Embracing Authenticity as a Beginner Wedding Photographer: Navigating the Unique Path in a Client-Facing Field


August 30, 2023

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Forget everything but the way it feels to be here. No matter her subject, Nikki documents moments with an intuitive sense of their emotional relevance and inherent beauty. 
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Anytime I give “advice,” it doesn’t mean it’s going to work for you. The way you move through the world should be specific to you. There’s no consistent input and output when it comes to a client facing job if you can’t keep up with a consistency you set, you’ve set yourself up. I think people can sense when things are just a bit off and it comes off not only as inauthentic, but also unprofessional. It’s ok to be inexperienced and building, but it’s not ok to completely pretend that’s not happening. Picking up what I’m putting down? Just because someone does it one way, doesn’t mean it’s the only way. When I was learning photography, I didn’t only pay attention to how others did things so I could emulate it, I also considered how I might want to do some things differently.

As photographers…and humans, our journey through the world is a unique one. It’s a symphony of creativity, professionalism, and authenticity that sets the stage for our interactions with clients. Yet, it’s important to remember that the advice we share isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. The path you tread should be a reflection of your individuality, ensuring your approach remains genuine and tailored to your personal style.

In a field where client relationships are paramount, the mantra of consistency often echoes through the corridors of advice. But let’s unravel this further: is consistency a universal formula, an “if x, then y” equation that guarantees success? The truth is, there’s no steadfast rule. Your journey, your pace, your style—they all belong to you and can’t be confined to a formula.

Authenticity Overrules All

Yes, authenticity is the buzzword of the season for wedding photographers, but picture this: you set a benchmark for consistency, but life’s unpredictable currents tug you in unexpected directions. Maybe you stumble upon an opportunity that aligns with your creative spirit but doesn’t follow your pre-defined path. This is where authenticity shines. Clients can sense the genuine passion behind your work, but they can also detect when something’s amiss.

Being authentic isn’t just about showcasing your strengths; it’s also about acknowledging areas where you’re still honing your craft. It’s okay to be building and learning—it’s a natural part of growth. What’s not okay is pretending that these moments of growth don’t exist. Authenticity, when paired with humility, can build deeper connections with clients who appreciate your honesty.

Carving Your Path in a Diverse Landscape

Just as no two fingerprints are alike, no two photographers journey the same path. Your experiences, aspirations, and creative visions are uniquely yours. When you were learning photography, you didn’t merely emulate the established norms; you also envisioned how you could infuse your distinct touch. It’s this creative divergence that makes the art of photography so fascinating and multi-dimensional.

Client expectations can vary, being open to diverse approaches can set you apart. You’re not bound by a single formula. You can offer clients a blend of your personal style, expertise, and an honest acknowledgment of your journey.

Embrace the Uniqueness of Your Journey

Because we have things like…the internet and endless mentorships…advice is readily accessible, but it’s crucial to remember that not all advice is a universal fit. Just because someone follows a particular path doesn’t mean it’s the only route. The beauty of photography, and any client-facing field really, lies in the art of adaptation.

Your journey isn’t linear; it’s a mosaic of experiences, lessons, and creative revelations. Your authenticity is your greatest asset. It’s a magnet that attracts clients who resonate with your genuine spirit and who appreciate your evolution.

So, let’s celebrate our personal differences within the photography world–especially wedding photography where styles tend to follow a trend. Let’s embrace the paths less traveled, the unconventional methods, and the distinct approaches that add color to our industry. It’s your journey, and it’s not limited by the confines of consistency. It’s guided by your authenticity and the exceptional story only you can tell through your lens.

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