Better Together

Who do you think are life’s greatest teachers?

In a way it’s pretty obvious to think of all the things we can learn from the more experienced people in our industry, but today I’d like to encourage you to think about what you can learn from your peers… or even people will much less experience than you.

Nature, nurture, experience… we are a mash up of all our external influences, and because of this every single person on this planet has a different way of viewing the world. A more practiced photographer/blogger/stationer/designer might have industry knowledge that they can pass onto you, but someone unfamiliar with the norms of an industry will undoubtedly be able to offer a completely different perspective on the same situation.

Passion and enthustaiam are contagious so don’t ever disregard an inexperienced professionals’ opinions due to lack of experience. Sure, you might not want to take their ideas as gospel, but don’t dispel what their untrained eye might pick up. It’s all very easy to become bogged down with ‘the way things are’ when you’ve been doing something for a long time.

For example, 5 years ago 99.9% of wedding dresses on the racks of bridal boutiques were strapless. Now I don’t claim to know anything about how this side of the wedding industry works, but from my own experience as a bride-to-be looking for a wedding dress in 2007, the choice was somewhat limited. My first bridal boutique experience culminated in me leaving the store in tears as the shop owner told me “But that’s what wedding dresses are dear” when I voiced my distaste towards the strapless blancmanges on offer. However between then and now a whole host of new styles have emerged. So what happened? If I was to hazard a guess I would have to say that I bet it wasn’t the more experienced designers that suddenly did a 360 and thought “Oooh you know what? Not everyone looks good in strapless, let’s do something different!” I can all but guarantee that it would have been the newer, less experienced but more innovative designers who had the fresh design ideas.

In a similar vein, one of my favourite parts of any workshop is the Q&A session and the ‘down time’ after the official teaching wraps up. It is often the things that are brought up in after hours discussions that make me question my own opinions and look at things in a new light. I may often be the most experienced person in the room, but I’m certainly not always the most insightful. And without fail I always leave a workshop environment having learnt something new – even if it’s been me doing the teaching!

So what do I want you to think about this week? Well maybe there’s someone newer in the industry that you haven’t given the time of day yet? Maybe if you’re honest with yourself you’ve become lackluster and apathetic about learning new things or progressing your business or designs. The crazy Summer wedding season is coming to a close so let’s use this time to take stock of where our businesses are, and to think about how we can grow into even better versions of ourselves for next year. Question the things that you’ve done. Allow yourself a moment to revel in your achievements but then let’s move forward and learn to be better… together.

8 comments

  1. Being new in the wedding industry as a tiny hand-made business, I am constantly disappointed by how quickly my products are overwhelmed in search results by someone who has 100’s of items listed (Etsy, Pinterest) – and advertising costs for a mom & pop shop? Oh my.

    But that just means getting creative and sometimes that leads you to think of the untried.

  2. Lovely post Kat, it really is the essence of how our business was born as we really are better together :-)

    I struggled as a product photographer for many years and am the sort of person who used to really take the negatives in the job to heart. I very nearly ended up not sharing much of my work through fear that I would get criticised and the thought of spending time with more ‘experienced’ photographers terrified me.

    I think without the encouragement of my partner Andrea and the power of the internet I probably would have totally given up back then.

    However I stuck with it and when my confidence grew I met some really nice like-minded people and clients.

    Since meeting Andrea in 2008 my whole perspective in photography and business has changed. I can share my issues and frustrations as well as my triumphs and beautiful images. Her perspectives in the beginning as a relative newbie helped re-shape how I thought about photography and inspired me to not only break the rules but step outside my comfort zone. Visa-Versa my experience has helped her gain technical knowledge without dampening her creativity.

    We had such a positive influence on each other we went in to business together with our shared passions and dreams.

    You can learn so much from likeminded passionate people. If however you meet people that are ‘experienced’ in their field but not willing to learn from anyone (even newbies) then forget them! The moment they stop learning is the moment they stopped caring.

    Share your experience and learn from others, you never know who you might meet :-)

  3. Great post ~ and nice pair of legs in the top shot too!! The support I have received my my industry peers, through the photography farm etc .. has been amazing and keeps me going on days I struggle with confidence, I am constantly inspired and supported by many other photographers in this industry and its defiantly better together! Thanks Lisa and Kat x

  4. Just great! I personally would rather be busy! I need to order my life more and I feel I will be referring back to this fab article. Having peers and friends in the industry keeps me striving to be my best in a funny sort of way!

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