What am I worth?

I have been pondering this post for the better part of three months or so. It isn’t an easy post. But I think it is necessary.

I love photography.

I am a photographer.

I am an artist.

FBCOVER

This is what I have been put on this planet to do {beside love my kids}.

If I could give away all my sessions, I totally would! Because it is my heart. I believe that everyone deserves at least one amazing photograph of themselves. Because people don’t always see you as you see yourself.

I see that light we all have.

Unfortunately, I cannot just give my art away. I do give a lot of sessions away. And I am happy to. Because it is who I am.

But I also have two kids and three pups that need food. A car that needs gas. School field-trips, kids clothes, extra curricular actives, etc. Any of you with a teenage son know what I am talking about! (They eat everything! The grow a foot every two weeks…)

That money tree in the backyard… well that just doesn’t exist. I think the Sasquatch stole it. Or the neighborhood unicorn ate it.

Nearly two years ago I was laid off from my “bread and butter” job. But I was excited. I could focus directly on my portrait and wedding photography. Because up to that point, NEWVINTAGE was just something extra… This was going to be amazing!

Well… I got scared.

All the “what if’s”, doubts, who do I talk to, insecurities, loss of faith crept in.

I lost my worth.

Worth.

What is that?

What is mine?

Is it WORTH continuing?

Is it just a hobby?

Am I a “Walmart” photographer or am I a “Neiman Marcus”photographer? Or somewhere in between.

I tried new things last year — some worked, others did not. I am not sure everyone knows what it takes to be a photographer. I think that some believe that it is just “click” and there you go. No. It is more.

Of course there is the expense of being a professional photographer. There is the time setting up the appointment. Before a shoot, I spend time making sure the equipment is charged, clean and in working condition. I arrive early to scout out a location to look for prime locations. Then there is the session that lasts 45 minutes to 8 hours plus any travel. Then there is the editing between school and taekwondo, making dinner, so at 2 a.m. I am uploading galleries and prepping blog posts. (I try hard to get the photography done quickly as part of the experience. Because I am just excited about the images as my client are. And I hate to wait.) There is design work. There are getting orders ordered,  prepped, sent or ready for pick up. And that is the hands on part of it. There is the whole other side of the business.

So I sat down, or rather was corned by my husband and really good friends on New Years and talked about challenges and what I saw for NEWVINTAGE. It is a blessing to be able to talk about it. ‘Cause there are days I am not sure the husband really knows what I do. {“Man she’s at the computer a lot!”}

This past year I made an awesome friend, Lindsay, owner of Lindsay Ortez Photography. She has renewed my belief in the industry and in what I do. She reminded me that I am an artist. I have the prayers of my pastor and friends. I have been networking and creating partnerships that are leading to great things.

Just last night, I was reminded again. “NEVER SETTLE”. I was perusing Facebook, checking messages and see what everyone was doing late at night. Those words stood at to me.  Jennifer Oh Photography, posted on her business page:

jessica oh

Those words are what many of us need(ed) to hear. So I chatted with this amazing photographer for a bit via Faceybook about worth and how valuable we and what we do are.

It is an important choice that you  have to make whether you are a new professional or an established photographer continually growing.

So I begin this year making goals, both personal and professional.

I am reminded of  my worth as a photographer — as an artist.

I know the images I want to make.

I have directions on where I need to go.

I will continue to give all of myself in my work. I will continue to give to the organizations I love like Pink October and Help-Portrait.

I am not the photographer for everyone. And that is okay. Because the clients that I do have are absolutely amazing. They love like I love. They believe in love, family, and all the things I believe in. They have a moment that they need to capture, and I am the person they trust to do that.

So thank you for bearing with me and letting me bare my soul a bit. Thank you for letting me capture your lives. Thank you for letting me be me and do what I love!

Let me make art for you!

xoxoxo

Jen