Ah, summer. It's almost gone and the new school year is rapidly approaching (for which I am not yet ready). Did you know I'm also a Substitute Teacher? Yup. Kids all over NYC have experienced the "Bibula Stare", which is most powerful and effective.
I say "ah, summer" as if it were my favorite time of year. It isn't. Between the sweating and that smell only a NYer would recognize (a combo of rotting garbage, 8.5 million people's sweat, fumes, etc.) However, this summer has been strangely (and thankfully) super cool, minus a few gross days). That's climate change for ya. I did enjoy it, as not being grumpy about being sweaty all the time (one of my most hated things to be) did give me a chance to enjoy the quiet and actually THINK. I like to think. I like to think deeply about deep things. It's just me. Naturally I thought deeply about photography, the nature of it today, all the other people out there trying to make a photo business work, and most importantly, what direction I want to take mine in. If you've ever taken a tour through the most popular photographers' FB pages, you get a good idea of where trends are and what people are looking for. Don't get me wrong, you do have to sort of go with the flow and do some of that stuff, but there are a few special photographers whose work and attitude I really admire above all others. Their work and styles aside, I am genuinely impressed with their ability to keep a straight head and stay true to themselves. I am certain this took years of practice. If I ever met either of them in person, I do think that would be on my Top 3 list of things to compliment them on. I really want to give them credit. Here's why: they are ALWAYS Facebook-neutral, are consistent in their work and attitudes about work, they continually strive (and succeed) in improving, growing, and remaining professional. Notice how I didn't mention anything about their actual photos. Their work happens to be great, yes, but this isn't about the actual photos or their style of shooting.
Now, I'm not a bragger (really), but I actually already do a lot of what they do, just on a smaller and less known scale (workin' on it!). I think as a photographer who is public and perceived by others in a manner you know not, since you can't get into people's heads [yet], it's a good idea to look outward and inward. Am I setting an example for myself and others? Who I hire me? Is my work consistent? Do my clients feel safe? You could make a very long list of questions like these, but it all comes down to one thing: being the best you that you can be. I admit that this summer I did not accomplish everything I wanted to. Usually I succeed when I set a goal, as I always make them reasonable but challenging. I had some health issues this summer that got in the way, but I'll be honest: part of me isn't ok with that reason/excuse, though it is valid. So, back to getting things done! Let's TALK about that! I would love to hear other people's goals, whether personal or professional, and get a gab going! You know where to find me. See you out there, internet people (t
Facebook can be fickle. Or rather, its fans can be. You know what I'm talking about you if you have a business page. I'm the last person to complain about changes on FB. I mean, it's free. Seriously. I am very appreciative of having a place to connect to people and show off my photos from time to time and I could care less about changes they make. Today I'm going to talk a little bit about fans.
Numbers. What do they mean? If you have a lot of "likes" does that mean people actually
genuinely appreciate your work? Hmm, hard to tell. Have you ever heard of those ladders where you "like" a bunch of pages and people "like" yours back? When I first opened my page and saw them, I truly didn't know better and participated in a few. Of course, honest me only "liked" pages I actually liked, expecting the same. Boy, was I mistaken. Turns out that these fickle fans, as I like to call them, are there solely to gain "likes" so that they can look like they're the ones doing well! You can imagine my dismay at such a revelation. So if a person has a low fan count, does that mean they're new? They stink? What? If a person has a crazy number of fans, does that mean they're "successful"? It's so hard to tell, which is why I suggest contacting the photographer if you're interested in booking. Most photographers will gladly open up and start gabbing about what they shoot, where they like to go, and all that. You'll soon discover if this person is legit, or they have puffed up their page with phony "likes".
I take my "likes" very seriously and only support people and businesses I actually like and want to support. Sure, I know everyone is not like me, but I do hold myself to a very high standard as a woman, photographer, and just human being trying to make something for myself.
So often on Facebook I see a photographer justly complaining about being writing negative comments or stealing a photo. I don't even have words for that. I can only imagine their hurt. What I can imagine is how it feels to try very hard and feel the sting of not being appreciated for hard work. This is a seriously tough age to be a photographer, what with pretty much everyone owning some version of a camera.
I won't discuss the frustrations of free marketing on Facebook, or any other business-related woes that so many and yet so few will understand. After all, if you're not in the business, what good will it do to read someone's complaints? I will say that your support means everything to me. I think if you can give a kind word, or tell a friend about a page (even if it's not mine), or tell people about your shoot, then I will no longer consider this fickle Facebook fan a problem.
I love photography more than I can say. I know I will be happy photographing families my entire life, but a word out there to anyone who is reading, as you may know someone guilty of this silliness. Behind every page, every website, every photo, there is a real person trying to make a business work in an extremely difficult economic climate. We should be encouraging each other, not bringing each other down. Support people and businesses your admire and respect!
I cannot recall who said it, but I try to live by these words: say what you mean, and mean what you say. If we all did that, perhaps Facebook and the real world would be a whole lot happier.
I hope this heavy photo/business talk finds you well on this gray Saturday morning (perfect for shooting, I might add). Have a lovely weekend, friends!
Hi there! It's Susan, Photographer and Owner of SBP.