We fell in love with Marko’s work from the very first photo we saw. Breathtaking sights, magical lights, genuine emotions and the happiest most sincere smiles and laughs. He moves through each wedding like a ninja, capturing life as it happens. Dreams about seeing the Northern Lights, going to a The Black Keys concert and meeting Chuck Norris (the list is actually longer and more fun). Having traveled all around the world, connecting with diverse cultures, witness some of the most beautiful and unusual wedding traditions – we knew this creative has a lot of experience and wisdom to share. The question was simple – What are some of the most important things that photography has taught you? Here we go..
#1. People have expectations. At first I thought you should meet them, but that’s absolutely wrong. Wedding photography is a form of art, and you should meet your own expectations in order to grow artistically. Work on getting the clients that trust you and love you for both what you do and how you do it. It might not make sense to you at the time, just trust my experience on this one. It’s extremely hard to get there, so keep on pushing. This is for the long run.
#2. As a solo entrepreneur you will not exactly get an easy living free pass. Instead, you’ll constantly be on the run. Being your own boss might be a thing that comes with benefits, but only after a couple of rough years and countless sleepless nights of getting things in order. Day in – day out you’ll be evolving, educating yourself about everything, networking with colleagues, marketing yourself, taking care of your business and taxes, corresponding with clients and vendors, sending invoices, building a website (luckily we have Flothemes for this now), creating your brand, holding meetings, buying useless gear and software, attending conferences or workshops. Your colleagues might be leaving trails of airplane shots and beautiful destination weddings on their social media (yes, I do that too), but the truth is – it comes with a price, and the currency is work. If you feel no weight on your shoulders and you catch yourself thinking of what to do next Thursday afternoon guess what – something is very wrong. You should be working!
#3. Don’t compare yourself to others. Use that energy elsewhere. Your taste is your benchmark for good work. That feeling in your gut when you know you nailed a perfect shot is the moment you should aspire for. Comparing yourself to colleagues slows down your growth and kills creativity. Aim to find inspiration elsewhere.
#4. If you’re new at this and just starting out – go to a workshop or a mentoring session. It will cost you some money, but the value you get is much higher than the price you pay. You’ll get back home excited and pumped with knowledge which would otherwise take years to gain. Use it immediately.
#5. Be extremely selective! This one is hard, I know. Better yet – publish only the photos you’d like to shoot tomorrow! They will attract the same type of clients.
#6. Your work should not be appealing or beautiful to everybody. That’s ok. Hey, even my mom hates my pictures and I respect that. Let’s make things clear – there’s a certain number of people out there who really respect you as a person, connect with you and love you for who you are and the work you are producing. They want to be in front of your camera. But guess what – they don’t know that yet. It’s your job to let them know you’re out there, who you are, how you work and most important of all – what makes you different.
#7. Deal with negative comments and criticism. Don’t be offensive or defensive and always take into account who is the person behind it. Consider the source and value of it. If it’s someone you care about or anyone who’s intention was to help you – it would probably be sent personally and constructively. Don’t let it get you down, you can’t please everyone. Read the next thing to see why.
#8. Give criticism only when asked for. This is a common mistake people make. When you’re walking down the street in your neighborhood and see something you don’t like in the shop window, do you go inside and ask for a manager just to tell him how much you hate that coffee table he put on display for everyone? And spit on it on your way out? Do you stop by Toyota car salon to let them know how Audi makes far better cars than them? I don’t think so.
#9. Stop chasing likes and followers. The buzz should not be about you. It should be about your work.
#10. You’re far better than you think. And you’ll come to know it in time.
Side note from Marko: “Please note that everything I wrote is subjective and personal. You might not agree with me on all points, but I do hope some of these will help you get on the right track. Share the love!”
Even in his short side note, Marko remains humble, sincere and kind. Now we know why there are so many heartwarming happy messages left by clients on his website. There is no greater joy in life then discovering a new person, and letting them become your friend. We all have our own journeys full of adventures, challenges and failures. The life lessons we learn are invaluable. Being able to share that knowledge and experience with others, help them become kinder, wiser and more compassionate is the greatest gift one can give. We thank Marko for opening up and sharing his knowledge with us and can’t wait to hear your thoughts on this subject.