If I could only help you with one thing, it would be to help you avoid burning out, and keeping your passion for photography.
Far too often photographers burnout after only a few years.
Something that started out as fun and exciting turns into drudgery.
I mean, if you were an accountant you would kind of expect your work to be tiresome and boring (heehee) but not photography! You gift and passion and love for photography can bring you and your clients and your family so much JOY and the longer you are enjoying photography, the more joy there is in the world right?!
Ok, so here’s what happens in many instances…
A new baby is born.
Mama starts getting into photography to capture all the precious moments of her sweet baby.
Mama posts said photos on Instagram and Facebook and all her friends and family tell her what amazing photos she takes.
Mama learns more and more about photography and loves taking photos even more.
Friends and family start asking this Mama to take photos for them.
They ask how much she charges.
Mama says she doesn’t charge anything because this is not a business, it’s just for fun. She’s happy for the opportunity to practice.
More and more friends and family and the occasional random person ask Mama to take photos for them.
Mama notices she has spent quite a bit of money and time on her craft and decides that if someone offers to pay, next time she will accept.
Mama gets a few people who are demanding and picky about the photos she has taken for them, despite hardly paying her anything.
Mama starts resenting the amount of time she is sitting at her computer.
Mama starts feeling frustrated with her work. She has a few areas where she feels stuck and she either never wants to take another photo in her life, or she wants to get better, darn it!
Mama invests in more photography education and a new lens that is sharper.
The neighbor down the street whose photos you took last year, now asks if you will do it again.
You do not feel like the $100 they paid last year is worth it to you but you don’t quite feel like a ‘real photographer’ yet so you hesitate to tell them you have raised your prices.
You decide to tell the neighbor that this year you charge $250. They hire you, and YOU promptly nit pick your work and tell yourself that you’re not good enough to be charging what you’re charging.
You spend way too much time at your computer fretting over the photos and berating yourself for what you should have done differently.
Your husband asks you if you realize how much time you are spending editing photos for other people and lovingly points out that you wouldn’t even being making minimum wage if you added up all the hours.
You realize he’s probably right, but that this is just a temporary learning phase and things will definitely get better.
You are scrolling through the photos on your computer and realize that while you have hundreds and hundreds of amazing photos of clients and friends and family…the photos of your OWN family…are all quick snapshots, on your iphone.
Meanwhile, 5 other friends ask you to take their family photos. This spurs you on and makes you feel like maybe you aren’t THAT bad after all. MAYBE, just maybe, you have some talent and could make some money doing this.
At this point there are some different paths you could take…
FREQUENTLY TRAVELED PATH:
Compare your work and your photography to other photographers in your area. How much are they charging? Are they better than you? How busy are they? (The comparison trap is no bueno!!!)
Compare your work to other photographers on Instagram and wish you could be more like THEM.
Keep booking sessions. The more the better. That means you’re successful right? That means you’re good enough right?
Work yourself to exhaustion while charging barely enough to equal minimum wage once you pay taxes and account for expenses and time.
Decide, this isn’t worth it.
Put down your camera.
THE BETTER PATH:
Take some time to think about all the wonderful things photography has brought you this far.
Think about what direction YOU want to go with your photography and WHY.
Ponder on this.
Figure out what aspects of photography truly bring you JOY.
If you decide to continue on with your business, set it up so that you are compensated well and doing the type of photography that feeds your soul. (AND how much work you want to take on to achieve the life balance you want.)
If you decide not to continue on with your business, plan in advance how you will respond when others ask you to share your photography skills. Don’t feel guilty.
Either way, when someone asks you to photograph something, if it’s for a situation you haven’t planned for, take some time to think about how you want to proceed. DON’T answer in the moment and regret it later!
Continue growing and experimenting and having FUN with your photography!
Over time, develop a clientele that absolutely adores you and your work and with whom you LOVE working with!
Find your happy place for pricing.
Congratulate yourself on finding a way to make decent money (or obscene amounts of money…depending on your goals) doing something that brings you and others SO MUCH joy!
Afterword: I wrote this blog post based on a recent photo coaching session. I covered lots more in this particular session with Christina and Alicia, but this is what really stood out to me that I wanted to share with everyone. If you would like to watch the entire coaching session that is a little over an hour, join Camera Mama Coaching. In this session I coached these two women on the following topics: How to say no and set boundaries with what photography work to accept. Realizing who you are saying ‘no’ to when you say ‘yes’ to a shoot and evaluating if it aligns with your goals. How to price yourself and how to add a TON of value for your clients. I share my screen and show exactly how much I charge for everything and what products I offer my clients. What professional printing labs I use for different print products. (I am an open book!)
I am right here on this journey with you! I also shared in this session why every.single.one of the family photos I took of my family (with a tripod and remote) was BLURRY & what I will do in the future to avoid that. (And why it wasn’t actually a big deal and no one but me will ever notice! Perspective I tell ya!) If this sounds like content you want access, join us! You can not only watch previous recordings of coaching sessions like this one (TONS of them!), but YOU can get coached too!
Please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any questions about what Camera Mama Coaching is all about!
Xxo, Rebecca Franson, Camera Mama founder
P.S. The colors in the recorded Zoom call are not super accurate…much more muted than in actuality. Just an FYI…it doesn’t really affect the main content of the video, just keep that in mind when we are discussing photos!
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