My 3 Biggest Fears

Couple poses by a painted red brick wall in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Captured by NYC wedding photographer Ben Lau.

When I started this business a few years ago, I really only had two fears as it related to my business:

(1) Losing client images. (2) Getting food-poisoned/stomach flu.

Throw in a few Lil Monsters and it’s become quite clear where all these white hairs are coming from. But I digress. Maybe it’s good business sense, or maybe it’s simply the way I was raised; but I whole-heartedly believe that once you’re given any great opportunity, you simply have to “Show up on time, and don’t screw it up.” For these reasons alone, I’m tremendously diligent about backing-up images and eating the same food everyday during the wedding season. This year alone, I may have very well consumed at least 500 peanut butter sandwiches, 200 protein shakes and a few hundred eggs in every style you can possibly imagine. Yes, it’s that serious. And now that we’ve done this song-and-dance for a number of years, I find myself realizing another fear:

(3) Stagnating as an artist/business and wondering why I suddenly have so much free time (which I don’t, but it could happen).

Every now and then, we’ll meet other long-time wedding photographers at industry events who’ll inevitably hark back to the hey-days of their illustrious career. They’ll lament over their not-so-busy schedules and attribute their misfortune to the the state of the industry as well as the sluggish economy, without any consideration/analysis of what’s going on within their own businesses. While they deserve much praise for surviving as long as they did (and paving the way for future generations of wedding photographers), I surmise their only fault was falling in love with a career that’s simply too finicky, fast-paced and ever-changing. Quite honestly, we don’t wish to find ourselves in that predicament 30 years from now, or even 10 years from now. We still want to be shooting 50+ weddings every year until our legs/eyes finally give out (whichever comes first), and the only way we can achieve that is by staying relevant and keeping up with the needs/wants/desires of the constantly-evolving marketplace. Being able to produce good work is no longer enough; we have to get our work out there and rise above the noise, as efficiently and effectively as possible. This past week, I holed myself up in my office for the sole purpose of ingesting all kinds of news, trends and formal instruction from world-class leaders in the wedding photography industry via CreativeLive. Let me tell you: there’s currently a huge mess in my office because my mind was constantly blown. At least a gazillion times. And believe it or not, this is all good news for all of our clients. So long story short, we’ll be making some changes with our workflow in coming weeks, which should translate to quicker delivery times and happier clients. After all, isn’t that what we all want as wedding photographers? We hope the answer is a resounding “YES! YES! YES!”

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