If I had to guess, I’d venture to say that the majority of wedding photographers out there are extroverts at heart. Our job is one that requires us to spend a good amount of time interacting with all kinds of different people, so it seems only natural that someone who is outgoing would thrive in a job like this! On the other hand, I think introverts also have a big advantage since much of what we do is done behind the scenes, often solo. I’m an introvert myself and deal with shyness (not as much so on the internet, where it is way easier to be bold!) so I wanted to share some things I’ve learned that will hopefully help other introvert photographers!
The first, and possibly most important thing to remember is: Be genuine and true to yourself in all of your interactions.
If you aren’t loud and outgoing, don’t try to pretend to be something you’re not, even if you wish that’s how you were! If people can’t 100 percent see through the facade you’re trying to create, they’ll still be able to tell something’s a little off. Authenticity is so huge for creating real and genuine interactions. Whoever you are, and whatever your personality, own it! On wedding days I’ve gotten so many compliments from our clients and their friends and family for being a calming influence on the wedding day because my voice is more quiet and calm rather than bold and loud. Find your strengths and use them to your advantage!
Use the Internet and social media to interact
Sometimes if you deal with shyness like I do, it can be hard to approach people in public, especially if you can’t think of something really good to say right away. So much of our communication these days is based on social media, it’s much more acceptable to “break the ice” so to speak using the internet. That can make it a little more comfortable for you to reach out to people! By interacting on Instagram, FB, Snapchat, etc, you’ll start to get to know people, which will make it easier when it comes to in-person interactions! Interacting online (and having a great blog for people to read!) really helps people get a sense for YOU, too, which helps put them at ease. That’s a win/win!
Focus on developing relationships
This is SO huge. I’m not really big into networking myself because I don’t like what it stands for. I don’t want to get to know people just in case they can do something for me in the future or vice versa. I want to create real relationships with people that I really connect with. I focus on creating relationships with my clients and other wedding professionals in a way I’d nurture any other relationships in my life, by showing genuine interest in them! This has proved to be so much more valuable to me over time than it would be to spend a lot of my time working on networking. I think this is huge for developing relationships with clients as well because getting to know them will help you provide them with an experience that really speaks to who they are!
Work with people you mesh well with
I have learned over the years that it really helps to work with couples (and wedding pros!) who get you. I tend to ask a few questions of each couple early on into the potential booking process to gauge whether or not I’m the photographer they’re looking for. I really love to work with people who consider John and I trusted friends who have their best interests at heart (and are also wedding professionals!) rather than hired hands, so looking for “my people” helps immensely because our interactions never feel stiff or weird, because we’re on the same page in more ways than one. I also work well with vendors who all feel that we’re working on the same team (for the bride and groom) rather than working against each other’s interests.
Create a list of icebreaker questions
I love to ask our couples things about how they met, how they got engaged, and what they like to do for fun. Not only do I love hearing about them and getting to know them, it helps me find common ground, which makes it easier to chat easily!
Put yourself out there
I think for me, many of the best things in my life have happened because I just put myself out there and went for it. Sometimes life is about getting outside of your comfort zone and for introverts that might not always come as naturally as it would to other personality types. The times when I raised my hand to ask questions at a workshop I’ve attended or gone out of my way to meet someone new at an event, etc were the things that have really helped broaden my circle and put myself out there!
There are so many pros and cons to running a business with any kind of personality type, but I think as introverts it can be challenging to not give in to being shy or wanting to stay more behind the scenes. I hope that this post helps you put yourself out there in a new situation!!!