If you know me then you KNOW how much I love Taylor Swift, and if this is news to you just check out how happy I look while at her concerts! While yes I do adore her songs, reputation is my favorite album of hers, my admiration of Taylor extends FAR beyond her talents as a musician. If all Taylor did was write music I enjoy there’d be no reason for me to write this article as a photographer.
The reason this article exists is because Taylor is an inspiration to me through her music and lyrics yes, but also through her actions. She’s a brilliant businesswoman, she is unapologetically authentic, and cares for herself and those around her. This description doesn’t even begin to do justice to the lessons I’ve learned as a fan of hers, lessons that I’ve implemented into my own life and business. So let’s take a deeper look into 10 of the most influential things that Taylor Swift has taught me about running my business!
My first point is something that I’ve learned specifically from Taylor’s Eras Tour, and it’s that it is totally normal to have different eras in your life and business. There have been MANY eras of Taylor Swift, hence the tour name, style, production, and execution of the tour. Something that I think is important to take away from this though is that Taylor isn’t performing songs from these different eras to make sure that every fan gets to hear their favorite T-Swift song. It’s to show that all these different eras are what made her who she is today, and that each era of life is an important step and part of your journey!
Applying this to my business has been a great way to balance myself and change how I view the work I do. Whether I have a busy era, a slow era, an era of huge and lively weddings, or an era of small and intimate elopements, each is and has been an important and necessary step of the journey to becoming the photographer that I am!
The next lesson I’ve learned as a fan and admirer of Taylor Swift is the importance of taking care of your people. Whether it’s handing out water bottles to audience members, or giving huge bonuses to each member of her road crew, taking care of those around her is something that has always been a top priority for Taylor. It’s SO refreshing to see this from someone as big and as successful as Taylor, and it’s what’s inspired me for years now as a wedding photographer to take care of my own people as well! I work with my clients every step of the way through their wedding planning process. From the moment they book me until their album is delivered, if they need something I’m here for them!
This extends past my clients though, like with Taylor and her crew. I know that when I’m booked for a wedding, especially a larger one, I’m going to be part of a wedding vendor team. That word team holds a lot of power, and I realize that giving my clients the best wedding experience possible not only means providing them with incredible photos, but also doing my part to make sure each vendor is able to perform their job at the highest level.
Something I think a lot of professionals, especially those who are active on social media, struggle with comparisons to others in their field. It’s not uncommon to see someone in your respective field that’s been there less time than you have grown their business before you, or have a post go viral before you do. Something Taylor Swift and her interactions have taught me though is that just because someone else is succeeding, it doesn’t mean you’re failing!
Back in 2021 a little song called Driver’s License by Olivia Rodrigo came out and instantly shot to the top of the charts. Olivia, who was 18 at the time, shared that she received a handwritten letter from Taylor. She didn’t share the literal contents of the letter, but said that Taylor “talks a lot about how, I think, you make your own luck in the world, and when you do kind things to others, good things come your way.” This act of building someone up, someone younger and completely new to this level of stardom, rather than being upset by their success is just another reason why I find Taylor to be SO inspiring. So when I see a photographer just getting started that posts a GORGEOUS gallery on their Insta, instead of getting jealous, I’m instead going to be commenting heart eyes and hyping them up!
Once you find success in an art form, product, or service it can be very tempting to stick to that working formula and never alter it. In terms of music there are many artists that have done this and built long-lasting careers off of songs and albums that sound pretty similar from one end of their career to the other. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this either, but something SO profoundly inspiring with Taylor Swift’s music career thus far is how varied it has been. It’s why something like the Eras Tour is more than just a concert, but a full on experience!
This level of variety in Taylor’s sound and style hasn’t come from nowhere of course. It was born from her growth as a person, but also from her willingness to try and create something different just for the sake of trying it! I find this so inspiring personally that I find myself wanting to try new things and challenge myself in my photography. I’m able to do this through things like styled shoots, photographer retreats, and learning from my stellar mentor Marissa Kelly Photography. I love these kinds of experiences where I can learn from and collaborate with different professionals in the greater bubble of photography. It’s a productive AND fun way to try new things and learn new skills that I then get to implement for real with my clients!
Your work, your clients, and your business are crucially important, yes, but none of those exist without you being there in the first place! Something that a lot of entrepreneurs struggle with early on is balancing starting and growing your business while also taking care of yourself. It doesn’t help when social media glorifies “the grind” making you feel like if you’re not working each and every waking moment your business is doomed to fail. This couldn’t be further from the truth though, and is something that I’ve learned in part thanks to Taylor Swift.
Taylor has talked multiple times about prioritizing taking care of herself in addition to working on her music and her brand. It’s a tough balance to maintain, which is why hearing someone at her level talk about its importance is SO inspiring to me! There’s another side of this though that she’s mentioned about how the beauty standards set for women, especially as they age, is something that just physically is impossible. Referencing actress Jameela Jamil, Taylor said “Reading her words feels like hearing a voice of reason amongst all these loud messages out there telling women we’re supposed to defy gravity, time, and everything natural in order to achieve this bizarre goal of everlasting youth that isn’t even remotely required of men.”
It’s an outlook and a worldview like this that helps me to keep myself balanced when living and working in this age of social media we find ourselves in now. Balancing building and growing your business, taking care of yourself, and not falling into the unreachable expectations that social media puts on us is a difficult balancing act. It’s one that takes constant effort and a lot of work, and something that Taylor has helped me realize the importance of.
