This is a blog post I struggled with having the guts to write, but if anyone reads my blog at all– they know it’s good for being honest. Well, something has been weighing on my mind just a little and I know a couple of other photographers I look up to in so many ways who have voiced the same feelings on this subject.
When I check my inbox in the morning..or let’s be real, midnight, 6am, 3pm, etc..ALL day, I have to go through a process of prioritizing messages. Current brides & inquiries coming first, and then the rest fall into order. Emails from people getting started or already involved in photography have to be at a lower priority not because I don’t want to help them right away or at all, but because I am running a business and if they are in the same mind frame and take it as seriously, they should most definitely understand this.
Sometimes it’ll take me days, even a week to thoroughly answer a message from another photog or enthusiast. The emails range from these incredible, genuine and emotional stories about their journey with photography and life to “hey what lenses do you use and why, how much are they, thanks”. I love reading the heartfelt ones. They make me cry, if they aren’t too personal I tell Mike about them and he thinks it’s so inspiring that people are willing to share their stories with me! I agree!
But sometimes…I get these emails that are very blunt, short, just searching for an answer. I have felt like a Google toolbar on many occasions, but I answer the emails because I feel like, well, they took the time to ask and email me and I want to let them know I’m a nice photographer and definitely willing to share info and help them out, especially a small question here and there. Well..when you don’t get a thank you response to 9/10 of these, you start to think…do I need to be answering these? Most people are pretty respectful of the industry and will be kind in their emails or invest in a Q+A, mentoring, etc. There are people who pour their hearts out and are even not WANTING to “bother me” to ask questions about photography related things, but they do and they write back so thankfully. When I have a perpetual amount of people messaging me only when they have an industry question and then never thanking me..I just start getting a little disappointed and feel a little taken advantage of.
I’ve even seen emails before that start with “I’ve emailed a bunch of photographers and no one has been willing to help”…but the person’s tone isn’t even pleasant to begin with so I think to myself, yeah…do you think there’s a reason? I’m not a search engine, and I’ve invested LOTS OF TIME, MONEY and PERSONAL RESEARCH into what I do. The truth is..a lot of people want to just pick up a camera and make money. If that’s your reason for getting into this, just stop now. If you aren’t in this because you don’t LOVE people, cherish their life moments and HONOR the fact that they chose YOU to be a part of their personal history— to be passed down generations, then you’re not doing anyone justice. The worst email I got, EVER, was “I just bought a DSLR, how much should I start charging people?” — I was horrified. It doesn’t work that way folks.
If I don’t answer a message or email with one of your questions, or if I send back a template with FAQ and links and resources, I PROMISE it’s not me trying to be informal or cold! I LOVE GETTING SWEET EMAILS from people and I love to answer and help you!!!! And if you’re a nice person– feel free to email anything to me. But, for those who are just expecting the hand outs? Please consider investing in your education and respecting other people who have families, busy schedules and are trying to take their valuable time emailing their existing clients and other grateful photographers. If you invest in a mentor or coaching experience, that person will gladly continue to help you AFTER the session is over and answer your questions, too! It’s something to consider 🙂
XOXOXO, I’m nice– remember that 😉