There are SO many other photographers out there that are TEENAGERS! They would have the most helpful advice! So I asked one of my favorite young photographers to weigh in on the topic! You all are in store for a real treat!! Please leave some love for sweet Caroline! :) We love this girl and we’re SO thankful for her guest post today!!! Enjoy! :
5 Ways to Be Taken Seriously as a Young Photographer
I started this journey at the ripe old age of fourteen when I took a crazy leap and photographed my first solo wedding (Yikes… I was just a baby, I know!), and a question people often ask me sounds something like “I hope you’re not offended by this, but… WHO would trust a teenager to photograph their wedding?!?” I just smile and nod my head, because honestly, I totally get their confusion — I think it sounds a little crazy myself!
While being a young photographer has been the most amazing adventure, it’s also brought a unique set of challenges as I’ve had to work to be taken seriously despite my age! I have realized over time there are many components to this, but today I’m so excited to share just a few with you that I’ve found most helpful in my own business!
1. Have confidence!
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just download self-confidence at the App Store?! I wish it were that easy! One of the biggest things I found helpful when it came to my interactions with my clients was to remember to be real and honest with them, instead of trying to fake my age or experience level. After all, when you’re fourteen without your driver’s license, you really can’t fool anyone for too long! ;)
No matter where you are in your business or how old you are, it’s easy to fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others — but I think that’s especially true when you’re just beginning. I sure did! I really had to fight against that insecurity and be intentional in remembering that each of my clients booked ME for a reason. They knew my experience level, yet they still trusted in my capabilities. If I wanted people to believe in me and view me as a true professional, I first had to believe in myself, right?! Confidence breeds confidence. :)
2. Highlight your passion.
When I first began this journey, I would try so hard to hide my youth. Looking back, it seems so silly because I realize now age doesn’t have to define professionalism! And I think that translates to anyone, whether you’re young or you’re just starting out. Passion and enthusiasm are contagious, and people are drawn to that!! When you have a fresh way about you and a spark in your eye it captures peoples’ attention and can become your greatest asset. Passion is energy, and showing a spirit of excitement, appreciation, and genuine LOVE for the journey you’re on gets people excited with you and makes them want to be a part of it!
3. Show maturity in your online presence.
So while I didn’t have years of experience under my belt, I still had to prove I was capable and trustworthy! Social media is a powerful tool to do this, because it gave me the opportunity to show credibility and maturity. Whether in business or on a personal level, social media can either HELP or HURT you… it all just depends on how you present yourself, even on personal social media platforms in your day to day life. :) It’s GREAT to share personal details about your life so people can connect with your journey, but it’s also important to remember to do so in a professional way. This takes balance and authenticity, but a great way to do so is simply by keeping things positive online! Committing to not criticize, condemn, or complain (as it says in Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People), AND limiting the #selfiesunday and #mancrushmonday instagram posts can all help people take you seriously and view you like the professional you are.
4. Set a positive tone!
As photographers, we have the opportunity to either be a thermostat or a thermometer. What does that mean?! Thermostats set the temperature in a room… thermometers conform to the temperature present. On a wedding day, any number of stressful situations can arise… the type that can really test you. By staying in control and keeping a positive demeanor even under pressure, you can set a positive tone much like a thermostat sets the temperature! True colors shine through MOST in situations that are less than ideal — these times are an incredible opportunity to allow your professionalism to leave a big impact!
5. Have a mentor.
I once heard it said “No one succeeds without the help of others” and I really believe it’s true, because I’ve seen it in my own life and business time and time again! I think back to sixteen year old me, who spent a big chunk of her savings to ride the Greyhound bus to Richmond for Katelyn’s Workshop Experience, and oh what a valuable investment that was!!
Some of my greatest growth as an artist and business owner has come from those moments when I’ve humbled myself and sought advice from peers and leaders in the industry. I really wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for the people like Katelyn who have believed in my dream somewhere along the way. Having someone in your life who has walked this road ahead of you, has more wisdom and experience to offer insight, and can both challenge AND encourage you as you build your business is priceless! The people who have filled mentor roles in my own life and business have made ALL the difference for me! I owe so much to them!!
Above all, no matter your age and no matter how long you’ve been in business, being “good” at what you do isn’t so much a point to be reached, as it is a process to be nourished. Each new stage of building a business is such an adventure, meant to be treasured and enjoyed! Strive to continually better yourself, and don’t forget to take time to stop and soak in each moment of this amazing, exciting journey ahead!!