I like to consider myself a reformed pessimist. I’ve fought depression and reached the point where I can take a breath to reset myself. It’s a constant battle that everybody faces, to play down the inner voices of fear and shame and strive towards positivity. And there are things I’ve learned on the journey.
Between the rapid growth we’re watching happen in Greenville and Spartanburg’s downtown revitalization project, there’s very little wonder why we seem to be seeing new businesses getting on their feet every month here in the upstate. I can tell you from the recent experiences of trying to get the feet of a photography business off the ground, there’s a lot of people out there who are ready to lend a hand in navigating the red tape from first concept to first client and beyond. But in order to actually be successful, I have to be more than just a guy with a camera and a few lighting stands. Knowing my way around a shutter and an umbrella isn’t enough to stand out as a person you might want to hire to update your family portraits.
The most common way I see people overcoming this is by dropping their base prices. They’re monetizing their hobby, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, except that they could be undervaluing their own talents. In the end though, there’s nothing different about their end result that any student or apprentice couldn’t give you. That’s not how I want to differentiate myself, nor how I want to define myself.
In short, I am not a photo booth. I am not satisfied simply with taking your picture. The sum of who you are is more than a photograph. Sure, a picture might be worth a thousand words but I can tell you as a writer that a thousand words isn’t a lot, really. Me, I’m aiming for three or four thousand. I don’t want to simply take your picture. I want to capture an image that’s closer to how you want to see yourself. This might mean incorporating objects that are meaningful for you, or going to places that you hold dear. It might even mean forgoing the traditional say-cheese-smile altogether, because an honest glance is much more powerful than any forced smile ever could be. Doing that relies on more than my technical knowledge of a camera, and more on my instincts as a storyteller. If you want a formal portrait taken, then I can do that, but that’s not why I’m running this business. I want to help create an image for you that encompasses who you are.