Over the last couple of days I have gotten some messages talking to me about what I share on social media and offering strategies to increase my social game by showing more of my photographic work on X platform. It made me want to sit down and just write some thoughts on it. Think of it as a level-setting post on what i’m usually doing.
I think of myself as an ever evolving ball of confusion, wrapped in a mess, tied together by a ball of ADD, in a packaged in heart of a teacher. While yes, I often consider myself as an artist (with all of the pains and tribulations associated with the term), I also feel an extremely strong pull into my life as a professional photographer – someone out there using his camera to make some money. On top of this – I’ve always found myself drawn to how I could use who I am as a person to teach people how they could become better at their craft. Whether its Photography, Photoshop, Music, Technology, or anything in the middle – I find that I get the most joy when I get to share with you some of the things I know to help you become better at the things you want to do. Its what drives me to want to get out there and start First Shot School. It’s what helps me make books. It’s what gets me out there on seminars. I just want to show you what someone else showed me – and share with you how to do what you do, just a little bit faster. I love to teach – and if theres anything I can help with – i’m always down.
To Thine Own Self Be True
I also feel all of this affords a responsibility to be truthful as to who I am when I share socially. While I could inundate my Instagram feed on projects that could very well live in a portfolio section of my blog – I feel like using a social platform for only this contributes to the endless amount of “Look at Me” that we can see on the internet. I remember sitting on a talk show where someone recommended that I go “Into my vault of great pictures” and just share those only on my Instagram – and my skin crawled. To me, that would feel like anyone who would follow me would just see a steady stream of “Look at this picture i made today. Its awesome.. I don’t ever have a bad shot. You can do this too” and offer an unrealistic view into the life that I lead. If i were just starting out – I would believe that this is the reality of being a great photographer is – and it’s just not tenable.
I Detest The Word Influencer
It’s also – not really me. I am a -dad-. I am a goofball. I like to talk about music and woodworking. I have dumb days where I totally forgot to change the settings on my camera. I’ve gone to shoots and completely blown it. I believe all of this informs who I am as a teacher and an artist. When I don’t have anything photographically to share – I don’t. We all have that period in our life, so why would I pretend like it doesn’t happen to me. I shoot stuff that I look back and think it completely sucks.. so why wouldn’t I say that?
The internet is overblown with people out there sharing content and tips and tricks in the mantra of being Influencers in the space – and it’s just something i’ve never really been wanting to be. I kinda hate the term. I don’t want people to look at the things that I say and be influenced by the amount of hype I throw at it. I’m a teacher. I want to get out there and share something with you and teach you how this something could help you be better. If you think that it’s useful – how I taught it would have helped confirm your decision. And I don’t think that selling an overtly sanitized version of myself would help make those connections.
Because of that – I post from as many sides of me as I can on social. You see the dad moments, as much as you see the goofball moments. You see the finished photographs, as well as the trips and behind the scenes that show me stumbling to try to make it. You hear my thought process, my hopes, my fears, and my failures – because they are exactly the kinds of things that every one of us has going for us.
I try to share as socially honest as I can. I make a ton of mistakes, and feel like a failure on so many things. But I hope that in presenting myself honestly and (somewhat) completely it would share with you something that you can take back to connect with your own work.
Hopefully in doing so, I can earn your trust to teach you something at First Shot School. I want to earn it one person at a time – and having the full confidence that i’ve given as much of me as I could – without ticking off Jenn.
Doing this for a living is a privilege . And I don’t want to ever forget that.