The biggest problem with not caring what others think of you is that others care what others think of you and you cannot control that. In business there are some people who really try to please everyone. Then there are some who have no clue what customer service is. Then there are clients who really do not understand what it is you offer and just think that all people in your profession are the same. So how do you get around all of this?
I personally think it all comes down to you being as up front as possible about who you are and what you do. I don’t hide the fact that I shoot nudes, art, fashion, editorials, weddings, portraits, and everything else I can think of. I am a photographer, I take pictures. I am an artist as well so I need to express what is in my head through my chosen medium. And just because I say I am an artist does not mean that everything I do is art, but it is all run through this brain filter in my head.
There are people who are turned off by the fact I photograph a lot of women in very little to no clothing. Granted, my boudoir clients feel very comfortable with me knowing how many people I have worked with this way. Most of my wedding clients don’t mind either, or they don’t care. Mostly because I don’t hide it so if they see it they either won’t book me if they’re offended or pretend they didn’t see it.
But when it comes to the others who care what others think, this is when it gets tough. I have a project that I really want to shoot. It is a fashion project with kids. It is very cool, very artsy and totally innocent. But I know that someone will be offended that I am the one who took the photos of children. After all, I photograph nude women so in their mind I must be a pervert, and I photograph kids too so therefore they will automatically judge me for this. I have lived by the philosophy “What other people think of me is none of my business” for a very long time. The problem is that these other people will often judge you without any knowledge of what you are doing and assume you are doing something wrong. This is how rumors begin and this is when the other people get on my nerves.
I have had people accuse me of all sorts of things out of lack of knowledge and assumption. I’ve never had a client accuse me of anything, it is always an outsider who views what I do from a distance. I was photographing a fully clothed model for a fashion magazine and someone called the cops saying I was photographing under-age nude girls. This was a false report but the cops still harassed both the model and myself. Other photographers have assumed I do what I do for all of the wrong reasons and have asked my wife how she can deal with me.
The bottom line is that you cannot control what others will think nor what others will say. And lets face it, there are a lot of misguided idiots out there! People believe what they want to believe. Some people are quick to judge and you can’t change their mind ever. “I’ve made up my mind, don’t confuse me with facts.”
I know some people like what I do, I get a lot of emails regarding it and have had over 100 boudoir clients this year, 20 publications, shot several weddings and portraits and many more sessions still scheduled for this year! So what I have learned over the years is to not worry about what others will say. If I am doing right by my clients and staying true to myself then I am happy. If people who don’t know me really want to take all that time to judge me, I can’t stop them. I can only keep on doing what I am doing and not let it phase me. If you choose to be an artist then you must accept the fact that others will want to criticize you and assume your intentions are bad. It has been this way throughout history and I don’t see it stopping anytime soon. My only hope is that one day I piss off enough people to where I can really raise my rates! 😉