The Value of all that you Love - part 2 of 1 2 3

by Anurag Sharma Published 01/11/2011


29. More weddings come and go and soon the realisation hits. I need to put prices up. The reasoning being that I'm working like a dog alongside all my other responsibilities and I'm not being paid enough to put up with all this demand. Maybe I should quit my full-time job so I can have more time to deal with all these £500 disc-only weddings I'm booking.

What about it partner/significant other?

You know, the thing that becomes a theme amongst the more established photographers is one of price. You are pricing yourself too low. But to me, that is half the story.

The other half is one of time. It's there in the back of your mind.

Hard work means graft. Means time knuckling down and, to be an expert, you need to spend the anecdotal 10,000 hours to get to that place where you can really start calling yourself professional. Sure, you probably call yourself a professional for the client front but you know, in your heart, you have a long way to go.

People talk about spending money but rarely do they discuss it in terms of time. The commodity of time.

When things start becoming more serious, whereby you decide to do this as a business, the countless late nights do have a toll on you. I don't mean missing a gripping episode of Country File or a second round tie of the League Cup. I mean the tiredness. Not going out anywhere. Not exercising. Eating badly and more importantly, really far back, in your mind, thudding away, the guilt of neglecting your wife/husband/children/friends/yourself.

Sure you 'enjoy' what you are doing but at what cost? When people put that question to you, the real answer is never monetary. It is always human and that is because you didn't spend the most important commodity of all. You didn't spend your time on the things that matter most.

For me, I was just unable to aptly deal with the demands I had put upon myself. Simply carrying on with blind faith. No plan. Winging it as so many, like myself, have done and continue to do. Setting prices based on other photographers' price lists or simply on whimsy.

I was, as a number of us photographers do, spinning too many plates. My 'proper' full-time job, my children, school PTFA, treasurer for an after-school club, the photography and then what about the marketing, blogging, the processing time, the sales, the travelling, the prepping, the networking, the paperwork, Twitter, Facebook, phone calls, client meets, follow ups, wedding fairs, etc. So I simply did what I thought I needed to do.

I burdened myself and don't think I didn't think I needed training or indeed (gulp) a business plan. Just no time. They would, seemingly, take too much of my time to do. So I put them to one side. I would get round to them 'eventually'.

I have learnt so much since I started my business in 2009. The last year or so have really made me reassess my life. Now I know I don't have an unlimited amount of time and I can only do the best I can in the time I do have. I am, only now, taking the time to correct the mistakes I've made without over burdening myself. At the moment, as a family, we are quite busy but at least it's as a family and NOT alone with the guilt.

There is so much I could tell you about the importance of choosing your clients carefully, about understanding workflow, consistency, selling, marketing and the list goes on. But, without doubt, the most important lesson I have learnt is the value of time.

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1st Published 01/11/2011
last update 07/04/2022 09:18:03

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