May 5, 2016

For Photographers: Community over Competition

“A rising tide lifts all boats.” -JFK
There is a big movement happening in the creative world and wedding industry called Community Over Competition. It’s turning heads. It’s making waves. As with any wave though, there are those that are surfing it and those that are mad because it’ rocking their boat. 
I for one and trying to surf this wave. I LOVE it. I see so much good in it. 
Think of two groups of people stuck in a pit.

Both groups want to escape the pit. In pit #1 they are all climbing and clamoring over one another, pulling each other down in an attempt to climb to the top first and to get out ahead of everyone. They are all worried about themselves. In pit #2 they are all working together to help everyone climb and rise. They give boosts and before long they are all out of the pit.

Which pit do you want to be in. 
Me? Pit #2 for sure! 
For too long, the photography industry was like pit #1. It was cut throat. Approaches were kept close and quiet like “secrets”. As more and more people picked up cameras and became interested in photography, the more reluctant everyone else became of helping each other because they wanted to reach the top of the pit and thought helping the newbies would only hinder their progress. 
But the past few years that has begun to change on a large scale. Photographers are befriending each other and reaching out. Education is becoming available for all different styles and approaches. People are helping each other. They are creating this community of rising motion rather than competing for one “top spot”. 
I read an article recently that stated that Community Over Competition isn’t realistic and that it’s hurtful to the industry as a whole. That’s not the viewpoint I have though. 
When it comes to competition, it will always be there. My photography friends and I technically are “competing” for the same weddings and clients. Community over Competition isn’t about wiping out competition, it’s about putting the focus on building each other up rather than tearing each other down. We’re able to help each other, and we’re better able to help our clients. 
There have been a few instances where I couldn’t take on a session or wedding, so I referred the couple to one of my photographer friends and they booked them. That doesn’t mean I’m succeeding less than they are, or that they are “winning”. We get to lift each other! 
Seesawing all by yourself is pretty lame. You need someone on the other side to really get things going! 
The rest of this month on Thursdays I’ll be sharing how Community Over Competition looks in my life, and how I/we make it work! 

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