Just Another Leap of Faith

These past two months in my photography business have been a crazy roller coaster ride!  If I had to name all of the lessons I have learned, I would be writing for quite a while.  I will spare you that long read though if you will just trust me that I have learned a lot {good and bad}.  OK fine, here’s a few – I took on 21 sessions on a trip to Florida in August that taught me a valuable lesson on time management – especially after my schedule was severely affected by a second case of the chicken pox!  I learned that it is possible to survive on 4 hours of sleep or less for weeks on end.  I also learned that when you love what you do, sometimes you just don’t have time to sleep.  I learned that a photography business involves very little time behind a camera and a TON of time behind a computer screen.  I have a value on time now that is more priceless than it ever has been before.  I have endured a very painful lesson on the importance of safe-guarding my memory cards – you never know when your puppy will chew one to pieces beyond recognition – and lose the priceless memories of your clients’ sessions in the process.  I now know that photography is a very expensive “hobby” and an even pricier business.  I have unfortunately realized that not everyone will be supportive.  I have lost friends, received hate mail, and have watched gaps in some relationships form and widen.  My marriage has gone through the ringer with my return to work.  New roles had to be established to make sure our household still ran smoothly and I had to fight for my “hobby” to be taken seriously.  It was a long time before the idea really sunk in that time on the computer meant I was working.  My daughter struggled with the end of my stay at home mom days more than I ever anticipated.  She completely regressed to baby talk, bed wetting, potty accidents, and even separation anxiety at 4 years old.  It broke my heart to watch her go through this change with me.  I expected this new business to be a change for my family and me – I didn’t expect the complete transformation of our lives.

Having said all of that, I am more blessed than I deserve to be able to say “I’m a photographer”.  I truly LOVE my job.  I know without a shadow of a doubt that this is what I want to BE when I grow up 😉   I love meeting new people and being a part of the “moments” in their lives that they have hired me to capture.  I can’t wait to learn more on this journey – every day.

The most difficult lesson I have learned is that I wasn’t pricing my work correctly.  I underestimated the time I wanted to invest into editing and enhancing my clients images for them and thereby overestimated what my hourly income would be.  I have been conflicted with this issue for quite some time now.  I want to be able to provide beautiful photography for a reasonable rate – that has always been a priority to me.  Everyone deserves a family photograph worthy of a huge fine art canvas hanging in their home.  When I realized that I would be putting in 12 hour days for $75 gross income {you dont want me to list the daily costs}, I  was very discouraged.  I tried spending less time editing to get myself out of the red zone, but it’s just not my style.  I enjoy making each and every one of my clients images very special.  I knew my only other option was to raise my prices.

Today is the beginning of the big price change.  I have all sorts of fears and anxieties about this – I don’t want to appear that my humility is lacking, I hope that I don’t lose clients, I pray that my work is comparable to other photographers in the new price range.  It’s a very tough market – especially in a military town.  I hope that I’m booked through November because people actually like my work; not because I’m the cheap photographer.  I guess only time will tell though and in the end I’m taking a leap of faith and trusting God .

Throughout these last 2 months the lessons learned continued to pile up, but it was one very profound statement from my husband that flipped the switch for me and encouraged me to take this next leap.  “In essence, you’re pricing your time away from your family”, he said.  So, for the first time in 9 weeks, I’m taking the day off – because let’s face it:  you can never get back that priceless, precious, time with your family.



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