A man has at least made a start on discovering the meaning of human life when he plants a shade tree under which he knows full well he will never sit.–D Elton Trueblood
I would rather earn 1% off a hundred people’s efforts, than 100% of my own efforts.–John D. Rockefeller (arguably the most successful man in American history)
We have a policy, philosophy, and practice here at The Concierges: we share. We share information, we share ideas, we share documents, we share things that have worked and things that have not worked, we share templates, we share hopes, we share our days, we share bad dreams, we share props, we share anything that might help a fellow photographer, wedding coordinator, or business person. The people that come to join this company and this family all have to be good at sharing, you know why? They all share me first.
I am integrated into the businesses of 15 photographers. FIFTEEN. I have my hands in everyone’s business, literally, and I see it all, and you know what I see the most? That when one of us raises our game, we all benefit, because we all gain from their knowledge. Can you imagine what the world would be like if that was a worldwide policy? If the academic system in Japan reached over to us and said, “Here’s what’s working for us, why don’t you try this.” If the most peaceful nation in the world reached out to the most destructive and said, “Here, take a look at our policies and why they’re working for us.” If the people who made Hondas hooked up with the people that make every other car opened up their labs and said, “Here’s why our cars last forever, this is what we do.” Imagine that for one minute! All education systems in the world operating under the system proven best, all the countries on the globe installing policies that have proven to be the most effective, and all cars at every price point lasting as long as a Honda. Why DON’T we live in that world?!
In photography I’ve seen a disturbing trend, that frankly I find incredibly stupid. (Yep, said it) Photographers tend to be very hush-hush about their ideas and policies and strategies because “someone might steal them”. Um. I have seen everyone’s photography business, no one has some incredible original idea, people. You all copy each other, you all obsessively stalk each other’s blogs, and you all raise your game to the person you’ve deemed your competition. You all use the same companies, the same templates, the same steps–it’s ALL the SAME.
What “secret” do you think you’re holding onto that 25 other people don’t already have, and that you didn’t come up with on your own in the first place? You send out little personalized goodies to brides—guess what, so does everyone else. You send out personalized questionnaires before a session–guess what, so does everyone else. You buy vintage actions to color correct this month–guess what, SO DOES EVERYONE ELSE! I feel like we’re dealing with Wonka and his Everlasting Gobstopper! Well, I can tell you firsthand, no one has an Everlasting Gobstopper idea brewing, no one is Napoleon in photography, and no one, not one person, gets to the top by hoarding their toys in the corner like an insecure child.
So, since I don’t like a complainer that doesn’t do something, here’s what I’m doing: I’m offering free ideas, documents, and anything else I come across (that isn’t copyrighted), and making it downloadable to photographers that need them, after I’ve adapted things for myself and my clients. You know why? Because the people I work with are good enough to book clients off talent, not super-secret-Gobstopper-ideas. We get work from their skills and beautiful images, not their mission impossible folder of ideas hidden under their beds. Which, in case I didn’t say it, is rid-ic-u-lous. Your folder is a knock-off of ten other people that had it before you anyway.
First up: a wedding contract I’ve been working on for a month, that combines the contracts of the amazingly open and fabulous Melissa Koehler, Bernadette Uzcategui, Erin Venters, and Kim Bee. I took the best parts, the most comprehensive parts, reworded bits and created a mega-contract, that should cover just about any issue that comes up in a wedding. I’ve highlighted the areas that a photographer would need to fill in for themself, to make it easily adaptable for anyone.
It’s mine. I’ve worked hard on it for a month now, and it’s something I created all on my own…..but now it’s anybody’s. So if you need a wedding contract, need pieces of one, or know someone else who does, here you go.
From my desk to yours: blank wedding contract
Life is short people, if this is your biggest problem, man, I wish I had your problems.