Tag Archives: dear kat

How To Deal With People Who Want to ‘Pick Your Brain’

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Dear Kat
I understand the irony of my emailing you about this, but I need your help! I’m a wedding photographer and my business is going pretty well. I’ve been shooting full time for two years now and I’m really proud of how much I’ve achieved. It’s taken a lot of work, but it’s been worth it!

My problem is, I’m now starting to get a lot of emails or private Facebook messages from friends and strangers asking if they can ‘pick my brain’. Sometimes they fire questions at me, but most of the time they’re asking if we can meet for coffee or if they can come and see how I work at a wedding!

While I’m honoured that people think I’m worthy of asking advice, I can’t help but feel annoyed about it. I’ve worked my BUTT off for the past two years to get to where I am, and these people seem to want me to give them all the answers for free! Don’t they realise there’s no quick answer and that hard work and time is really what it takes? You must get a lot of this too so I was just wondering if you had any advice on how I should deal with it?

When you reach a certain level of success, it’s inevitable that people will start to come out of the woodwork and innocently ask you for advice. Yes, it can be irritating, but the fact that this is happening is actually an amazing opportunity for your own business to grow.

Don’t feel bad about saying no!

First off, you should not feel bad for saying no. I say no to people everyday and I never feel guilty about it! You are only one little person and you can’t help everyone. You shouldn’t ever feel burdened by other people’s problems just because they asked you about them.

“Brain picking” meetings are particularly exhausting because they usually don’t have a specific goal. A lot of the time you’ll be trying to figure out exactly what the other person actually wants from you. To me, there is nothing worse than vaguely asking for advice. Let’s drop the foreplay and get to the point already! Does that sound harsh and mean? Maybe a little, but I’m a busy girl, I ain’t got time for fannying around!

If someone is asking to “pick your brain” then the implication is usually that they don’t really know what they want or need, they’re just hoping that you can give them all the answers. I personally avoid these kinds of meetings like the plague.

However I do think that you should always reply to each and every message you get, even if it is to say that you can’t help them. People will generally appreciate that you’ve taken the time to send them a note back, and it shouldn’t take you very long if you create some templates.

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How to Get Started in the Wedding Industry

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I got an email last week from a reader who wanted advice on how to get started in the wedding industry. “For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be part of the wedding biz”, she wrote, “But where do I begin? I am pretty crafty and I just love all aspects of weddings. I must spend most of my waking hours sifting through your website, Etsy and Pinterest. I’ve saved thousands of pictures of bouquets, décor of every theme, you name it. I want so desperately to be a part of it, I just don’t know where to start.”

This is quite a common conundrum for people starting out on their career path. They might have a vague idea about what industry they want to go into (fashion, weddings, music…) but not a clue about where to begin.

As surprising as it might be, we all have to start in the same place – right at the beginning. While you may want to simply wake up one day with a fabulous career, and knowing exactly what you want to do for the rest of your life, in reality that just doesn’t happen. What you really need to do is find a way into the industry you want to work in. You might start as someone’s assistant, by doing admin and filing in an office or by selling your homemade treasures on Etsy.

You have to put yourself in a position where you’re exposed to the things that will eventually influence your career path. It’s not going to land on your lap if you’re not out there hustling for it, and you’re certainly not going to get there by sitting on the internet creating elaborate Pinterest boards all day.

The likelihood is that it won’t be all you’ve dreamed of in the beginning. Foot-in-the-door jobs are hard work, unglamorous and probably even a little boring. Your boss might be horrible, your tasks monotonous, the hours long and the pay crappy. But you have to do these jobs before you can work your way up to where you really want to be.

Before Rock n Roll Bride I worked in television. For years I did runner and assistant jobs, my first of which earned my a whopping £10,000 a year. However, when I left the industry I was producing three hours of live television a day, managing a team of eight and earning significantly more. I would have never have got there without doing the hard work, shit pay jobs first.

So don’t worry if you don’t fall in love with your career right away. No-one ever loves their entry level job, what matters is that you’re in the right industry.

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Life Doesn’t Wait For You To ‘Get Thin’. Life Is Happening Right Now.

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Kerry Murray

Dear Kat
So, this cuts pretty close to the bone. I’m off to New York with my husband this Autumn and I was thinking about hiring a photographer for a shoot. I was thinking this earlier in the year, when I was also planning on dropping a couple of stone, and needless to say with a particularly stressful wedding season (I’m a wedding photographer myself) and one thing or another its almost time for the trip and I have not lost a pound.

My husband and I haven’t spoken about the prospect of a shoot for a while, and I’d been thinking I wouldn’t bother. But today I was photographing a slightly larger lady, and looking back at the images I was thinking, she looks so happy and so in love, and what beautiful eyes she has. Then I thought, why can’t I see myself that way in photos, rather than seeing chin/ tummy/ arms?

I know I’ll most likely not like myself in the images, which makes me think it would be a waste of time and money, but at the same time I do want the photos to record me and my husband in the city.

Do you or any of your readers feel the same about themselves in photos, and if so how do you tackle it? Should I just man up and realise I’ll never be a size 10? And, should I have photos or not? You’re in front of the camera a fair amount, any advice on being photographed?

Hey babe, first off… you are beautiful… and just in case you didn’t hear me the first time listen to me again: YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL.

But I hear you, and I feel the same way 99% of the time. I constantly compare myself to my slimmer friends, and often catch myself thinking things like “If only I could lose a stone, I’d feel so much better”.

