Since I began this adventure filming weddings every weekend, I always worried how I could differentiate myself from others. Every day, hardware gets cheaper, everyone now days can buy very easily a camera for a few bucks, and every day, new people begin working as a wedding photographer or videographer.
At first I thought, making good videos was enough, videos that had an impact on my clients feelings and a little help from social networking. But how wrong I was! Nobody told me it would be very difficult to succeed in this business, no one told me that there are couples who just dont see the necessity to have a wedding video.
But thats okay, because I fell in love with my work, to get up early and spend the day with someone who I knew barely from 3 or 4 meetings, and at the wedding day, to treat me like family and as an essential part of their day. I felt a huge responsibility to get better.
At first I was frustrated on how the hell would I reach out to the thousand of couples that get married each year and tell them that I existed. To tell them I did not care much about the money, but to feel being part of someones day and being cared. Sure, things change and you cant always have that mentality. But at least my passion still is my foundation and cornerstone.
Of course I was lucky enough to start in this business being a 20 year old, with a beautiful family that always took care of me, gave me the best possible education, food and shelter. I was just a guy, doing something I enjoyed and not from necessity. Not everyone is lucky enough to start this way, there are people who have families to care for, and bring food to the table. Now that I'm getting married in 8 months, obviously I think differently, I'll have a wife that I love and I want the best for her, and yes, my priority still remains on the couple wedding story and experience, meeting people and making films that transcend on my clients life. Only now , I learned to appreciate all the hard work that I put into my films, the hours of editing, planning, shooting and back pain.
In the search for my style, I remember I looked around to see what others videographers were doing, looking for my role model. I'm sure unconsciously, I still do, but it is something I no longer worry about. For a long time I tried to imitate their frames, their moves, their editing style, trying to imitate the feeling their videos had, hoping some of that will result in mine. At that time, I thought it worked. I thought if I were more like them I would get better, and maybe I would be more booked. I remember sending messages to people I admired, and told them, "Hey check out my work, criticize me, tell me what to to do to get better," I even send some of them a thank you note for being an inspiration and say thank you. I expected a congratulation,an advice or words of encouragement, even just a "thank you". Ohhh I remembered how angry I got after I received only a single replay from only one of them (if you read this, you know who you are, thank you!). I thought of the people who didn't write me back as selfish and cocky. That with a bit of a fan base from a very small circle of people around the globe called videographers and wedding photographers, they felt like rockstars. I swore would never be like that.
And so I decided to stop paying too much attention to their work. In part because I was angry that I didn’t receive even a “thank you” from most of them, but mainly because I realize I was just being a copycat making a cheap version of other people’s vision and feel. I continued to walk alone for a while and still with no style.
Then I met someone, a photographer girl. Who had longer in this business than I had and, that although different to what I do, something about her work caught my attention. Was it the color? Was his ability to capture moments? Today I know why my attention got caught. When I talked to her, she seemed to have no idea what she was doing (and still doesn't know) but the photographs appeared to her like magic. A natural gift, a way of being. With some clients on my schedule, thank God, we started working together. I learned a lot with her, I worked on my feelings and not so much on the technical side. I focused on my color grading look, capturing the moment, to point my camera at what my heart felt was important and not what the books said. Today, I wake up every day as the happiest person on earth because I have the opportunity to work at what I love. I worked on communicating my passion to my clients as she did, and thank God after a few time, and without seeking, money arrived all alone.
Thank God I can't complain on how my business is doing, for all the blessings, goods and work that he has given me. Today, I think that the best thing I did to be different and succeed in this business, was to find inspiration in someone else, aside to my job line. Today I continue to learn from her and even when wrongfully I feel invincible, she reminds me that we are just two simple, lucky persons who enjoy our jobs. We're not here for the money or the praise from people who share our profession, that we shall go out with our cameras in our hands to do just what the heart dictates us, to defend our craft and most importantly have fun. That's when I understood, to never try to be like someone else or imitate them, but learn from peoples passion and way of being. All of this today, has defined my style and vision.
So in short, seek the advice of people who are willing to give it for real, stop looking at what others are doing and focus on your own craft, do not try to imitate or be like someone else, look for inspiration from something or someone out of what you do and remember why are you in this business. And if you are here for the money, welcome to this world where we have an exceeded amount of people doing this job and that even the brides uncle thinks he can pull it off as a photographer or videographer the wedding day.
Thank you for your time.