DO NOT READ THIS!
I know you don’t have time to read this!
Your life is crazy busy. We lurch from one thing to another, one appointment after the next, squeezing in our hectic social lives around an ever increasing workload. We check our phones on the go, wondering what we’ve missed, keeping tabs on Facebook and Instagram to keep up with the latest gossip or news. We scroll so quickly through Instagram that it’s almost pointless.
We don’t stop and smell the coffee. We don’t pause, halted in our tracks by some amazing image that took someone’s every ounce of creativity to produce. Occasionally we double tap… ya know, to show we’re still there.
We check social media whilst pretending to spend time with the kids or our loved ones. We are overwhelmed at every turn. We are tuned in, yet spaced out. It’s an avalanche of information and IT NEVER STOPS!
Every week I post a new blog with pictures of beautiful weddings and emotional moments and you know, what? No-one cares. Not really. Yeah it’s some beautiful girl in a wedding gown, surrounded by happy people… You’ve seen it a thousand times. I get it.
Every day I look at my IG, FB and Twitter feed and I can see a hundred other photographers posting pretty much the same thing…
all doing the same stuff…
all saying the same thing…
“it was an amazing day and there was so much love in the room and everyone was so incredible and the party was off the scale…. and…. and… and….”
And yet… no-one, NO-ONE is reading it! And I don’t blame them.
As a wedding photographer, I am consumed by the job. Like you, I do not have the time. Instagram twice a day. Facebook twice a day. Respond to comments within an hour, scroll through the feed, comment, like, engage. IG and FB stories, wedding fairs, brochures, how to brand, how to market, which latest bit of tech is going to be the next big thing, edit, sell, edit some more, Skype, FaceTime, invoicing, questionnaires. Keep changing, keep moving, embrace the new, embrace new cameras, keep up, enter competitions (even when you don’t believe in them), network, network, network and then SEO. It never stops.
When it comes to crafting a beautiful story about a wedding day, most photographers are a slave to the algorithm.
You see, Google doesn’t know I’m a story teller. Google can’t tell if my photography is good. Google just knows whether or not I have the right keywords and alt tags so it can tell you that I’m a slave to the SEO.
Google doesn’t know how hard I work to shoot beautiful incidental moments, or how i stand in the pouring rain shooting the group shots. It doesn’t know that I wait for the perfect moment, hug emotional mums, put on grooms buttonholes, dance with bridesmaids and hand out tissues when the bride has forgotten hers.
Google just knows whether or not I have the right key words in the right place.
And if we don’t…
Well we’re penalised and Google sends our sites down to the depths of despair (otherwise known as anything after page 3). Is it any wonder we’re a slave to the ever changing algorithm and that we’re no longer telling our story? No longer engaging with our clients?
Well, I’ve had enough. Google can kiss my story telling arse!
Years ago, I used to be a professional writer. I wasn’t an amazing writer but I got to call writing a living. And I loved it. I loved the buzz of making words into something that people actually wanted to read. Paragraph after paragraph of creative storytelling – and crafting a story is an art form which requires skill and dexterity to keep your audience engaged right to the end.
But I’m worried we’re both losing the ability to tell stories and, even more worrying, we’re losing the ability to spend any time reading them.
Because we don’t have time.
Which, when you think about it, is a barefaced lie. Complete and utter tosh.
We’re just not making time. We’re just prioritising other stuff.
Centuries ago, our forefathers told each other stories, and history was passed down through generations. As kids, our parents read aloud to us from big colourful books…
I’m still reading aloud to my 12 year-old daughter, though admittedly, the books have become more interesting and we now have a shared loved of Harry Potter and the Golden Compass.
But somewhere along the way, we have lost our love for stories or rather, we have lost the time we spend discovering the stories. And that makes me sad. Because without the story, we wouldn’t know that the bride’s brother walked her down the aisle because her father had died. Without the story, we wouldn’t know that the groom’s best man flew half way across the world just to be by his side for one incredible day.
Despite our beautiful images, we’re only telling half the story, and personally, I want to tell ALL the story.
So today, I’m making a stand. Today, I’m going to tell you a story. Sod the Google algorithm, sod the time…
Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin…………….click this > Fragments – The Letter.