A few years ago, I received a message in my Facebook inbox. It was completely unexpected and it was from a photographer whose work I admired. She took the time to message me and say how much she loved my newborn work. She mentioned that she had seen the growth in my work and just how far I had come with them. She basically was giving me a virtual pat on the back.
I was a bit shocked that another photographer had taken notice of my work. My heart was filled with so much joy that someone took the time just to offer me encouragement and support. This was someone that I knew about, but had no idea she had a clue who I was. Talk about warm and fuzzy feelings! She made my day, heck she made a lot more than that because I still hold on to that feeling she gave me. She left quite a mark with a simple kind message.
This industry can be filled with such positivity and encouragement. I see it often. I am grateful for the great support system I have (locally and nationally). I try to be encouraging to others and since that email, I have made it a point to reach out to others with kind messages as well. I want to spread that feeling that I was so fortunate to experience.
On the flip side, this industry can be very frustrating. From unkind people, catty, cut throat behaviors to feeling overworked and underpaid. (I won’t get into how much we actually make versus what we are perceived to be making.) We can get frustrated with our art and our businesses. We wonder if we will ever reach our goals and once we do, we set new ones. Many of us put a lot of pressure on ourselves and are juggling our businesses along with our families. We give up many weekends to do what we love because, well, that’s just when the work is and when our clients need us. We wonder if our work is truly appreciated and if what we share matters. Does anyone see us?? So I think it’s safe to assume that most of us could use a little ray of sunshine in our lives to put a smile on our faces and warm tingles in our hearts. If you could use a little of that, why not make it happen for someone else?
So I’d like to propose a challenge. I want you to reach out to three photographers and make their day! Try to connect with photographers that aren’t in your inner circle (you know what I mean) for these three. Feel free to do more than three! Maybe it’s someone you’ve been following for years or someone you’ve just discovered. Maybe you have seen improvement and growth in their work and want to acknowledge that. Or their photography has inspired you in some way or simply makes you happy. Send them an email, post on their Facebook Business Page wall (use #iseeyouphotographer), or comment on their blog. In some way, tell them they are admired or that they have inspired you.
I hope that by doing this you are left with a great feeling inside. Let’s spread some kindness and love around! Let’s start taking a few moments to tell someone the great things we feel or think about them instead of just keeping it to ourselves. We are always quick to complain about things, but not always willing to share positivity.