It's rarely talent alone that lands the job.
If I ever write a memoir, I'm going to call it, "My Baggage Comes As a Matching Set and My Pity Parties Are Catered." While I have a dream job, I've definitely cracked open the Ben & Jerry's on more than one occasion. Sometimes it's been because of my own mistakes or errors in judgment. Other times it was because of decisions that were completely out of my hands.
I know I'm not the only one who's faced situations like this.
Not all planners, venue coordinators, retailers, magazine and blog editors, or conference producers have good taste. And some simply just don't know what they don't know. Sad, but true.
If you are counting on someone in a "gatekeeper" role to always see that your photographs/films/cakes/designs/insights/products are legitimately better in technical quality/taste/actual facts/materials, you will, at times, wind up disappointed and mystified.
Talent still matters in the long run, obviously. Never stop learning and pushing yourself to be better. But also, marketing matters. Networking matters. Being a team player matters. Being pleasant to be around for 8-18 hours a day matters.
You can be all these things, and sometimes you will still lose a wedding to a photographer with 100k Instagram followers who is charging twice what you are because of their popularity but whose photos are just plain bad. The saying "everybody wants what everybody wants" is true and sometimes that includes the wedding industry pros who are supposed to have better taste as well as advanced knowledge and insight into what you do.
It's rarely talent alone that lands the job, as seemingly unfair as that may be. Don't allow that to make you cynical. Throw yourself a pity party for 20 minutes and then get back to work.
Originally published September 2018