When I started out in photography, I was convinced that I would be a wedding photographer for all time and eternity. It's what fueled me. It's what got me excited. I loved that couples were entering into marriage, committing their lives to each other forever.
It was awesome.
Until it wasn't for me anymore.
Was I just in a funk? Did I just need some new inspiration? What on earth was happening?
For me, it wasn't just a phase. I wasn't in just some funk. I was ready for a change.
I was tired of giving up my weekends and seeing my husband merely in passing. I felt like things weren't clicking for me and weddings anymore.
And you know the awesome thing about running your own business? You're in charge and you can make changes!
1. Your work doesn't excite you anymore. For me, I thought that weddings were going to be my thing. I already knew that I didn't like photographing small children, and I had dabbled in boudoir, but that wasn't my niche, either. At some point, weddings didn't excite me anymore. It wasn't my clients. It wasn't their weddings. It was me. I just wasn't feeling it anymore.
2. You dread how many hours your next job is going to be. The thought of an eight hour wedding started to sound so undesirable to me. I was giving up my Saturdays (when my husband was only off on weekends) and it just didn't feel fun anymore. I remember there was a time I was second shooting. For a 12 hour wedding. I remember I wasn't sure how I was going to get through it. The thought of being on my feet for twelve hours just sounded awful.
3. The idea of photographing your genre subject zaps the life out of you. Instead of being fun and exciting, weddings became a chore, a task, a requirement. That's a feeling you never want to give your clients. You never want to make them feel like you don't want to be there. But trust me, it's hard to do something you don't want to do, and look like you're having a great time doing it. It's like lying to yourself.
4. You feel discouraged. I wasn't performing at the level I expected. I wasn't booking the jobs I wanted. I was wondering if any of this was ever going to work out. I was feeling really discouraged in my work. I was wondering if other photographers were struggling as much as I was. And with the way that social media works, it looks like everyone else is booking weddings out the wazoo and everyone else is super awesome except yourself.
5. You feel stuck. I knew that I wanted to be a photographer. I needed to find something that was going to work for me. But if I'm being honest, I felt totally stuck. Weddings weren't doing it for me any more, so I looked into specializing into a subset of the market. Even when I did that, there was something that didn't sit right with me. I still felt stuck. I didn't want to give up the income that weddings could bring me, but I also knew that weddings were not a long term strategy for me.
6. You find yourself being inspired by other types of photography and thinking that it seems way more fun than what you're doing. Sometimes you just get in a funk. Maybe it's the slow season. Maybe it's getting ready for taxes. Maybe it's too much time on Pinterest. Whatever it is, it happens. I know it happened to me. I found myself inspired by editorial photography and food photography and commercial photography. And not in the way that you get inspired with the posing to apply it to your own genre. But in the way that I thought, “Man, I wish I was doing that.” It's how I stumbled into the idea of photographing high school seniors.
Set up a styled shoot.
Go photograph something/someone that's totally different from what you usually do.
Attend an inspiring workshop.
Grab coffee with a fellow photographer friend.
Then maybe it's time to switch your niche. I'll talking about that in my next post in this series.
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