Let me start by prefacing that I am not a blogger by any means. I’ve never blogged because I based the ideology that no one wants to know about who I shot recently or when trying to give out tips and tricks for learning, who am I to speak on photography topics. I was devaluing myself even though I have been an instructor with Sheridan College of Applied Arts and Technology for 10 years. Recently however I have realized that I have been so inspired by my photography community that I felt like this was a great way for me to share my experiences. I hope that you will join me while I discover my inner author.
It’s no secret that I am a member of The Portrait System Powered by Sue Bryce. For those that do not know, this is an education platform that teaches photographers everything from posing to pricing to business. Here is the secret, though. I only joined this platform less than a year ago. Thats right, less than a year ago, I took the plunge and signed up to this platform that has actually made me grow not only as a photographer but as a person and as a business woman. For so long I struggled with everything including valuing the work that I do and the impact I have on peoples lives.
For many Covid-19 became a time of fear, doubt and depression. For me, while everyone was changing and pivoting, I decided to re=evaluate everything I was doing. So let me break this down a little. In July of 2019 my family moved to Barrie, ON. The idea was that I would re-open my studio in my home like I had when I lived in Brampton. It was very quickly realized that this was not going to happen. Our new home just did not give me the versatility to have a home studio. So between moving to a new city and not having a studio, I barely photographed and barely earned an income. In January 2020, found a great studio space that I could afford in a small town 20 minutes away called Cookstown. I was still getting used to our new region, but since most people drove around here, it seemed like an awesome and logical choice. In January, I dumped all the money I had left into the new studio and took all of February to renovate and get it ready for clients… of which I had none in the new area. I decided I would open up March 8th. International Women’s Day. There was no Grand Opening, there was no Welcome to the Neighbourhood, none of that. I did however have my first Photography Basic Workshop that day with 4 incredible women. I did not know a week later we would be shut down for a good part of the year. Man did fear set in.
So I took the money I had made at that workshop and decided that I would join Sue Bryce Education (now known as The Portrait System) and I would dive right in. Teaching was slowing down and we were on lockdown for several months and all of a sudden every baby photographer had instantly become a headshot and commercial photographer since it was the only thing we were allowed to photograph (I know that is didn’t make sense, but I wasn’t making the rules). This saturated the market in my area. I have to tell you though that after discovering Sue, I began to realize where my passion really was. It wasn’t photographing children or baby’s. No more cake smashes, no more little toddlers running around. When I looked at my body of work, it was more about shooting and photographing women. Man did it speak to my soul. So instantly I decided to get rid of all the gitch! So bye bye newborn posing pillow, bye bye, props, just bye bye to it all. I do admit though, I love doing school photos so I have kept a few things back simply for that reason, but, unless its a fine art styled vogue shoot or headshots, I generally don’t photograph little ones anymore.
The next step on the journey to self value, was looking at my prices. How could I honestly feel like I was valuing my skill and my dedication to my client by charging less than what someone at Walmart would make. It was time for a change and while some photographers were cutting their prices, I decided to increase mine. But not just my prices. I decided it was time to bring in quality products and create an experience for my clients not just a photoshoot. I mean even Uncle Fred can shoot you with his IPhone, but what he can’t give you is an experience where you feel incredible, special and like a million dollars. An experience where it’s all about you for a change. Was I scared to increase my prices during Covid in a new town while in a lockdown. Oh heck yes! But here’s what I realized. I was offering so much more than just a photo session. I was giving the clients who came to me an experience that would fill and feed their soul. The best part about this is that I was so grateful to all the new and old clients who came to me about my service that by finally realizing what I needed, I was able to feed and fill my soul too.
Let’s skip ahead several months. There are two things that joining this platform also allowed me to do that I can not be more grateful for. It has allowed me to travel to both Phoenix, AZ, and Las Vegas, NV for two photography conference in the last 6 months that have not only allowed me to fill my cup but has allowed me to meet the most incredible photographers and people I have ever met. I don’t know if you can understand what it feels like to be in a room filled with people who are on the exact same trajectory that you are, wanting the same thing and yet not feel like you need to compete for it. The ideology of Collaboration over Competition, is something I have always believed in, so being in a room with this many photographers who all share the same energy was like winning the Max Millions.
I can not express enough my gratitude for all of my clients who have been with me for the last 12 years, for the new clients who have trusted me over the last 2 now going into 3 years since opening my studio, and for all the photographers in my world that have shown me kindness and sincerity. I’m a girl who absolutely loves what I do. I love providing an incredible experience for women to feel absolutely stunning and beautiful and powerful and valuable. I love that I can show them who they really are, and I am grateful that I have begun to see the value in who I am and what I do without hesitation, excuses or being unapologetic.
Until Next Time…thanks for reading….
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