Deep down I know this isn’t true. That the shape and size of our bodies is no indication to how happy we are, how talented we might be, or how much we’re loved. It doesn’t mean squat, but it is still a constant battle for a lot of us. I’m always having to check myself when these feelings start to creep in. So I completely understand how you feel.

Here’s the thing though, photographs are not about being perfect. They’re about communicating a feeling, and freeze-framing a moment in our lives. It’s so important.

While at my parents’ house a few weeks ago my mum brought out all the old photo albums with photos of us all inside. Looking back and seeing those pictures of our whole family together was amazing. We laughed at my mother’s giant hair, our questionable fashion choices, and the fact that my dad looked about 12 when I was born. My grandparents looked young, happy, and full of life. It was amazing. It didn’t once cross my mind to focus on anybody’s ‘flaws’, I was too busy hearing the stories about trips I don’t remember, and reminiscing about how special those times were.

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I Ruined My Friend’s Wedding

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Kate Moss for Vogue, April 2012

Dear Kat
I fucked up (to put it mildly!) and I need your help… advice… anything. I’m an aspiring wedding planner. I’m just out of university and when a friend asked me to help her plan her wedding I was thrilled, honoured and terrified all at the same time. I’ve always wanted to go into events and even though I’ve never planned anything as big as a wedding (and I told my friend this) I was super excited to be involved.

I worked my arse off in the run up and on the day, and I feel like I did a pretty good job considering it was my first go. BUT there were some things that didn’t go perfectly and now my friend is pissed and blaming me. For example the flowers were delivered late, the cake started to sag before it was cut and she hated the hair and make up artist I booked (even though she agreed to her, and had a trial, beforehand).

I appreciate her feedback on how I could have done things differently. After all this was my first wedding and I know I have a LOT to learn. But I can’t help but be massively crushed. Not only is my friendship effectively ruined but I feel like I never want to try and plan another wedding again!

I don’t know if you can help me or if you can say anything to really help me feel better, but do you happen to have any advice on how to deal with this? We all have to start somewhere, right?
Sarah Jane

Aww Sarah Jane I am so sorry this was your first planning experience. Being involved in someone’s wedding is a huge deal and a massive amount of pressure. From reading your email I am convinced that you did the very best you could despite your inexperience.

While you can’t change what’s already happened, the first thing you need to do is apologise, even if you feel you did the best you could at the time. While the flowers being a bit late, the cake being a bit saggy and her not liking the person who did her face might seem like pretty minor misdemeanors, you do need to look at it from her point of view. Yes, she is your friend, but in this situation she was first and foremost your client. And the customer is always right.

Ask her if there’s anything you can do to make it up to her, and go out of your way to do anything that she might ask you. Think of something nice you can do for her to show how very sorry you are. How about a canvas print of one of her favourite wedding images? Try your very best to build those bridges.

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Help! I’ve got Pre-Wedding Cold Feet

Photography farm Workshop Styled Shoot Brighton Beach

Ive been with my fiancé for nearly 7 years and when we got engaged in October I was over the moon. Now we are planning the wedding and I keep having dreams about running away and going on adventures on my own. We’ve talked about it and he understands it doesn’t mean I don’t love him and I’ve spoken to a lot of people who’ve told me its very normal but I’m worried about it.” Lauren 

First off, your fiancé is right, being nervous before a massive, life changing event (like marriage!) is perfectly normal. In fact you’d be completely abnormal if you weren’t a little bit apprehensive about what the future might bring. But as someone who’s been married for six years, let me tell you something – nothing really changes and any subtle differences are TOTALLY for the better!

The safety and security you feel in your relationship when when you’re married is like nothing else. It’s difficult to explain it to someone who hasn’t yet taken the plunge, but just knowing that this person has chosen to be with you, and only you, for the rest of their life is a wonderful feeling. Fights don’t have the same devastating effect, and you can be yourself more. It’s unlikely that a little tiff or disagreement will end the relationship (which you might have always been worried about before) and although you drive each other crazy sometimes, it doesn’t matter because you love each other SO MUCH.

Photography farm Workshop Styled Shoot Brighton Beach

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How Do We Tell People We Don’t Want Their Children at Our Wedding?

jill greenburg

Most of our friends now have children. If we invited them all to our wedding there would be nearly 35 kids, we were only planning a guest list of 75 and don’t know how to let people know without upsetting them. We know some people will struggle to get sitters but I’m worried it will turn into a screaming child frenzy if we invite them all. Do we do a blanket no children or invite some, the ones we are closest to and risk upsetting people on the day? Added complication is my two nephews will be there who will be 1 and 3 and my flower girl who is 6. Any help/advice appreciated! – Sarah-Jane

Sarah, I completely empathise, this was the exact situation we had with our wedding too! While we didn’t have a flowergirl or ring bearer, we did have a couple of nieces and nephews there, but chose not to invite our friend’s children.

I want to kick off my reply by saying I am not anti-children, or criticising people who choose to have them, but they’re not really for me. While some people can’t imagine their wedding without kids running around all day, I certainly fall into the camp of those who can.

Although proper wedding etiquette states that unless there is a +1 on the invitation, only people whose names are on the invite should actually rock up, there will always be some people who ignore, or don’t understand, this and will assume their whole brood is more than welcome. To avoid any potential confusion we phoned our friends with kids to explain the situation outright. Pretty much everyone was fine with this, and some were thrilled to have a night away from their sprogs! Babysitters for the win!

If you’re struggling to figure out how to explain why some children (like your flowergirl) are invited but others (like your work friend’s three little darlings) are not, then you can always cite ‘budget constraints’, or ‘space limitations’ as the issue, even if it’s not true.

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