Soul searching

August 7, 2012

Many of you who read this are my awesome friends on Facebook (and in real life, of course), so this post won’t come as a surprise to you.

For those of you who may stumble upon this and need some background information, here’s the jist of it.

I have a camera. I love to take pictures. I’ve never asked anyone to pay me for taking their pictures. I am, however, starting to wonder if I should.

There ya go! That’s the dilemma in a nutshell.

If you read my wedding planning journey, you know I like finality. I like dotting I’s and crossing t’s. I like having beginning and ending points with a clearly defined path along the way. While I don’t mind detours and, actually, can adapt fairly well, I don’t prefer them.

That’s me. It’s how I work. Old habits die hard, you know.

The problem is – There isn’t one answer for the “When should I start charging people for my services” question. It’s different for everyone and, no matter how much I Google, there isn’t a website or professional photographer who can answer the question for me.

And that bugs the hell out of me. Probably because I want to take the easy way out instead of doing the necessary soul searching. Soul searching … those are scary, scary words. Eeeek!!

I did a bit of it over the weekend and came to several realizations:

While some of my hang up with charging is lack of faith in my own abilities, the real crutch is the business aspect.

Amberlee and I had a lot of frank conversations when I started working with her. I told her up front that I had no intention of opening my own business – that I was committed to helping build her brand in whatever way I could. And that is still 100% accurate today. It may seem cut and dry then. If you don’t want to open your own business, don’t charge people. If only. The problem is, while I LOVE photography and I LOVE that so many see the talent inside of me, I’m getting to the point where I feel like not charging for my services could begin to negatively impact how people view what I capture. The old adage, “You get what you pay for.” But, the thought of the time, money and headaches of opening a small business makes me want to hurl. Yes, I wrote hurl. Which leads me to …

There are A LOT of “professional” photographers charging for utter crap.

It may sound like I’m being harsh (and maybe I am), but I saw some professional photographs this weekend that made my blood boil. While I may still be learning, I know some of my pictures are better than what I saw this weekend. Someone, somewhere paid for those, but no one paid for mine. Why? See above. See what I mean about there not being a simple answer?

I need an outside party to guide me in this decision-making process

While there is absolutely nothing wrong with getting advice from family and friends, I know this is one of those times where I need an outside opinion. I’ve decided not to make any decisions until after my 31-minute coaching session with Rachel Maddox on Aug. 16 (thanks for the tip, Heidi!). Check out the awesome deal she has for the month of August!

Since posts are useless without pictures, here are two of my favorites of Allison:



  1. I think it’s ok to charge a fee for what you do on the side as a hobby and not necessarily a business. This side stuff only makes you better for Amberlee. If your photographs sucked then I wouldn’t suggest you charge 🙂 However your time and gas money are valuable and that, not the photos necessarily, are what you charge for….in my humble and uneducated about all thing photography opinion 🙂

  2. Totally agree with Hollie. If what you’re doing doesn’t take you away from your committment to Amberlee, then by all means, charge. You should at least charge to cover your travel (gas, car, etc) and your print/CD expenses, even if you aren’t comfortable with charging for your time (although I think you should do that too!)

  3. Maybe I am bias because the model shown above is my loinfruit. 🙂 But I don’t think that has any real impact on my opinion that you are talented and do a fantastic job. Not only are the photos of Allison fantastic, she also had a ball working with you. BTW…those are my two favorites too. I have been asked my numerous folks who have seen the photos, “Who took those? Can I have their number?” Totally respect your decision and love you no matter what. But I agree with the post above. Picking a choosing to do some side stuff doesn’t take away from what you can do for Amberlee. Just like any freelance writing jobs wouldn’t take away from what you do in your full time job. Just be selective and use it as an opportunity to grow. Getting paid is just a bonus, but one that is very much deserved.

  4. Thanks, friends! I sent my first e-mail with “rates” included this afternoon. It was scary but also exciting. 🙂

    • You go girl 🙂

      • Way to go, Lindsay!

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