I am not sure why I am sharing this now, but as I’ve looked back on the past 12 months I’ve realized it’s already been an entire year since I officially closed my photography business. It has actually been a great decision, as it has freed up more mental energy and time in my life, though I no longer have a lofty personal savings account to speak of. Bummer.
In reality, I thought I was closing my business because I was just too overwhelmed with all the extra work managing a business, marketing, working with clients, editing, and finances all incurred in addition to a full time career. Truly, I have something to share with you as to the root of the reason why I walked away.
No, it wasn’t that there is so much competition in the photography market. Actually, I was glad for that as I walked away I knew all of my regular clients would have no problem finding their next great photographer. And I actually was happy to hear when they found new people to connect with!
It was because I couldn’t reconcile for myself why I would charge people who may not be able to swing the cost of photography a session fee of $200-$500 per session when I clearly was a passionate frugalite that I am. I wrote about being frugal on my blog, saving money, and getting out of debt while charging others for something they might possibly be able to do for themselves if they would learn the skills to do so…
It was a moral issue for myself, but one where I wasn’t willing to put in all that extra work (it is A LOT of work, which is why most budding photographers don’t last more than a few short years) for $100 here or there. Which, in turn is why I raised my prices after a few years hovering in the $100 session fee range.
The value I gave most certainly fit the cost, but on the opposite side I felt as though it was hard to charge so much for something when I wasn’t willing to pay that price myself. Maybe that’s why I decided to learn photography in the first place; before having kids? So I could save on paying someone else, but also make money on the side? I don’t know.
What I do know now is that while I have toyed with the idea back and forth on reopening my business, it has been more out of sheer desire to earn more money to pay off our mortgage. It’s not out of passion for photographing strangers, amazing sites, or the like. I haven’t had much desire to pick up my camera in the past 12 months, though I’ve used mobile photography heavily since then. Heck, I didn’t even send out a Christmas card with a picture of my children last year, I was so burnt out on taking photos.
I don’t think I’ll ever return to a full time photography business again, but as I see so many people shelling out extra funds or paying on credit cards for their photography I can only hope they are budgeting it into their holiday expenses and not taking on debt for something that they could learn to do for themselves. Does that make sense?
I never took credit cards. I didn’t want to encourage credit card debt, so all had to be paid in available funds. It was a small way I hoped to help others stay on track financially.
Many things we charge people for are “extras” in this country, and not necessities. I guess in the end, high-end and high priced photography just doesn’t align with my own frugalness and lifestyle anymore. It stinks, because it was quite lucrative!
Or in the end, maybe I didn’t value my work the way other people did. I’ll never know, but it seems like that door has closed for the foreseeable future and I’m okay with that.
Now, only I can hope to find a better way to replace that income without all these ads on my blog. I find ads annoying, but they will help pay the costs of running the site which I’d like to avoid taking out of our main budget.
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