Sooo, this is never an easy topic of conversation. It's always the make or break, the deciding factor, the point where you either book the appointment or you get ghosted (insert ghost emoji or Casper... who for some reason I had a crush on when I was like 7. I have a thing with voices; you either have a good one, or you don't lol) Ok back to the topic at hand... I want to put a funny spin on this, because that's just who I am.
I think when it comes down to it, people want to make more money, but really as they get older they realize how much more valuable time is. If you haven't come to this conclusion yet you're either too young, living under a rock, or selfish. I mean... yeah, that sounds about right.
Throughout my whole life, I was pretty blessed to be an only child. Some of you may say spoiled, but my dad didn't give something for nothing. If you weren't working hard and getting good grades, the gravy train stopped. I wish I had siblings, but that just never happened for my mom and dad. My older brother Brett is in Heaven with the other babies that died too soon, and I can't wait to meet them one day and laugh at what a crazy family they missed out on. So saying I'm "blessed" to be an only child might not be the right word in this case, and I wish I would've been spoiled with siblings instead of material things.
Unfortunately, having a stay at home mom means that your dad works two and a half jobs and overnights, and you just never see him. He might show up to see the musical you were in, or the scenery you created for the play, but he wasn't there for all 3 showings like your mom... and I'm sure he fell asleep a few times because his circadian rhythm was off. I can't remember him at tennis matches or watching me triple jump on week nights at a track meet. He might've been there... but I honestly don't remember. Coach I was there when I came running around the track bald because I had just shaved my head for Bald For Bucks, and Mr. Connors was there when I broke 30 feet for the first time. Those are memories you can't take away, and I will be forever blessed like many others were to have had Mr. Ignatowski as a coach for four years. The look on his face, and "Trimmy, is that you?!" when he saw me bald is forever etched in my mind. Going up to see him at the hospital and telling him that I run half marathons now... not knowing that that would be my last memory with him. Yeah. That's tough. I'm sure he heard me. I hope he did.
Back to happy memories. I also remember my mom at every single thing I've ever done. I'm 31 and she literally came to the craft show I was in two weekends ago and stayed the whole time. It was like pulling teeth to get my dad there and he's been retired for a few years now.
What I'm getting at is, yes, money created a lot of those opportunities, but the time my mom had to be there meant so much more and I wish my dad would've had that time. Creating memories has always been an underlying theme in my life. Hosting a "Black and White Affair" with my best friends in high school for the rest of our friends, painting a picture for your middle school crush's graduation gift (Andy & Kirsten I'm so happy for you guys getting married this year! lol), surprising people when they least expect it, having ladies over to do a spa night, and so many other ways to show people I love them. Now.. taking photographs for people is another way. Taking a snapshot of a time in their life that they can never get back, but can always look back at and remember all the thoughts, feelings, scents, emotions of that time in their lives.
Photography is so special to me. I have in no way arrived, or am where I want to be, but I finally feel comfortable behind the camera. (I think and hope!) people are happy with the services I provide, and I am so happy while doing it.
That comes to my main thought... pricing. Ouch. Don't talk about that. That's an awkward, touchy, uncomfortable topic. Well, I mean, everything does cost something right? (Whether it's time or money.)
*Let's get back to memories for a minute. That's the whole reason we take photographs, right? Oh, I forgot, also to brag to everyone on "the gram" about how good your family looks, or send Christmas cards showing everyone how perfectly put together your family is. Oh yeah, that too! Don't get mad and stop reading... I'm getting back to being nice Sarah again!
Let's be honest.... everyone has junk. Nobody's life is perfect. BUT, for a moment, a photograph can make you feel like you have it all put together. Like life isn't crumbling apart around you. Like you never get in arguments, or your kids never get bad grades, or hit the cat, or get peanut butter in their hair, or talk back. And guess who gets to capture that for you? DING DING DING! That's me, or another photographer who is blessed to do so. During the photo session they might be pouting or sulking or hangry, but it's my job to catch them at their best, make them laugh, and capture everyone's good side. (Or photoshop a good face on a bad one. No, I don't feel guilty doing this lol, I call it magic!)*
I don't want you to be stressed out or worried before or during the session; I want you to be relaxed and comfortable and happy to capture memories! My best friend literally text me the day of their shoot and asked if we could push it back a little because no one was ready and she was yelling at everybody. This is real life! Life happens. People don't get nice photographs taken often, so of course it can be stressful, but it's my job to not just take the pictures but also make you feel peace during the whole process.
It's also my job to love people. My way of doing this, is capturing memories for everyone. What I mean by this is that not everyone can afford that person who charges $375 for a session. That's why most people don't even get photos done of their family. Photographers reading this, don't get me wrong or curse me, they deserve every penny they get! They are talented and have expensive equipment, and have many years of experience in order to charge that amount.
If you aren't a photographer, you have no clue how much these gadgets can be. My stomach does a flip every time I buy something, but I know it is an investment. You can't look at the cost of something when you have business owner mentality. I bought a used camera on Facebook Marketplace. The mother board is shot and needs over $600 to get it working. Safe to say, I'll only be buying new equipment from now on. My newest lens was over $1300, so yes I may have been super busy with all my sunflower sessions, but most people don't take into account that I invested in this lens to make sure YOUR family photos looked the best they possibly could. I am not asking for sympathy, just giving some perspective. It's all an investment.
I have many years of experience too, but I have decided not to charge those amounts. You know the ones I'm talking about. The ones they tell you the cost and then you ghost the photographer? Because your self image isn't good enough to just tell them the cost is not in your budget. Oops did I say that? Lol, I probably shouldn't have but it's the truth. I've been guilty of it in the past, too. Ever read the book How To Win Friend And Influence People? Looks like I'm "losing friends and alienating people."
It's a joke people... life is too much to take seriously all the time. Losen up... your shoulders are probably all the way up to your ears right now. Put them down. Everyone has so much tension and stress nowadays. THIS is why I do photography. To take people out of a stressful time in their life (cue coronavirus) and have a fun hour of laughing while I snap some pics.
Back to loving people. If I haven't lost you yet, round of applause. Thank you for reading my thoughts. It took me awhile to put them "to paper" without offending too many people. My brain works funny, it's always been all over the place, but it will usually come back full circle!
I love people. I always have, always will. I hate when people say "people suck." You will never hear that come out of my mouth. Bad people suck... you know, the kinds that leave dogs in boxes on the sides of roads (my foster pup was found like this in Alabama). There's a real special place for those people (insert wink emoji.)
Loving people means meeting them where they're at. You're laid off but still want photos done of your daughter? I'll do it. Photos aren't in your budget but you always refer me to other people? I'll do them for you as a thank you. Your dog isn't doing well? I want to offer to do photos for you to have for forever!
What I don't want is you worrying about money when we're creating memories. I don't want to deal with money or payment on your wedding day. Focus on each other, not your debts. You can always go make more money. You can't get the time back.
This might not seem like good business practice to most. But I call it loving people.