17 Reflections in Marketing + Memories + Life from 2017

My apologies if this gets a bit long – it’s a bit of a journal-esque share.

1. Humanity trumps everything.

I teach you to be more of yourself in your communication and I got lost in the shuffle myself in 2017. The root cause: doing too much, too fast.

My shares came from a place of RUSH-mode + I’ve evolved big time in 2016-2017. I felt a reader disconnect as a result.

This is where timeless content (aka connection pieces) are gold and I’m back to creating some of my own!

2. We can all be in the documentary photography umbrella, but value DIFFERENT parts of it

Some appreciate the technicality of the images – honesty, unbiased, traditional ethics. Some appreciate drawing from documentary as a tool (much like choosing to add some paint onto some pen-work).

Some value being a memorable, award-winning documentary photographer creating universally emotive work. Some simply want to bottle up their own family memories for themselves + their clients.

There’s room for us all.

3. There will be bullies.

To the person who shot down every thought I had in 2017 about memory preservation + documentary photography: SCREW YOU.

There. I feel better.

In all seriousness, this was a big thing in 2017… and not just for me.

We had an issue in my group where almost e-v-e-r-y-t-i-m-e I shared something heartfelt and Marie-y, there was a certain person who bashed what I said. I struggled with this, because it prevented me from sharing + showing up out of fear I would be ripped apart.

(yet scared to remove this person in fear I’d be on blast outside of the group)

Similarly, a handful in our community felt like they were dealing with “mean girls” in other communities within our genre around the whole “label” thing.

All that to say #photographfreely.

For every bully, there’s MANY who are thankful for you being you.

Pin this image so you can easily come back to learn from my reflections. 

4. Take one step forward.

There are 2 very special relationships I’ve gained in 2017 that changed my life literally: Nikki Elledge Brown + Susan Ferraro.

I worked with both ladies this year and gained too many nuggets to list here. I’ve give you with this one:

It’s not, “what do you want to be?” It’s, “who do you want to be?”

When you can get clear on the who, the what falls into place… and the HOW takes care of itself.

I spent most of 2017 working on this area of my life + promise to share more of my transformation in coming weeks.

You don’t need to see the whole path, just take one step forward.

5. Take Facebook off your phone.

This is the most magical thing. Also,”forget” your phone at home when you go out. People used to run all over town without cell phones, you can do this.

Allow your brain wander. Experience the joy of missing out.

6. Own your life. Make a choice.

It’s easy to get into the, “If I only had…more time, more childcare, more money…” mindset. The fact is, you’ve created your life and EVERYTHING you do next is your choice.

This was constantly reflected back to me in 2017 and as I mapped out the different categories in my life (marriage, kids, business, body, etc.), I could much easier step into who I wanted to be rather than focus on the lack.

Try it. You’ll gain more clarity than what you’d get out of paying for a mentor or coach!

7. Simple pictures with big backstories.

Those 5 words were a 2017 divine download and could not sum up the MARIE in my work better. This has meant less emphasis on well-rounded technical skill and has anchored me in the best way. I’ve let go of trying to make work – both the context and the approach – outside of my personal values. Meaning, I don’t have to practice layering for the sake of layering. I don’t have to try and create a universally emotion-evoking image.

If I’ve encompassed an honest experience of (my own) personal value in a picture, I’ve succeeded.

This has been HUGE.

Simple pictures with big backstories. This is me. Whole-heartedly me. For myself and for my occasional clients.

Do more of what’s YOU.

8. What you don’t do doesn’t diminish what you DO do.

I had a hard time showing up in the GPG group in 2017 (the group I lead with over 7k {mostly} documentary photographers inside). The fact is: I stopped taking on clients. I don’t want to work with them. I’m not saying never again, but not right now.

This made it weird showing up without being on fire churning out client work. “Shouldn’t I be if I’m leading convos around marketing communication?”

I give more value + make a bigger impact working directly with photographers on marketing, communication, and memory management. If I can help 5 photographers get 5 new clients, that means I’m helping 25 families.

  • I enjoy this part of photography more than client work – drawing out the heart of the photos on an individual basis and turning THAT into marketing communication.
  • I enjoy the ability to be home 99% of the time.
  • I enjoy picking up the camera when I’m in alignment with my life values, making pictures of them, and sharing that possibility with others.
  • I’ve enjoyed the conversations I’ve had in 2017 with photographers like Jessica Hachey, Stacey Ilyse, Katie Jett Walls, Kelly Haymes, Kirsten Lewis, Susan Kalina, and so many more.

I’m following what lights me up… and that just doesn’t include paid photography clients right now.

Even client-less, I can still rock your online presence like you’ve never thought possible + craft brand stories that make you memorable. I was doing that before photography anyway.

In 2018, I’m owning it.

When you feel like you “should” be doing something, ask yourself if this is fact or feeling. It’s ok to say no to things you don’t want to do without robbing you of what you CAN and want to do.

