Making Peace With The Enemy

“I think it’s terrible when a photographer holds a person’s images “hostage” for money. I shoot for a fee – $150 for a portrait sitting – and hand over the files. I could never gouge a person and charge high fees for their photos.”

I hear that statement (or something like it) a lot. How about you? Have you ever said it?

The truth is money is simply a tool. It’s a way of receiving value for something you do, and a method of being able to get the things you need. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Yet money has so many connotations to it, books are written and classes are held on it every day. Why is it so mysterious? Why does it have such a hold on us?

What if we flipped it around and talked about your current job in a similar manner. What if your boss came to you and said

“Instead of giving you your normal salary today, I’m going to give you $150 for the day. I feel like I’ve been held hostage for too long, and today I’m only going to give you what I think this job is truly worth.”

Yeah, right. You’d laugh (after you got over the shock).

So with your corporate job, you expect to make a decent living. You expect raises and possibly even bonuses.

Why is that different than photography?

Photography is a business. It is a career. And in some cases it is a job.

If something is a business, a career or a job, you have to be able to make a decent living at it.

Let’s say you make $60,000 at your corporate job. In order to turn a photography business into an equal opportunity, at $150 per person, you would have to photograph 400 people per year.

Yet in your corporate job, your $60,000 salary is an expense. They make millions ( or billions) and have an entire list of expenses they write off each year, including your salary, marketing, rent for their office location, equipment, etc. [Read more…]

Are You Being Set Up For Failure?

I love using social media. In fact, I’m a little addicted to it. I’ll admit I wake up at 4 am with ideas for my blog, or ways to engage people on our Facebook account. I keep a notebook on my end table so I can record my ideas and get back to sleep – it sure beats lying there thinking about things, hoping I’ll remember.

Anyway, one of the reasons I love social media is the connection you can make with people all over the world. When people post comments, ask questions, or even disagree with what I’ve said, I take it to heart and listen to what they have to say. I’m always open for changing my opinion if I have another way to look at things.

So a comment came through a day or so ago that made me think.

“I think you’re giving false hope to a lot of people out there who simply will never make money at photography.”

Hmmm… I had to think about that one for a while.

The Road To Failure

In some ways I suppose it could be true.

I started this site with one goal – to teach people how to make money with photography. Yet I know by releasing it online, anyone can read it. So if you are a professional photographer working full time, you can read it. If you are a professional photographer working part time, you can read it. If you are an amateur wanting to start your own business, you can read it. And if you just love photography, and put the concept of owning your own photography business somewhere in your dreams, you can read it too.

To me, false hope is giving someone advice that simply can never come true. So if I taught you how to travel to Mars, at this point in time, that cannot come true. So that would be false hope.

But if I give you advice on something I have accomplished, and thousands upon thousands of other people have accomplished, it really isn’t false hope, is it?

[Read more…]