I’m going to be honest with you. Being around a ton of people and interacting socially with them is not at the top of my list of things I love doing. You know what is, though? Creating art and memories. It’s the main reason I fell in love with photography. But, being an Orlando photographer means interacting with people on the regular and as an introverted photographer, that’s not easy.
In every course I’ve ever taken from other wedding photographers, they always stress one thing: put yourself out there. Network. Make connections with others. Use a higher register super happy tone. For an introverted photographer, that’s probably the HARDEST things to do. So, I just frankly don’t do it. Don’t get me wrong. At weddings or session, I always talk to other vendors, but I’m not going out and invading their place of work to communicate. I’m myself in front of them and build my connection on site when I have downtime. Cold calling and saying “Hey, can I come meet you and hang out with you to build our connection?” is just straight up terrifying. Rejection for an introvert is scary. As an introverted photographer, there are other ways of connecting and booking.
I’m what you could call your textbook nerd. I love work place comedies (hello, Michael Schur Universe), making lists and organizing binders, fast math, podcasts galore, and so on. I’m awkward and show it in my movements. I’d rather sit at home cozied up with my pup and fiancé binge-watching a show than go out on the town with friends. That’s actually how I spend most nights. Social interaction can be terrifying for me and I get a lot of anxiety building up for wedding days and portrait sessions, even though they always end up amazing. So, if you’re anything like me (or a TOTAL extrovert), you’re probably wondering: How the heck are you succeeding as a professional Orlando photographer?
Here’s the secret. I’m not alone in being an introvert. I’m not the only one who stays home instead of going out, or nerds out over the smallest things. I hate being in front of the camera and feel like I’m going to look like I’m crazy. There are clients and vendors out there JUST like me. And THOSE are the people I work with the most, because we truly connect on a meaningful platform. They are my ideal client, and honestly, I’m their ideal Orlando photographer. If you pair up an introverted client with a super extroverted Orlando photographer, it can become uncomfortable with them on total separate wavelengths. Vice versa too.
Let’s look at clients for an example. I treat them just like I would want to be treated during a session. I get super nervous being in front of the camera. Bad dad jokes make me laugh because they are so awkward like I am. So, I tell a few to break the ice. Let me tell you, it works WONDERS. My clients feel like I really get them and I understand that it’s weird getting photos done. It puts them at ease. Kids and I get along perfectly because most are super shy when the camera comes out (and we both dig bubbles). Going through the awkward teenage faze? I’m still there at 25. There’s always going to be a professional out there just like you, and a client who meshes well with me.
I’ve been super lucky over the past 9 years that I’ve been able to find those introverted clients like me. I’m still best friends with a lot of them to this day. We may only text or engage on social media, but that’s just our personalities. You CAN be a successful introverted photographer. Those clients refer their friends and your lifelong dream of clients just like you will come true, WITHOUT the awkward cold calling. You don’t have to be super outgoing and lively. Don’t be afraid to put your art out in the world and book some amazing people like you. I started this business as a homeschooled student in 2010, and it’s been the greatest thing that has ever happened. Find your ideal clients like yourself and keep creating memories.