I was recently invited as a guest on the Light & Dark Photography Podcast, with John Mansfield, to talk about letting your values guide your business decisions. John is the owner and lead photographer at All Heart Photography. Through his podcast, he strives to help other photographers and entrepreneurs successfully grow their communities, and their businesses.
John and I first met in 2021 at United, a photography conference that was held in Phoenix, AZ by Showit. He had attended an in-home, same-sex, styled engagement shoot that I was hosting, and as the only other male photographer at the session, I immediately took a liking to him. I could instantly tell that John was a values-based photographer. Someone who dedicated all of his heart to his clients, and curated unique experiences that allowed their genuine, uninhibited selves to shine through.
So naturally, when John approached me about being on his podcast, I said yes emphatically! During the episode, we discuss how you can define your values, different ways that you can showcase them, the importance of passion projects, and much more.
You can listen to the full podcast episode with John and I, here!
But let’s get into it shall we?
The Importance Of Personal Projects
John and I touch on the importance of doing work or personal projects that inspire you. This is something that I’ve completely leaned into recently. As a result, it has completely changed the way in which I approach business.
Taking the time to work on personal projects that inspire me, regardless of how different they might be from my regular work, has allowed me to fall in love with the creative process all over again. They’ve allowed me to give more of who I am to those projects and to the couples who align with them as well.
I can promise that they will do the same for you, and both your clients, and your business will thank you for it in the long run.
Seeking Out Your Values
One of the hardest things for many of us is identifying our values. We might have a list of what we think our values are, but when put into practice, we may come to the realization that maybe we’re not as fiercely passionate, or loyal to those values as we imagined we should be.
The thing is, we are all human, and we are constantly evolving. Along with us, our values evolve as well, so from time to time, it might be a good idea to take inventory of what values you currently hold closest to you.
One way in which you can do this, is by coming up with a list of what you think your values are. Then see if you would be willing to defend them on a public stage against people who might not agree with you. Ask yourself, “Am I willing to go to bat for this”? From here, you can identify your most important values, and begin incorporating them into your business, and into your life.
Here are some examples of values that some businesses adopt/use to guide their decisions:
- Civil Rights (i.e. equality of rights for the LGBTQ+ community, gender minorities, racial minorities, etc.)
- Diversity & Inclusion (i.e. including different body sizes, diverse racial & ethnic groups, physical ability, etc.)
- Integrity (i.e. following laws and regulations for your business, not trespassing on locations, getting appropriate work visas for international work, turning down work in countries where you are unable to obtain legitimate work visas, etc.)
- Travel & Exploration (experiencing & respecting different cultures and becoming a better global citizen)
- Conservation (incorporating Leave No Trace principles to be a good steward of the earth)
- Timeliness/Responsiveness (showing up on time or early, sticking to deadlines, how quickly you respond to communications, etc.)
Showcasing Your Values
Once you’ve identified your values, you want to make sure that you’re not only talking the talk, but that you’re also walking the walk. Sharing your values will help you to not only attract the people who share them and want to work with you, but it will also repel the people who don’t.
A few simple ways you can showcase your values are:
- Using your words & including them on your website, social channels, communications, etc.
- Leading by visual example. Showing photos, designs, etc. that stay true to your values.
- Sharing stories & examples of how your values help guide your business decisions.
- Being consistent in standing by your values.
Just make sure that what you are sharing is an accurate representation of what you hold close. A lot of people don’t realize this, but your values come through a lot louder than you think just based on how you’re living and what you do. So ensure that you’re not going against what your values are.
You have to live, talk, and walk your values. How you interact with people has to reflect them, even outside of business. You have to live the values that your business has in everyday conversations, in the conversations that you have when booking your clients, through the wording in your captions, and on social media in general.
These are the easiest lifts and the first things that you can start to implement because you don’t need any sorts of visuals to back it up. You can slowly start to layer on visuals that do align with those values later on. It really just comes down to a holistic approach.
Defining your values, showcasing them, and doing work that aligns with them will attract the clients you want. Consequently, it also allows those who you don’t want, to be able to choose another vendor who aligns with them. And this ultimately ends up creating an opportunity for deeper connection and alignment, with both your clients, and their creative vision.
Did you enjoy this post? Check out similar posts here,