“Why did you become a photographer,” I asked her?

“I liked playing around with my camera and I needed a little extra cash,” she responded.

Nope. She doesn’t have it. And she will never be a recognized, successful photographer.

I know that because of her 14 word answer.

In order to be truly successful at anything you do – photography or otherwise – you need a whole lot more than “for the money”. Because if the only thing that motivates you about what you do is the money, you are setting yourself up for failure right from the beginning.

Now let me tell you another story.

Growing up, my mother kept one portrait on her shelf that had a whole lot of meaning to it. It was an 8×10 image of her father walking her down the aisle on the day she got married. She told me over and over again about how precious that image was to her because it was one of the few she had of just her and her dad. Her father passed away when he was 59 – I was 4 – and she forever will treasure that memory and the tender look in her dad’s eye.

Fast forward to my wedding. We hired a professional photographer who had been in business for years. One of my highest expectations and the image I wanted the most was my father walking me down the aisle – it was ingrained in my soul the underlying meaning of this image. Unfortunately, she didn’t perform. She “lost” all of the images from the church, minus this one image:

Why Are You A Photographer

Yep, you are seeing it the way it was printed.

Of all the wedding images we received, very few are what I consider to be good. Some were underexposed. Some were overexposed. And others were like this one:

Why Are You A Photographer 1

Taken from one of the worst angles I’ve ever seen. What was she thinking? Why wouldn’t you be front and center, right in front of the bride and groom capturing their every move?

I can’t tell you what she was thinking – I wasn’t a professional photographer at that point.

But I can tell you one thing – she didn’t capture my beloved image of my father walking me down the aisle.

My father died 6 years later at the age of 54.

I don’t have that image sitting on my shelf. I don’t have that memory.

And that’s why we gave 110 percent in every wedding we shot. We made sure everything was perfect. We shot from every angle, with the thought of capturing every memory we could. We didn’t take one image of the bride and her dad – we took several – just to make sure it was perfect.

We wanted every client to have the most beautiful memories possible from the one day in their lives that should truly mean the most.

And that’s why we did what we did.

And we told the client that’s why we did what we did.

And it worked. BIG TIME.

Which all became very clear when I watched this video recently.

Take 20 minutes and watch it. I guarantee you it will be time well spent. Then spend a few minutes thinking about what it means to you. And ask yourself one question.

Why are you a photographer?

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