Thursday, October 29, 2009

thinking out loud.


as far as the pacific northwest goes, winter is here. to me, fall consists of colorful trees and cooler days, crunchy leaves and breaking out the long sleeves. winter happens all of a sudden while i'm looking the other direction- without much warning, leaves are soggy and wet, trees are more naked than not, and i'm desperate for scarves and layers to help keep me warm. thankfully i have a great pair of galoshes to help me survive this rainy season, and lots of warm memories coupled with the hope that spring always shows up eventually. :)

some of you know a bit of my story. the story of a girl who picked up her dad's old nikon sitting by his dresser (after it had collected dust for 20+ years) and asked him to teach her the basics. the girl who, all while growing up, tried music lessons and dance and horseback riding and soccer, yet none of it stuck. however, with a camera in her hands, a part of her came alive. she learned on film and eventually moved to digital, all the while swearing that she'd never, ever do this for other people. it was a gift, only for her, and she never wanted to chance ruining it.

:) my, how things change.

i've been shooting for 7 years now, and through a lot of practice, trial and error (sometimes more error than trial), and a variety of circumstances that pushed me out of my comfort zone over a year ago to begin trying to do this professionally rather than only for personal enjoyment, i find myself here. photography has been my full time job since last spring. much to my amazement, others had so much confidence and faith in me, and entrusted me with their weddings, families, events, their memories. i've shot a lot of photos in the past year, more than i'd ever expect.

however, here's the part where i tell you the truth: i am not a business person. :) i'm also one who oftentimes learns as she goes. ha. i'm trying, i'm learning. at least i'm starting to. :)

part of my philosophy is to remain affordable. i am not in this for the "big bucks." :) money does not drive me. if we could barter in exchange for my food, my rent, my transportation costs... you'd have yourself an instant deal. :) not being motivated by getting rich, not being a natural business person, wanting to provide quality images at an affordable price has however made for some interesting times on my end.

pricing is subjective, and affordability is also subjective. i am not rich, not at all. i go without, buy things on sale, and believe simplicity is the best answer 9 times out of 10. yet i realize that i can't continue booking trips like my october trip to new york which held 2 weddings and 14 smaller shoots in less than two weeks. burnout, anyone? :) i want to continue to love to do this. i want to have room to pursue continually pushing myself to grow in creativity and technique. i want to do my best for you. i also want to be able to pay my rent. :)

when i started doing this for others, i was charging next to nothing for a family photoshoot... and i was happy to do that! i loved the opportunity to get to know and shoot these wonderful people and push myself to see what this could become. at the time i was also working another full time job and so paying the rent wasn't that big of a deal. :) now that this is my living, i have to force myself to think through things differently. it's a much more challenging endeavor for me, yet i'm not going to run from it.

know that as i wrestle with the balance, my commitment to meet you halfway remains the same. i am not even close to rich :) and i think my prices remain fair and affordable. i have had multiple situations, even with the pricing that i consider very reasonable, where people approach me and say "hey, listen. i respect what you're charging... but i honestly can't afford your rates. is there any way we could meet in the middle?" i respect their honesty so much and have tons of empathy for how much it costs to plan a wedding, raise a family, pay the bills, put food on the table. i can be flexible if you need me to be. i love doing that and invite you to be open with me about what you're looking for in a photographer and what you can afford. i promise to return the honesty your way and if it's at all possible, find a solution that works for both of us.

thanks for listening to my rambling today. i promise to get a more photo-saturated blog up quite soon. also keep your eyes peeled for a few updates to my website... i'm excited about changing it up a little!

have a great day. :) thanks for your continued support and excitement about what i'm doing here! it means so much.


brooke said...

since you are now in business for yourself.... you should not lower your price b/c someone cant afford it. you need to make a living,. you need to pay your rent and keep food on your table.
and if someone asks you for a discount, then they should have something to offer you in return! just like you said....barter.
i love you rphotography.....and i just printed like 80 photos from my preggers shoot and my family of 4 shoot. i cant wait to put them all in a huge collage frame.
you are fabulous!
stick to your price.....


//nancy said...


i totally appreciate your thoughts- and your support! i know as a fellow business owner you totally understand some of the things i was (trying? ;)) to communicate in this entry.

i'm glad you're excited about your photos and know they'll look great in your new virginia home! :) thanks again for always being so excited for me and with me. :)

Leah said...

Nancy! I totally hear you. You are doing great work and pricing is one of the most difficult things. I appreciate your openness about this stuff.

//nancy said...

thanks, leah! i appreciate your thoughts & encouragement. :)

D.E.B. said...

Nancy, You need to do what you have to do. what is best for you! if your prices change a bit that they have to change. Like most places have a place on their menu that says prices subject to change.
You have to supply your self with clothes food and shelter and if this is your JOB then people need to respect that and you and your prices.

by the way do you have a brochure or menu that shows all your prices? for weddings or showers or for hourly? or depending on how big the family is? well gotta go baby screaming but love you and your work and GOD blessed you with a wonderful gift i am glad you shared with our familu I just love the pictures and look at them often thank you for blessing the baas family