Building a Consistent Feed

For the past few years while I went through the process of starting a photography business - the discernment of if I should do so, taking the plunge, the worry after I've already taken the plunge - I read article after article after article on photography businesses. Once I went full-time, I had even more time to do this. I joined tons of photography groups on Facebook, full of incredible and inspiring people. Every photo shared was followed by comments asking question after question on how they got "those kind of clients" why their clients look like models, complaining they don't get "those kind of clients". Other posts were full of asking for advice when a client wants a "cheesy, typical" photo - advice left and right saying "just say no", "say that's out of your style", "turn it down".

This was my mind set for the past few years. I wanted the perfect clients that were the right style. I wanted to turn down anything that didn't "speak" to me, that wasn't inspiring to me.

It definitely did not help that I was seeing the same beautiful pictures being posted over and over, really incredible pictures. I mean seriously out of this world. They were in amazing parts of the world, taken by photographers that always had that golden hour, that had clients that would hike with them to these locations that I'd never seen before. They were consistently beautiful and infuriating. They would make my friend and I message each other, on the verge of tears, wondering how we could get pictures like that.

There were articles titled "How to Find Your Ideal Client" "How to Build a Consistent Instagram Feed" "How to Get More Followers" and I read every single one. I did model calls, I asked specific people to pose for me so I could get the perfect shot and I said (because this is what I was told to do) that "for free images, you agree to work with the location and outfits I have picked, and agree to share on as much social media as possible, and tagging White Sails in every post". This is a GREAT idea for someone who is learning how to photograph, or for someone who needs a consistent feed for models or fashion shoots, but this isn't what I needed.

A few weeks ago, I photographed a wedding in Michigan. The bride made her own wedding dress, she got ready at her home, and she was so calm and peaceful all day. A week later, I was in Minnesota helping my friend with the videography for a wedding. While the bride that day got ready in the basement of the church, her excitement became so overwhelming that she started to cry, and so all of her bridesmaids with her started praying to help her calm down. That day was one of the most beautiful sunsets I've ever seen, with golden light spilling out over an open field, and they were such a happy, giddy, excited couple.

The following week I went to Ohio where I was only there for a couple of hours to take family and couple portraits. It was an on-and-off rainy day with constant clouds. We went to a grotto surrounded by trees. No open field, no golden sunlight. Just a sweet, quiet couple, who took in the time they had just the two of them.

How do I create a consistent feed if every single day, the weather is different. The venue is different. The couple, family, friends, high school senior - they're all different. 

Some couples are ecstatic and giddy and laughing, while others are emotional, nostalgic, and happy to just be holding each other. Some weddings are outside, and some are inside. Some are in the Summer, and some are in the Winter. Some are on sunny days, and some are on rainy days. Some are high budget, and some are low. Some are in fields, some are in church halls, in back yards, or on mountain tops.

My job as the photographer I want to be is not to create a consistent feed. It's not to build a beautiful portfolio for myself. I'm not hanging these pictures on my wall. They aren't my memories. It's not to find the best looking couple so I can take photos of them.  My job is to be hired by a couple or family to capture how things unfolded that day, to capture honest, raw moments. To make something lasting out of what was already happening then and there. 

I do have a style, every photographer does, and it's important to find a photographer whose style you love. I am a lifestyle photographer, so while the poses and the people and the locations are all different, I edit all of my pictures the same way. They're a little dark, they lean more towards black and white. That's the only consistency there is. I can't control the sun, your drunk uncle, or your children, and I have no interest in doing so. All I want to do is create images you can hold in your hands that will make you laugh or cry, because they are so purely you, not purely me.

For some photographers, it's important that they keep their feed consistent. That goes with their brand, they are in a part of the world where the weather is pretty consistent, they work in a studio, they work with models or fashion or magazines. Just like every couple, every photographer is different. This is my point of view, and that's all.