Men photographers…listen up, you need to be more like women.
Women photographers…listen up, you need to be more like men.
Men need to be in touch with their feminine side in order to be better photographers and women need to stop being so feminine in order to be better photographers.
Am I the only one that feels this way of thinking is whacked? I mean, one taco short of a combination plate kind of whacked?
If you hear this advice coming out of any speaker/coach/workshop-giver’s mouth…run. Run far. Run fast. Don’t look back. Just pull a Gump and “Run, Forrest, Run!”
And it troubles me, because when you are standing in front of a client with a camera in your hand, you aren’t a male photographer or a female photographer…you are simply a photographer. Or at least, that’s how it should be.
Now, what I’m about to say will go against the grain of what you’re hearing in our industry today. I mean, so much against the grain that it could cause friction; little sparks might erupt from your computer, kind of like when you rub your feet against the carpet.
Stop with the “I am a woman” and ‘I am a man” thinking and start saying:
“I am a professional.” Period.
I don’t care if that thing you carry in your pants is a penis or a vagina, friends, what it takes to make you a successful photographer has nothing to do with gender. Nothing. (For the record, this is the first time I have used the words “penis” and “vagina” in a post. I feel liberated. I’m considering burning my bra.) Being a successful photographer doesn’t have anything to do with whether you shake hands with your clients or give hugs, whether you have a beard or boobs. Or both.
It has to do with how we do our job.
See, clients come to us from all walks of Life. They bring with them their past experiences, both good and bad. There’s this whole trunk full of emotions that they lug to their session. It could be filled with anything from disappointment to insecurity to expectations to joy. And it’s up to us to relate to them; to understand them. It’s up to us, as photographers, to meet clients where they are.
It’s ALWAYS been that way.
It’s not a man thing, nor is it a woman thing…it’s a photographer thing.
This notion that men can’t photograph small children because they aren’t mommies and women can’t photograph men in power because they ARE moms is complete and utter rubbish. (I just pulled a Mary Poppins, right there with my “complete and utter rubbish.” I said it with a British accent. I hope you read it that way.)
Success has nothing to do with gender; it has to do with how we conduct ourselves, our business, our drive, our determination, our…wait for it…professionalism.
That’s it. That’s the whole shebang. Or hebang. Or webang. (OMG…this article just turned into a Ricky Martin song. But the William Hung version. I have standards.
It’s about being relatable. About listening to our clients. About being professional.
We need to stop this idea that gender renders us unable to succeed in photography and stop listening to those that tell us otherwise. The only thing responsible for your success or failure is not an X or Y chromosome…
About the Author
Missy Mwac is a photographer/eater of bacon/drinker of vodka and a guide through the murky waters of professional photography. You can follow her social media links here: Facebook, Tumblr. This article was originally published here and shared with permission.