Last week on Valentine’s Day, I got engaged to my longtime girlfriend, Julie. I was warmly greeted with many kind blessings. Among the felicitations, some asked me the daunting question of who will photograph our wedding. As a photographer, I know of many good choices.
I imagined, if I weren’t a photographer, this question would truly be daunting. No one likes to hire the wrong photographer or wrong anything. So, how will the choosing begin?
To start, I already follow a number of peers who so happen to be creative inspirations. I know their stories. I know their styles. I know their ethics. I know much about them.
However, I only came to know them because they were well-known in the industry, which poses the question, “Is being popular to peers worth it?”
Who Is Your True Target Audience(s)?
Many thought leaders would say that you should focus all of your energy on your target audience. For the photo industry, that would be brides. Supposedly, being popular among peers is useless and at times stigmatized.
However, if you think about it, brides are full of skepticism and rightfully so. Additionally, with this economy, they all want to budget. Why? Because they don’t know you.
Conversely, you know your photography inspirations. You have learned from them. You might even have had drinks with them at a mutual conference. These social extroverts in the industry become strong contenders.
Building this longtime rapport only happens when the photographer is popular in the industry. And after a long relationship (even if online), you might even be inclined to pick the photographer before the venue and date.
Plus, there is bragging rights that so-and-so shot your wedding.
All in all, you are already using a lot of effort to stay relevant among your clients (e.g., brides). Take a tiny extra step to stay relevant among your peers.
There is a very good chance that it is your peers who will hire you because of your reputation. And they respect the craft enough to not discount your worth.
Lastly, you don’t need to be popular in the entire industry, just to those who matter, which a lot of times is a small circle.
Think about it.
P.P.S. When it came to picking out my ring for Julie, I was reminded of Apple’s “Crazy Ones.”
Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes.
Therefore, to be unique, I placed a round cut diamond (round peg) into an emerald cut halo setting (square hole). And being not so unique, I proposed to her in Paris.