Have you seen the movie “Creed”? If not, it’s one that I definitely recommend you catching soon! So, I will start by telling you that if you haven’t seen the movie, I will do my best not to spoil it for you by discussing the ending but since I took home a few messages from the movie, I will need to explain why I learned what I learn, which requires me discussing the movie. With that, I wanted to share 5 things I learned while watching Creed this past weekend and how it relates to being a professional photographer.
1- You Need Someone That Believes in You
In the movie, that person for Adonis Johnson was Mary Anne Creed, the wife of the late Apollo Creed. Mary Anne found Adonis at his worse and on a dead end path and in constant trouble and she decided to pour into him anyway. See, Adonis wasn’t her son, but because his bloodline was connected to her husband’s she made a decision to take him in to her home and help him get his life right.
In photography, you need someone that believes in you! For me, that was my dad in the beginning. When I purchased my first camera, he spent time with me helping me to see light, understand composition and framing and interacting with my subjects. Although he was a film photographer, the principles of photography remained the same. Since then and because we live in two different states, I’ve had people more experienced that me in the industry pour their knowledge into me and help me grow by critiquing my work and watching my progress. So, my question to you is, who believes in you?
2- You Have to Believe in Yourself
Apollo Creed was Adonis’ dad, but he didn’t want to rest on the name alone. In fact, he wanted nothing to do with the name. Adonis wanted to make a name for himself and put in the work to be great by his own merit versus using his father’s name to carry him.
In photography, I am my worse critic because I know I can be better and I’m constantly pushing myself to be better. I come home from weddings and I analyze what went well and where I need to improve. Thankfully, my clients have been happy with their final product, but if I never pushed myself to be greater I would never be introduced to new opportunities. simply, I would grow stale and my business would dry up. I believe in myself, I believe in my talent, and I believe my hustle mentality is paying off!
3- Find a Mentor
In the movie, Adonis wanted to work with the best because he wanted to be the best. So who did he find? Rocky! He made a sacrifice by moving to Philadelphia, finding Rocky and expressing his passion and purpose in an attempt to get help. While he was originally met with resistance, his persistence eventually paid off.
One of the things I’ve learned on this photography journey is you can’t expect everyone to want to help you. Simply put, there are some more experienced photographers in the industry that aren’t going to help you. The key is to study the work of the photographers in the industry and figure out who you like and why. Then if they are the type to share their knowledge, use that opportunity to learn from them. Absorb as much as you can. But here’s the catch….that may no always be free! In fact, it may never be free. If someone is willing to spend time teaching you, that means they are not spending time in another area of their business. Be willing to pay for their time. Consider it an investment in yourself. Then when you have that opportunity, use it wisely. Apply the information you’ve learned and tweak as needed in order to grow!
4- Allow Yourself to Be Vulnerable
Unexpectedly, Adonis met Bianca and as with all movies, there is some type of love story that happens if you pay close enough attention. In this movie, Bianca- an aspiring singer- caught the heart of Adonis and he allowed himself to be vulnerable. While he made a few mistakes along the way, he realized after making those mistakes that she was important to him and he corrected his mistakes and opened up to create a beautiful story between the two of them.
5- Show Up!
When it came time for the most important fight of his life, Adonis showed up! Simply put. He trained, he believed in himself, he had others that believed in him and he found his mentor, but most importantly he showed up! He showed up to train, he showed up when he wasn’t sure if his idol would be there and he remained consistent.
As a wedding photographer, the most important thing I can do for a couple is show up on their wedding day. I don’t just mean, show up as in arrive, no I mean show up by giving all of me. This is the day that most brides have planned for, some even long before they were engaged, so I have to be ready to document their story. They trust me with this most precious beginning of their lives as husband and wife. For this reason, I don’t hang out late the night before a wedding and I don’t book events on the day of a wedding, so that I am not rushing to someone’s wedding or trying to leave their wedding early to get to another event.
There were other takeaways from the movie, but those are a few that stood out. If you’ve seen the movie, what did you takeaway?