Howdy there, y'all! (#Sorrynotsorry, I'm still feeling kind of "Texas-y")
So I recently had the privilege of speaking at the annual retreat for the Association of International Boudoir Photographers (AIBP) in San Antonio, TX, at the beautiful Hotel Contessa. (A huge shout out and THANK YOU to the Hotel Contessa for the great amenities and amazing guest service!)
The AIBP retreat was 45 boudoir photographers from all around the US and beyond, coming together to learn more about the art and business of boudoir photography (and of course, to take sexy pictures of each other all over the unsuspecting city of San Antonio). During the retreat, there were 4 headlining speakers, plus 2 smaller classes... Of the 6 speakers from all over North America, two of us, myself (pictured above) and Jennifer Smith (pictured below), were from the tiny state of Delaware... and we both spoke on different aspects and strategies for creating business success in the beautiful genre of boudoir.
What's even more interesting, is that Jenn and I literally live 10 minutes from each other... in neighboring small towns, an hour away from the closest metro area... and we are both very successful by any and all industry standards. And we are not the only ones! And the reason this is so interesting, is because of how often I hear photographers complaining about how they can't succeed because there are too many photographers near them... or because there is not enough money in their small towns... or because Groupon exists... or because other photographers near them are "giving it away."
Trust me when I tell you, ALL of these same conditions exist where Jenn Smith and I live and run our businesses. There are boudoir Groupons, there are dozens of cheap shoot-and-burn photographers, there are GWCs who will shoot boudoir for free any chance they get... and then there are people like Jenn and me. Yes, we are an hour from Philadelphia, which is a big metro area... a big metro area with a bazillion photographers... you get the picture.
Jenn and I could choose to see each other as competition. We could be snarky and jealous and overly-protective of our "secrets"... Yet, while in Texas, we both sat in on each other's classes... we freely talked business with each other, and we decided to photograph each other in our undies... We have plans to get together socially, too... Why? Because, we don't believe in "competition." I can't be Jenn, and she can't be me. Nor would either of us want or try to be. Our styles as photographic artists are very different. Our marketing, branding, and target markets are different. Our business models are different.
Now, don't get me wrong, Jenn and I do have a lot in common. We share many of the same beliefs and business practices. We are both on the more "high end" of the spectrum in our pricing, and we even use a lot of the same tools in our businesses... We've seen each other naked, which is always a special bond... but most importantly, Jenn and I share a mindset of abundance -- a mindset of firm belief that there is enough for everyone. We are happy for each other's success, and we are inspired and motivated by each other.
Jenn and I, along with every other truly successful photographer in our genre, do not focus on our "competition." We focus on our clients -- their experience with us, the relationships we build and nurture, the images we create for them, and the feelings those images will stir in them every time they look at them, for the rest of their lives. We focus on winning -- for our own clients and our own businesses.
Jenn and I are colleagues.
We are friends.
We are practically neighbors. (Jenn says she could ride her bike to my house... but I'm still waiting...)
We are waves in a rising tide that lifts all boats.
And we both look pretty hot in our skivvies, if we do say so ourselves.
Thanks for reading....
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