This month on my journey to something new, things have been good. Better than last month. I did some shooting, ordered some marketing materials, worked in the business as well as on the business, and found the most amazing gay bar that I plan to collaborate with in a few months.
But also, the inevitable happened.
Let me back up. A lot of people have told me that boudoir for men is a great idea. Gay friends, straight friends, fellow photographers, lots of support for trying something new. I haven’t heard much negative feedback, except that time my used-in-an-emergency chiropractor told me that shooting boudoir is awesome, but shooting men is gross and creepy. Pretty easy to disregard that, believe it or not.
Then a fellow photographer reached out to me last week. He is someone I respect, a big name in his niche and market, and very successful. He offered me some advice, which I always welcome. But the advice was to change directions. “What is your obsession with making men into models? Why are you trying to market to regular men? Regular men will never buy. Is money a motivator? If it is, then put a spin on a market that already exists, creating a new market is just so hard. Maybe you should shoot single dads with their kids. If money isn’t a motivator then definitely, keep doing it. If it is, you are going in the wrong direction.”
::watches confidence shatter all over my unfilled dayplanner::
Am I on the wrong track?
Well, am I? Is this another one of those dumbass ideas I have that I pour money and time into and eventually have to swallow it down and try something new? Will regular guys go for this, or do I need to fight with getting model-types to pay me, one itty bitty sale at a time? Should I shoot dads with their kids, even though the thought of photographing a child makes the cells in my body start to explode?
The answer is no.
All niches were created by someone. Sue Bryce created modern glamour. Annie Leibovitz created the intimate celebrity portrait. Anne Geddes created highly stylized newborn portraits. And people are making a ton of money shooting those exact same niches that were built over YEARS of hard work, and plugging along. They are THE NAME in those niches. Because they pushed through, they did what they wanted to do, and they stepped over the money that was offered for the work they didn’t want to do. Most importantly, they didn’t give any fucks about what anyone else thought of their path.
I might not be the next Sue Bryce, and that’s fine. But I will continue to avoid the work I hate, promote the work I love, and step over the easy money. It won’t be painless, and it will take time – after all, I have to learn who my client is, what they need, how I can serve them, how I can solve a problem they don’t even know they have, how to talk to them, how to reach them, and a whole mess of other unknowns. That means I will be throwing some shit in the air to see what sticks, and learning as I go.
The great news is inquiries started rolling in this month. I have had fantastic response to my spin on a model call, and not just from model-types. From regular guys, who are looking to gift their spouses and feel great about their bodies. My plan to treat boudoir for men the same as I do boudoir for women seems to be a good choice, and will continue to be one of my marketing messages.
So that’s where I’m at. It’s slow, but it’s moving forward, and that is more than I expected in the first 3 months of trying. For that I am grateful. ::confidence restored::