One of the most important parts of owning your own business is knowing your worth and what you should charge your clients. When selling a product this is often a much simpler task as you can look at your competition and compare your quality to theirs and base your price accordingly. For someone that provides a service though, such as a wedding photographer like myself, this gets a little more difficult. While I do provide a product, aka your photos, a large part of my brand and business is the interaction and the experience I provide my clients. Even when looking at other photographers this is something that really isn’t comparable as no two people will provide the exact same client experience.
Being a fan of Taylor Swift and going to her concerts is in part how I learned to charge what I’m worth. While Taylor’s concert tickets are higher than the average concert, not including the resale prices of course as that’s a WHOLE separate thing, the experience you receive from the concert is what makes those tickets worth their price. It’s not just a concert where the artist performs their songs, maybe they interact with the crowd a little, they do an encore, and then call it a night. A Taylor Swift show is a large scale production. Especially when you take a look at the Eras Tour, the lighting, the outfit changes, the choreography, the background dancers, and of course Taylor’s stage presence all combine into an experience that no other artist provides.
Something that has always been a draw for me with Taylor Swift’s music is how fiercely authentic she is when it comes to her lyrics and songwriting. Some of my favorite songs include The Archer, Anti-Hero, Delicate, Wonderland, and Don’t Blame Me, each for their own reasons. As a constant though, Taylor is consistently authentic regardless of the song topic. Everything from her anxiety, the nature of human relationships, the sweet small moments that make up a relationship, and more make up a discography that is true to her. To quote Travis Kelce, “It’s a miracle the way she can turn life into poetry.”
For me and my business, I try to show up with the same level of authenticity and passion that she has in her songwriting. I’m always striving to capture my clients and their wedding day exactly as it happened. I want them to be able to relive each and every one of their favorite moments from their wedding day. I also don’t want to just be there capturing the photos, but actively adding to their day. Whether that’s by hyping my clients and their friends up on the dancefloor, or letting the couple have a moment together in private to take it all in.
Back in 2014 Taylor released her album 1989, which helped her break out of the country girl image she had prior. The album was massive and brought her to new levels of fame, fame that came with new challenges for her to deal with. Taylor was under constant scrutiny by the media after 1989 came out, to the point where she practically disappeared in 2016. This wasn’t Taylor hiding away though, she was going off to work. She didn’t let the media put her down, but instead made an entire album around the experience she was dealing with. This album of course is, my all-time fav, reputation. Taylor showed the media, and the world, that she wasn’t about to be bullied out of this stardom that she’d created for herself, and she did so through her own volition.
This Taylor Swift story has always inspired me and has made me take a different look at my business throughout the years. It’s so easy when something doesn’t go our way for us to shut down as a result. Taylor shows us a different path though. When the world is against you, you rely on yourself, and you prove the world wrong.
Strong messaging and lyrical themes has always been a part of Taylor Swift’s music, and that is especially true on the song The Man. A now favorite song of mine after seeing her perform it on the Eras Tour, the song focuses on the way the world treats women differently compared to men and the double standards we face on a daily basis. The lyrics “I’m so sick of running as fast as I can, Wondering if I’d get there quicker, If I was a man” stick out to me especially. As a woman business owner, mansplaining is a fairly frequent experience when talking with other business owners. When breaking into the world of entrepreneurship I had to hold my head high and put myself on maps that often are handed casually to male counterparts.
Rather than being discouraged by this though, much like Taylor, I find motivation in my womanhood. If you think about it, there was a time that someone like me, a single, mixed-race, woman, would have never been able to own her own business. I’m doing it though, and that’s pretty damn awesome!
Taylor Swift has reached unprecedented levels of success, both as an artist, but also as a businesswoman. This success and fame didn’t come overnight for her. It’s been a long road of hard work, learning, and growing to become the absolute powerhouse of a woman that she is. It’s that self-confidence and the trust she has in herself and her work that motivates me as a wedding photographer!
I know the experience I provide my clients on their wedding day, I know the quality of my photos means that they’re something the couple will be able to look at for years to come, and I know that I provide support, advice, and planning assistance from the moment I’m booked all the way through the wedding day. This confidence and trust in myself, much like with Taylor, has let me turn my passion into a successful career, and I have no intention of stopping now!
In terms of my photography, there’s one Taylor Swift lyric that really sticks out to me and is constantly in the back of my mind on a wedding day. From the song You Are In Love, the line “you can hear it in the silence” means so much to me. Weddings are on average a loud and boisterous celebration, but there are so many more moments on a wedding day that are just there, existing in the silence. It’s a stolen glance, it’s the way you squeeze each other’s hands during the bridesmaid speech, it’s a soft kiss during your sunset portraits. There are so many lines of your love story that you can’t hear, you can only feel them. I’m always trying to capture these moments for my couples on their wedding days. It’s these moments that give your wedding album the feels!
By now I’m sure you can see how inspirational Taylor Swift is both as an artist, but also as a businesswoman. Her career and her music have inspired and motivated me immensely throughout my life and my photography career. I hope through this article you’ve found some motivation from Taylor as well to implement into your life or your work! Check out my blog page if you’d like to see my work and get a look at the work that Taylor has helped inspire. If you’d like to book me for a photography session be sure to send me an inquiry through my contact page!