The Worst Advice I Have Ever Received

There have been times when I felt incompetent just because of the fact that I am young and haven't been in the photography industry as long as others. Often times, I have felt that because I don't look like the "typical" photographer that when I meet someone who DOES look like one, their input somehow seems more valid. 

And so the story begins. 

I was only living in New York for a couple of months and still working as an intern. Through connections, I met a lady who invited me to a networking group for various professions. I arrived to the event underdressed, eventhough I was told to "come as you are". Then on top of being fifteen or more years younger than a majority of the group, I really felt out of place. But I tried to ignore all of that, even though, I received weird looks coming from some of the people as I introduced myself.  

I ended up meeting a photographer who had only been in the industry for a couple of years. However, he traveled the world and shot a few well-known people and published his work in magazines. He blew me away with what he accomplished in such a short time. But he fit the bill, dashing foreign accent, about mid-forties, and a wardrobe that said photography genius all over it. So I showed him my portfolio and asked for his feedback. I've showed so many people my work that I know exactly what needs to be fixed, but of course it takes time to develop. He tore apart my work which I wasn't hurt by, after all, I asked for his feedback. However, I would say, he didn't take into account my style as a photographer. It was like he was trying to make my work like his.

We kept talking and I felt comfortable enough to ask him about a proposal that I was working on. He told me that my proposal looked unprofessional and he gave me a template that he uses. In the end, when I sent the client the more professional proposal, she was almost insulted by what I sent. It wasn't personable, it was demanding and arrogant. Of course, it was all through email so it wasn't my tone of voice, but rather how she perceived it to be. She asked for adjustments and I made them, but it was too late. I lost the job because I already seemed inexperienced and unprofessional in her eyes.

I should have just stuck with my gut because the adjustments she wanted fell along the lines of what I had in the beginning. From that day forward, I learned that even though I may seem young and I haven't been in the industry long, I must not doubt myself. I have a Bachelor's degree in photography, I've taken workshops, online classes and read books on business and photography. I've been learning for so long that now it's time to take what I've learned into practice. I must trust my instincts and not be afraid to go along my own path. 

Has anyone made any mistakes in their career? Comment below what that lesson has taught you! 

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