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In this day and age, the amount of wedding photography educational information available to us can be overwhelming. From online articles to in-person workshops, videos and podcasts, it can be difficult to know where to start and what is of value.
In this episode, I’ll chat about finding a balance between the amount of content you consume and how to know what is worth investing your time and resources into.
We’ll also talk about the importance of not only consuming wedding photography educational information but also taking action and applying it to your own business.
How can you translate the information you find into actionable strategies to create a successful wedding photography business?
In the age of digital media, there’s an overwhelming amount of information available right at our fingertips. And it’s no different for wedding photographers. But how do you know what to consume or what you should be focusing your time and energy on?
In this article, we’ll discuss the fact that all the information you really need is out there but it’s what you do with it that really counts.
When you think about the amount of information that is available to us compared to 5 or 10 years ago, it might seem like a great thing. But at times it can be a detriment to the progress that we’re making.
It’s almost too much of a good thing when you’re able to consume content so quickly and easily. Then what do we do with all this information?
It’s essentially information overload and you’re not able to process things accordingly. You might actually be taking on too much or maybe doing things in the wrong order or worse, doing the wrong things and not even knowing.
Before you know it, 3 months...6 months...a year has passed by and you look at your business, you look at the progress you wanted to make in it and it’s nowhere near where you thought it would be. That’s the danger zone that I want us to avoid.
One of the questions I ask my students is why they feel they are struggling to become a successful wedding photographer (whatever that means to them). A common response is that there’s a lot of information out there and they just don’t know what to do next. Basically, they’re feeling overwhelmed, confused, and at a loss as to which direction they should be taking.
Even for me, after many years of doing this, when I look around at the content that’s available - doing a Google search or looking on YouTube, sometimes seeing ads via Facebook or Instagram - I’m overwhelmed! I’m not even sure what to do next if I should consume this or do that.
Of course, if I were to ask the photographer, the educator or the company, they’re probably going to say “Yes, it's valuable”. But wouldn’t it be nice if there was an objective, unbiased way of determining whether or not we do need to consume this information right away, in the future or ever?
Whether it’s video, audio or text. Some of us still read books and magazines. That’s how I was really able to learn photography 10 years ago. Then, of course, there’s in-person education - a one-on-one or group coaching session, workshop, course or seminar. It could also be a community...a Facebook group or an online forum.
In many ways I’m all for it. Continuing education is important and we’re never too good or experienced to not continue our progression as a photographer and a business owner.
There’s always something we can improve on and we shouldn’t stay on an island, particularly if you’re struggling or your business is not going anywhere. But it’s more about finding the right information and consuming it in the right order if you want to see results.
I’ve broken down this issue into 4 different scenarios and I’m sure that we are in at least one of them:
Perhaps you just don’t know what to consume so you don’t end up consuming anything at all. Is it because you’re not sure if it is a viable option? Is it contributing to a lack of progress in your business? Maybe there is something out there that could help you but you just haven’t found it yet.
Perhaps in the past few years, you have dabbled in some educational content and it didn’t quite get you where you wanted it to. Is this the fault of the material, educator/photographer or the company that provided it?
Do you feel like they might have misled you or do we need to look at ourselves in the mirror? Maybe we were given the right steps and valuable content but we just never applied it to our business.
We absolutely want to have some level of educational material that we’re consuming on a periodic basis. We should be continuing to progress and learn, even if we feel that we know everything. Even then, there’s always something that we can learn and improve on.
Now the second scenario is that we’re consuming too much. We spend all this time learning, watching videos, listening to podcasts, taking courses, etc. Consuming so much but not taking any action.
That’s one way that this information is going to hurt your business. It’s not that the information is bad but that you’re not leaving enough time for you to implement what you learn into your business.
This is something that I notice with some of the photographers that I communicate with. I commend them for doing so many things at once and having this drive and commitment to learn as much as possible.
But what do you have to show for it? Did you implement all of these things you learned and what was the result of that? Did you notice any increase in visits to your website, inquiries or bookings because of all this content you consumed?
For a lot of us, we don’t even get to that point of analyzing the results because we’re spending way too much of our time and energy consuming and not nearly enough taking action.
The third scenario is that we’re actually consuming the right stuff and even in the right amount but the problem is we’re doing it in the wrong order. We’re actually learning something that won’t really help us in the next step of our business. This is something that you might want to learn in another year or two but not right now.
This was something that I did a few times early on. I was super excited and thought I could take my business to that next level so I invested all this money into taking a new workshop or coaching session.
I’m not saying they weren’t beneficial but I wasn’t at the right point in my business yet to get the most out of them. I wish I had known that beforehand, rather than finding out that it was not quite right for me at that time.
Now the fourth and final scenario that we could be in is that we’re consuming the wrong stuff. Information that is not going to help our business and we’re just spending way too much of our time, energy, money, and resources.
The worst thing about this is we don’t even know it. We actually think what we’re consuming is great and will benefit our business.
Yes, we’re going to learn from this experience and sometimes even if somebody else - a colleague or coach - advise you not to do something, you might want to figure it out for yourself. But you need to determine quickly if this is going to help you or not and whether it’s the best investment of your limited resources.
If you're in any of these situations, the first thing to do is take a huge step back. Even if you feel like things are going in the right direction with the content that you’re consuming on a periodic basis, take a step back and just reconfirm that is the case.
Is it meeting my criteria? Is the time I’m spending actually helping my business? Do I get some kind of value out of it?
If you’re consuming way too much and spending several hours every day on it, how are you going to find the time to implement what you are learning? You need to figure out what you can cut out. Sometimes it’s best to keep things very simple.
Make sure you’re able to buy into that way of teaching, the reputation of the photographer and the possible results. No matter what you decide to consume, I always recommend you find tangible, reputable results of what’s being taught.
Don’t just go off what the person says and look at one or two success stories. Look at multiple ones. Whatever it might be - a course, coaching experience, workshop, etc.
What were the benefits that past students received? And if you find that it’s just way too much or you don’t buy into it, you need to cut it out and invest your time elsewhere.
Also, keep in mind that just because something works for another photographer, it may or may not work for you. We’re all in different situations, so make sure you’re comparing apples to apples. Maybe a strategy worked for one photographer but they’re in a different market than where you are or the style of photography that they shoot is different from yours.
This is all tying into episode 75: “You don’t want to consume more than you produce”. You’re not translating that information into productive goals and milestones that you’re going to accomplish, which I imagine is to book more weddings and make a living doing this.
You want to ensure your consumption is not way more than your production. So just be mindful of what you're taking in and don't forget to implement what you learn.
The answers to all your questions are out there. There’s no magic formula for becoming a successful wedding photographer. A simple Google search will reveal pages and pages of articles and information with all the solutions you’re looking for.
That’s not the struggle here. That’s not the problem that we have. It’s that we’re not doing anything about it in our business. We learn all of these things, we take notes. But the next day gets here and life happens.
We got weddings to shoot or our conventional job and commitments with family and friends take up our limited time. We just never get around to implementing all of this great content we've consumed.
It’s what we do with the information we get that ultimately matters. The implementation is the biggest struggle that we have. If we can just get over that hump and are committed to making the necessary changes, that’s when you’re going to see the positive difference in your business.
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