Whoopsie… Here’s a post I neglected to publish in JANUARY. Forgive me… Should I blame the neighborhood deer?
I’ll forewarn you, this post is a bit long so sit back and enjoy an ice cold pop.
The month is almost over. I dream of posting daily, but my crazy schedule won’t allow me to. Tax time is also knocking at my door (and everyone else’s for that matter). The early months of the year is a perfect time to sit back evaluate and plan ahead. It also gives me time to think of ideas and marketing strategies.
Many have asked me questions about photography and the business side of it all. When it comes to photography I always have a mouthful to say, I’ll try to keep it short this time. I’ll even sprinkle photos here and there.
Let me preface by saying I am in no way a business guru. I’ve taken a ton of classes throughout high school and college. I continue to learn from taking classes, attending workshops, talking to others, and good ole research. I’ve made mistakes at times and use those errors as a learning process. I thank God that my income is not what keeps our family afloat. Though, I know fellow photographers who have to maintain a certain amount of clients in order to support their livelihood. I can’t imagine the stress of needing a certain amount of clients in order to pay the bills.
I never planned to have a business. At times I have to really sit back and say “Wow, lil’ ole me”. I spent many hours trying to figure things out, camera, photoshop, etc. My husband gently told me it was taking over my time and costing us lots of money. I had to re-evaluate (and do so ALL the time) and prioritize my time. Sometimes I wonder if I should just stop it all…but I’ve decided I love it too much. Not just taking pictures, but meeting strangers and taking their pictures. It all brings me so much joy. So I limit what I take on, and I am mindful of my computer time editing photos. I still don’t identify myself as having a “job” because its’ just doing something I love and I happen to get paid for it. My “work” hours are naptime and after bedtime. When it does trickle over into family time, I become cranky momma, and I don’t like her and neither does my family.
It has been difficult for me to figure out what I want to charge. It was important for me to stay home with my children. Education, after-school activities, home decor, camera equipment etc. all have a price tag. I wanted to be able to stay home and help with various bills. All that said, I am not the photographer for the thrifty person, and I’ve become ok with that (though I felt guilty for quite a while), taking into account that it takes time away from my family. When they are strangers, they pay full price. They have sought me out, and they are willing to pay. To make it less awkward on myself, I don’t do business with those in my church family, but will do a professional trade or refer them to my other photographer friends. I even had a friend show interest, tell me I was out of her price range, and I referred her to a friend who is just starting out. I have no problems doing that–I get it! I want people to have great pictures, but I just can’t do it all. I have never charged family members a penny, and many close friends I gift on my own accord. It is my favorite gift to give those I am closest with. Once again, the mister reminds me that though it is good to be giving, I simply can’t give all that I want to.
Moving on….those unsure whether or not this is a business for them, here are what sucks your time:
A lot of people don’t realize that a shoot is a lot more than just a shoot. There are so many things and many hours that go into just one session, so here is a breakdown of what each shoot consists of:
1) emailing back and forth to set the date, time, location, clothing suggestions, etc. (this could be 2 or 3 emails….or it could be 20 or more).
2) driving to and from each session
3) actually shooting at the session
4) depositing checks
5) editing/prepping images for the sneak peeks on my blog
6) weeding out the not so great and editing the rest of the images
7) uploading all of the photos to the online gallery
8 ) emailing the client the gallery with all of the detailed info
9) packaging orders
10) Setting up a delivery/pick up time
11) backing up client files to external hard drives and burning backup discs
12) updating my website and facebook page