Business: Salary vs Sanity: What’s More Expensive?

About a 5 minute read.

These past few years have been a blessing for my photography business. I have photographed proposals, gender reveals, and even weddings. Now, I’ve narrowed down my ‘niche’ to children’s photography and weddings. Anything outside of that, without the right number, will respectfully not excite me.
But lately, I’ve been thinking…what is my time really worth?
Is it worth that $200 pet session with the owner who sits in the car?
Or is it worth my fourth or fifth, twice removed, uncle wanting double the photos for half the price?
Recently, I’ve grown away from the business aspect of photography.
All that took the fun out of what I genuinely love to do, which is take pictures!
I also want my clientele to love and appreciate my work! I want them to see and crave my creativity! My photo sessions are completely and thoroughly thought out.
While taking a marketing class a few weeks ago, I heard the instructor ask the class, “Who are you marketing to? Who do you want your clientele to be?”
Hmmm…that’s a great question. 
For the longest, I was marketing to anyone who would give me a chance. Then once I started to build my clientele, I ran TONS of promotions and flash sales, just to get business.
But lately, I’ve been a little more exclusive with my sessions. Just because someone will pay you $100 for a session, doesn’t mean that’s what its worth.
-From the communication with the client…about 2 hours overall.
-The preparation for the photo session including scouting out locations…about 2 hours MAX.
-To driving, shooting, and leaving the actual session…usually about 3 hours
-And finally, conservatively, editing the photos… around 5 hours
With that $100 session, I am basically making minimum wage in my own business!
It’s not always a good thing to be available to everyone. If your clients love your craft and your vision enough, they will pay top dollar for it.
Generally speaking, do people go into Salvatore Ferragamo or Carolina Herrera’s store asking for a discount? And when the answer is no, do you leave or do you go get what you wanted in the first place. And why are you so willing to spend the extra money in these stores?
Ah, because of the quality, right?
Now I’m not saying I wouldn’t ever photograph a session lower than my regular rate again, but it will be my decision alone that will lead me.
At this point in my life, it’s not always about money. I’d much rather have my sanity with a client that appreciates my work, my prices, and my terms.
It’s okay to be exclusive.
It’s okay not to be available to everyone.
And it’s okay for me to choose my sanity over a salary.
Because all money isn’t good money, and everything cost something.


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