I have been in the business of photography for nearly nine years, pretty much just learning and tweaking as I go. (Ha! Tweaking just self-corrected to twerking! So glad I caught that!)
Anyway, I've read A LOT of blog posts and magazine articles along the way. I've been to workshops and conventions. I've tried this product and that, ordered all kinds of prints from many different labs, changed my business structure so many times, I can't even count. One thing you'll hear over and over is that you have to value yourself, your work and your time, and you absolutely do.
Here's what's been bugging me for a while. Along the way, you'll probably hear that you should not let go of those digital files, that you should insist on prints, prints, prints. Oh, and don't forget, if you aren't doing in-person sales and insisting that your client place their order right then, then you're missing out on money!
Believe me when I tell you I have tried it all. I own a projector and a portable screen. I've had people over to my home. I've offered gallery wraps and metal and acrylic prints. I've designed holiday cards. I've been stingy with digital files. Don't misunderstand, I get the logic and psychology behind the sales strategies, and if you are good at it, then more power to you!
But that is not for me.
For me, valuing myself means doing the work I love in a way that makes me feel happy and free. It means not feeling like I'm holding images hostage, and it means feeling truly good about the work I do for others. I don't want to only do that work for only the wealthiest families. I cannot even afford myself!
I've restructured my business to better reflect my values. I love photography, and, even more, I love photos. More than that, I love books of photos. Every time I go home I look through the photo albums. Every time.
I want you to have amazing photos. I want you to have the high resolution digital files, so you can use them for cards, collages, coffee cups, birthday gifts, party favors, wedding slideshows... And I don't want you to have to go on a payment plan to get these images of your family! But here's the thing... I want you to have a book. I want to photograph the little details during our shoot that will help you tell a story and include them in the book that I will make for you. Why? Because you may never get around to making the book yourself, and I don't want these images sitting on a computer forever, or worse, lost in a drawer never to see the light of day.
It may sound insane to give so much, but it feels awesome.
Something else that makes me feel great? I still have my fine art Signature Sessions. Though I am totally comfortable not releasing digital files for art pieces, I have reorganized to make these unique photo sessions more accessible for more people--something that is still very special but not so out of reach.
I am valuing my work by trusting myself, by following my instincts and by doing what feels right for me. Surely, I'm not alone.
Want to see what's new? Click HERE to read a bit more about the way I'm doing things now.