How to Be a Successful Wedding and Elopement Photographer | Workshop, Education, and Tutorials

Yosemite elopement photographer at Taft point Henry Tieu Photography

This, my very first blog post as a journal, truly in the form of Henry’s Diary, is dedicated to you, my fellow creatives who struggle to find their voice in this saturated industry and also to make a living out of this.

As many of you know, I haven’t been in this business that long. By the time this article is posted, I am in the business for exactly 2 years and 3 months. And fuck no, this post is not about “how great Henry is”, this is more of “Fuck, I worked my ass off” and I know you have too.

So please read this article and consider it as a little guide from me to you on how to shift negativities out of your life so you can Own Your Shit. Bookmark it and come back later to it when you need it the most

1) Surround yourself with those who can lift you up

In the beginning when I first started my photography career, I can’t tell you how many people I have reached out so I can second shoot for them or how many wedding venues I reached out so I can set up a styled shoot. I can’t tell you how many “No” I have gotten, or worst, ghosting. 

This industry is such a cut throat industry. I remember those late night anxiously waiting to hear back from people I looked up to but no one responded. I remember those times I almost gave up. 

It was so fucking hard. I feel like my career won’t be where it is today without all the people who stuck by my side from the very beginning. 

And for you, that could be your family members, your spouse, your co-workers. You don’t need someone in the industry to believe in you. You need you to believe in you

If you have interacted with me on Instagram, you probably have noticed how no matter how busy I am, I always try to respond to those who are kind enough to slide into my DM to share some kind words or those who are brave enough to reach out and ask questions. (With that being said, I gotta be fair to myself and only answer questions that are short, fair, and not time-consuming; I have my own family and clients to tend to)

I know what it’s like to feel ignored. I know what it’s like to feel small, unheard, unnoticed.

So I challenge you to lift one another up, interact with others. If you see something pretty, say something pretty. Acknowledge someone’s moment of success, share the celebration.

Wedding and elopement photography tips and tricks from henrysdiary Washington elopement photographer

2) Prove ‘em wrong

Back to the topic of this cut-throat industry. I remember one time I saw this gorgeous location by the Columbia River Gorge from an instastory. This one photographer and event planner put up this gorgeous styled shoot and I asked them where this location was. They told me the name of the town this place was in. Turns out, this town was 2 hours away from the actual location. 

You see. It totally changed the way I view them. From someone who I used to look up to now turned into “I lost all kind of respect to you”. I see you sis, I see you.

Since we are on the topic of location, part of my elopement photography services is that I invest a lot of time in doing research to find unique locations for my couples. I believe in hard work. I believe in dedication. Therefore, I am not one who usually share my secret locations. And I am here to own that fact about me. With that being said, I don’t lie to people. I don’t tell bullshit to others. I believe in community competition but I’m also realistic about lazy people who want easy answers and all they want is free knowledge from my hard work.

So for those who look down on you because you’re young or new or both, pay them no mind.

I want to challenge you to shift your focus and energy into what matters: your art and your business. 

For those who struggle with vendors won’t refer clients to you because you don’t have a portfolio to support your art yet, go find your own clients. For venues who don’t collaborate with you, go find your own epic locations for your couples. For all the “no” you get, find your “yes” in your own unique way.

3) Drama – It’s always around

Let me be the “Ma” in “Drama’ and be your “Ma” for a second: Stay the fuck away from it. 

Whether it’s other photographers who try to drag you down or give you backhanded compliments, trust me, a lot of time it’s not at all about you but rather, it’s about them. It’s either because they try to stay relevant or because those words are rooted from insecurity and jealousy.

It’s middle school and high school all over again. When the bullies bully others, it’s so they can hide away from their insecurities.

It’s easy to say and hard to remember. I get it. It’s because something about being human is that you can get 100 positive comments and everything is fine but the minute you get 1 negative comment, we tend to gravitate towards that. Those negative thoughts linger. They’re like mosquitos in a summer night. They won’t go away and they hug the heck out of us.

It’s ok. Stay away from them. Don’t participate. Don’t give in. Go back to bullet number 1 in this blog post : Surround yourself with those who can lift you up

If this blog post has helped you in anyway, I would love to know. Share with me in the comment below. And don’t forget to share with a friend who needs to read these tips and tricks.

Make sure you follow along to this blog for more posts on educational materials. For other wedding and elopement photography education opportunities, make sure you check out my workshop at Hey Darling Workshop and don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube Channel

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