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Inspiration

Your Story Is Just As Important As Great Images | Jeremy Cowart

By Chris Nachtwey on September 23rd 2014

We live in a very social world, we always have. Long before social media, we as a society loved to go to cookouts and house parties. This is was how we interacted with friends, family, and met new people. Over the last ten years, thanks to social media, social gatherings have been replaced by keyboards and touch screens. Now, if you want to know what someone is up to, you simply jump on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. The truth is though, that even with the change from social interaction to digital interaction, we as people want to know about your story, your life, and your passions. It’s just human nature.

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Photography is no different, but for some odd reason, so many photographers don’t want to let the outside world into their personal world. Personally, I honestly think that not sharing your life and passion outside of photography is probably one of the biggest mistakes you can make for yourself and your brand.

[REWIND: QUITTING YOUR DAY JOB: MAKING YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY WEBSITE MORE PERSONAL]

In the video below from CreativeLive, highly respected commercial photographer Jeremy Cowart, sums up just about everything I believe in when it comes to why it’s important to share more then just your images with people.

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The Story

The short story Jeremy shares in the video is about a meeting with one of the biggest art directors in the industry and sums up why you need to share more. Here, Jeremy was meeting with one of the biggest fish in the industry and was told his images are good, but clearly did not blow away the art director. Jeremy asked to show more of his personal work, share his story about his family, and other passionate photography projects he’s done.

All of a sudden this art director was all in, so much so he grabbed the rest of the staff that was in the office, introduced them to Jeremy and ultimately said he wanted to work with Jeremy. All because Jeremy opened up, he shared some of his personal life, his passion, what drives him to do what he does, and ultimately connected with the art director on a more personal level – the “human” level.

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Thoughts

This video really connected with me because I, too, believe that to be a successful photographer in the modern age, you need to share who you are outside of the photography realm.  The key to booking more work, and working with the right people is to connect with everyone from clients to fans on a personal level. Over the last three months, I myself have opened up more on social media, and my blog, and it’s paying dividends. I’ve connected with more clients, and fans (I never thought I would have “fans,” but due to my work here on SLR Lounge and 35to220 other photographers reach out to me for advice. That’s a huge honor and humbling all at the same time). More and more people who contact me say they feel like they know me, love my personality, want to work with me, and they have not even met me in person yet.

My end point here is this, open up. I know it’s not easy, but people love to know about you, more than they care about your great images. They can see you do great work, but they want to know who you are, why you do what you do, and make a more personal connection with you before they book you or get involved in a project with you. Trust me, it will help your business and personal projects in the long run.

Via: CreativeLive Youtube Page

Images captured via screen grab.

 

Chris Nachtwey is a full-time wedding and portrait photographer based in Connecticut. He is the founder and creator of 35to220 a website dedicated to showcasing the best film photography in the world. Chris loves to hear from readers, feel free to drop him a line via the contact page on his website! You can see his work here: Chris Nachtwey Photography

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Jill Schindel

    Wow, glad I went digging in the “inspiration” files of SLR lounge. What a completely motivating segment! I’m not a pro, but this does affirm my vision for my work in the future – I want all my photos to convey a sense of connection. It also caused me to reflect on my very favourite photographers to follow, and really, aside from having amazing light as their best friend, the common thread in all of their work is a sense of passionate connection with life. You can see them in their photos, and it is so much more than just a technical know-how.

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  2. Duc Hong

    Totally agree with the article, opening up to your clients or people around you is probably one of the most important, secret invisible connection between human. Once they feel like they get to know you, you’ve almost earned their trust and that makes the shooting session easier.

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  3. Rafael Steffen

    This is one the best articles on inspiration so far. Thanks for contributing with such rich content.!

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  4. Jeff Morrison

    i seen it too

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  5. Chuck Eggen

    I watched his Creative Live segment and the story of his brother was very moving. Worth a listen if you haven’t.

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  6. Daniel Thullen

    Yes Chris you do have fans. Many of us would love to take the path that you’ve decided to take with your photography, but for whatever reason can’t or won’t. Jeremy is right . . .opening ourselves and our personal stories and passion(s) is only a positive. You’ve seen this yourself. Do we not share ourselves because we’re afraid or because we don’t have the passions. Anyone these days can call themselves a photographer and take “pretty” pictures.

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