power Of NO – When my business was still in it’s infancy, I never used the word “NO”. I would cave to my clients requests for fear that they would ‘hate” me if I didn’t give into their request. My clients didn’t hate me, I hated me. The moment that I began to push back and set boundaries with my clients the relationship between us changed and for the better. We all have an understanding of each others expectations. If you are uncomfortable with saying “No” then say “Yes”, and attach a price to the request to make it worth it for you.
4) “Surround yourself with people who will lift you higher” – a great quote by Orpah and in our industry there is so much truth to this. If you find yourself surrounded by a lot of negative nellies, it is time to remove yourself from the toxic black hole you are being sucked into. Same goes for your family and non-photography friends – if the relationships you are investing time are negative, or make you feel badly about yourself and your work than it is time to walk away. Why do you think you keep seeing the same successful, go getters together all of the time, because they are aligning themselves with like minded people who lift them higher.