For photographers: Being the Sun vs Being the moon

For photographers: Being the Sun vs Being the moon

“Everyone wants to be the sun to lighten up everyones life, but why not be the moon, to brighten in the darkest hour”

It’s been a funny few weeks in the wedding industry. Well in the world in fact. Between helping couples reschedule their weddings and worrying about my business, i’ve had a lot of time to think. The realisation that everything we have worked for, could come crashing down around us and end, just like that, has been an un-welcomed eye opener. We’ve spent the last decade building a business that was always more than a business to us. It was our passion and our outlet. Our creative space and our home. Our income. We willingly allowed it to become our everything and form part of our collective identity. When you love what you do as much as we have over the years, it seemed like a natural progression.

Time to reflect

In moments of reflection I’ve found myself questioning and re-evaluating everything. If we make it through all this as a business, where do we want to go from here? Where can we go? Who are we? Do we just go back to where we were before and try to build it all back up again? Our ethos and values have always been clear, but this situation has changed us. We’ve been forced to realise the fragility of everything we’ve built. And that’s hard. After a decade of investing everything we had financially and emotionally, we thought we’d built something solid. As much as there are no certainties in life, or in business, like many others, we didn’t expect to find ourselves here.

I came across the quote above earlier this week and it struck a cord with me. It felt very familiar and very fitting for my industry. There are many of us who dream about all the things we want to achieve in our business. Dream about the ways we can shine. The awards we lust after, the following we may accumulate, the recognition from our peers. Those of us who want to be known and put ourselves out there. The “rockstars”. The people who enjoy features and an audience in addition to happy clients. And there are those who that doesn’t appeal to. There are lots of photographers who don’t want to be a rockstar or do insta live Q&As. For some, a happy couple is the first, last and only goal.

Finding your middle

Of course that’s not to suggest that anyone who has goals beyond a happy client is looking to become an industry figurehead. And similarly it’s not to suggest that anyone who rejects those things lacks ambition. I think the truth would be that the vast majority of us lie somewhere in the middle. Partly due to the necessity of being present on social media these days and the expectation of what that involves. The natural consequence being that you tend to attract followers from within your own profession.

The fact remains however that some of us are just more comfortable when we’re helping others shine and putting them in the spotlight. It’s the age old “it’s better to give than to receive.” This is something i’ve given a lot of thought to in the moments of worry and sadness as referenced above. Where do we want to take our business if we manage to make it through and who do we want to be?

Do we want to put ourselves out there more and present ourselves as a “brand”? Do we want an audience and to solidify our place in the industry by building a foundation of followers from our field? Would we like to focus more on connecting with other photographers and sell to them for example, as mentors and educators and as experienced voices? Do we want to climb the metaphorical ladder to reach the heady heights of the sun and show the world what we can do?

Being the Sun Vs being the Moon.

After some soul searching, I have decided that I am the Moon. It’s just who we are.

As much as it’s great to be able to celebrate being seen, ultimately a business thrives or fails due to client support- under normal circumstances at least. Being respected or admired by your peers is humbling, but they are so rarely the ones paying your bills. They are so rarely the ones investing in your business. You are not a wedding photographer without the weddings. And all we ever really set out to be is wedding photographers because that’s where our heart lie.

Every award we have won and every feature we’ve had until now doesn’t even come close to the joy of a positive and heartfelt review from a couple or someone close to them. Them being happy makes us happy and motivates us to want to do and be better. I want to be there for the people who believed in us enough to invest their hard earned money with us. I want to see their smiles and their pride when we share their images. Especially those couples who are going through the sadness of having to cancel or postpone their weddings right now.

I am the moon and i’m pretty sure that’s what I was always meant to be.

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