What is important to you?

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So what is important to you?
Obviously photography is pretty high up on the list or you would not be reading this blog. Im wondering what else is important to you…

Is it your husband? Your children? Your friends? Time for yourself? No matter what it is, it is often hard to find time for it. Between shooting, editing, and daily chores we often loose time and we miss out on whats most important.

I wish I had super flower power that could give me extra time in the day to allow me to snuggle with my husband, take care of my seven week old son, get housework done, shoot and edit AND give me some down time… Reality is I dont have super flower power so instead of using a super power I dont have, I have to make that time my self.

During my maternity leave I have spent a lot of time thinking about how I can make money and get enough time to spend time with doing whats important to me. The answer is unbelievably simple, and was suggested by photographer Sandy Puc during a webinar.

I am limiting the amount of clients I photograph-See I told you it was simple! I even though I am limiting the amount of clients I work with I do not plan on making less money, in fact I plan on making more money.

By limiting the amount of clients I will have less shoot time and less edit time, this will achieve my main goal of spending more time with my family and less time in front of the computer. I am dedicating one Saturday and one Sunday every month for photographing my “on location” sessions. Newborn photo sessions will happen during the week and no more than 6 in a month.

I was working so hard before I had my son, I was shooting and editing all the time. When I added up my $$ to see how much I was earning I realized I am not even making minimum wage! I am spending time away from the people I love for no $$, this is crazy! Now admittedly I LOVE photography, and would shoot for free if I could afford to, but the reality is I need those $$, be it for groceries, new equipment, or a fancy pancy new pair of shoes.

The value of what I do is important to me and I do not want to undervalue my self, I do not want to earn minimum wage and I do want to spend time with my family.

It is really reeeeelllly easy to under value yourself. I just had a look around on craigslist, ramstein yard sales and on google at photographers prices. I see so many people under valuing there work and it makes me sad.  Each photographer has the right to price how they like. (So often I read blog posts from photographers and hear in webinars that cheap photographers are devaluing and ruining the photography business – I dont believe this is the case, as there is a client base for everyone) But when I see photo sessions for under $100, sometimes under $50 and the photographer is giving edited images on a CD my heart sinks a little.  I KNOW it is the photographers choice, but how can they possibly be justifying time a way from their family while out shooting their clients then spending hours infront of a computer editing the pictures? We all know a photo session is more time than an hours shoot and an hours edit, especially if your like me and you spend time to get every blemish corrected in every picture.

DO NOT FORGET

YOU ARE WORTH IT

DO NOT UNDERVALUE YOURSELF

MAKE TIME

BE HAPPY

Im in the process of changing things up so I can be happy, it may take a couple of months to fine tune my ideas BUT my family is worth it. I am looking forward to having a couple of weekends free so we can do what we came to Germany to do… travel, spend time with my family and take pictures for FUN!

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3 thoughts on “What is important to you?

  1. I have never been happier since limiting my sessions! Clients are happier because they have a faster turnaround time and more personalized, 1on1 service (less like a ‘photography farm’) and are more likely to buy premium products/services. I’m happier because I’m not constantly working and can actually shoot things I love as well as hang out with the hubby and get ready for this baby to arrive.

    Everyone has to decide what’s important to them at some time, and these things may change as time goes on. But it’s SO important to take the time to think about this periodically and re-structure your life accordingly.

    AWESOME article!!!

  2. I am not part of the American Photographer in Germany group but I like the page and find the posts very insightful!

    As a fairly new photographer I am quite aware of the issues surrounding “undervaluing” your services etc. Since I have started last year, I have increased my rate, and will continue to, with time.

    However, I have worked in other industries, alongside mothers (some single, some married) who have performed extraordinary feats of professionalism in their field, often by making sacrifices in the beginning- but still having exceptional commitment to their families. It seems you can find a working mother in next to any field in the States (or elsewhere) who does what they need to do either to pay the rent or to satisfy their passion, or both. To be able to take a creative skill, such as photography, to a professional level and create a business out of it often involves sacrifice in the beginning or the support of a partner (or both). Not everyone has the luxury to do that.

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