9. You don’t have to be ON all the time.

Let your brain LIVE and breathe outside of social media.

One reason I took Facebook off my phone, I felt pressure, maybe you have too, to pretty much post an AMAZING, new picture or epic blog post on the daily. For what? Attention? Validation? Acceptance? It felt more like an addiction that left me feeling sub-par, because I wasn’t churning out greatness like a factory. I decided not to engage in that behavior any longer.

YOU GET TO CHOOSE TOO.

Quality over quantity. And when you’re feeling “on,” you have the right to reserve the extra shares for when you’re not so “on.”

10. Journaling is transformative.

Journaling has ultimately been how I’ve gotten to know future Marie (Marie 3.0 as NEB would say) and my next steps in BEING her.

It doesn’t have to be EVERY day. It doesn’t even have to be for very long. You might not know WHAT to say.

Just start. Write out how you’re feeling about sticking points. Write to your past self. Listen to your future self. Visualize your future and write it out in past tense. I guarantee you’ll find nuggets of connection pieces to share after this AND transform into a better mindset!

11. Contact lists are still the best.

Out of all our marketing channels – social media, website, in-person workshops – the best way to connect and RE-CONNECT is through getting contact info and taking the initiative to follow up. That is, if you’re not all-business and allow YOU to shine through.

This is why I prefer a list of people you actually work through. You can send a “how ya doing?” Facebook Message, you can send a direct email to someone on your email list. Build up your contact list and WORK IT rather than waiting for business to come to you.

All your marketing channels should lead to your contact list. Try saying hello to 3 people a day for 2 weeks. See what happens.

12. Story seeds take the cake.

In 2017, I stepped outside of our photography community in my own self-development journey. This meant I had more opportunities to tell non-photogs about documentary photography. I played with how I introduced myself and hands down, the most effective way has been when I used my story seeds that we talked about in the Brand Story Workshop.

(BSW will come back in 2018 if you missed it)

13. Create rinse + repeat systems.

Now in our third year of business, we’ve got some marketing, revenue, and client experience systems down pat! It’s been wonderful to take the work we’ve already done and recycle + upcycle it in a way that brings new people into the community + new revenue in the bank with minimal effort.

I don’t see many people who have been in business awhile utilizing their own systems. I see a lot of re-inventing the wheel and starting campaigns from scratch.

You can make it all so much easier with systems. I show you how in MMS.

14. Go deep instead of wide.

A mistake I made was creating too many revenue streams too fast. What can I say? I’m a problem-solver by nature.

I’ve got a hunch you can relate to this one. You cannot possibly understand your client’s purchasing motives or build repeatable marketing systems if you’ve got 14 different packages to choose from.

My income could be substantially higher had I listened to my mentors and kept things simple until I build a sustainable, long-lasting system and then… and only then…. added to my revenue streams.

Go deep (perfect marketing, selling, and servicing a smaller amount of packages) rather than wide (creating too many options and lacking intel)

15. Photography is a healing tool.

For years, I was making pictures of what I wanted to remember. What I learned in 2017 was that I had some unresolved grief. When I realized this, it all clicked how photography has been my way of avoiding arrival to that place of “oh shit! that’s gone.”

Instead, I feel more in control of how I FEEL my values – the camera helps me acknowledge them today and this feels safe + secure as opposed to feeling sudden loss.

Whatever photography does for you – allow that to surface and be your 2018 expression.

16. Get yourself in the mood.

For shooting. For connecting. For writing. For sex. Whatever you hold yourself back from, YOU have total power to decide how you want to feel and BE it. I’ve spent a lot of time in the past waiting for the right time to feel like doing __________.

Or waiting for the right time to do something until all circumstances and the stars were aligned. In 2017, I learned how to manage my energy like never before.

I looked at what I do that’s: my flow state (using my gifts: shooting, editing, writing, speaking), my draining work (admin stuff, writing sales copy, engaging in commitments that make me feel like a performing monkey), and the sparky stuff that gets me into position to be in the flow state (journaling, going for a walk, watching This is Us, phone dates, laptop-free weekends).

Spend more time in your spark zone.

17. Shoot how it feels.

I learned this one from Kirsten Lewis in her final class on CreativeLive. What a powerful statement, right?! I think that one stuck with a lot of us and it’s surely shaped another perspective how I see a scene.

“Shoot how it feels,” Kirsten Lewis.

Wow that was a long one. If you’re still reading, cheers to you!

I’d love for you to comment below and tell me the BEST lesson you learned in 2017. Doesn’t have to be long, just one nugget. What’cha got?

Author: MarieMasse
I help client documentary photographers fine-tune their workflow + marketing game, so their work is filled with sessions that represent their voice + client values while earning a living. I shoot undirected, off-beat stories that aren’t preserved often enough (like the story of couples before starting a fam or becoming empty-nesters – a dream project of mine), so my clients’ old box of photos is a meaningful, visual diary of their life + legacy to leave behind.

Leave a Comment:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *