01 August 2012

First inquiry

I just replied to an email from an absolutely wonderful longtime client for a family photography session this October.

Portraiture commissions are primarily calendared late September through early December and this upcoming holiday season will be the fourth since I branded.  I was terrified the 1st year, utterly frazzled and overworked the 2nd year, and bordering on bitter by the 3rd year.  As this season approaches, I'm tortured by ambivalence.  I will work through that ambivalence here because mumbling to myself makes the boys furrow their eyebrows at me.

Why do it? 

I obviously love photography.  I really do.  And once in a while (addiction happens so quickly when reinforcers are introduced on variable ratio schedule, doesn't it?), some magical moment is captured that blends a margin of technical skill with a whole lot of luck and wraps it all up in the love of a family that spills forth before my lens.  It's quite a thrill!  High expectancy, high instrumentality, and high valence naturally mean great motivation on my part.

But it's not all about the hearts and rainbows of higher order needs for mastery and self-actualization, I'm willing to fess up to the extrinsic motivators of the mighty dollar.  As it turns out, I can render services for a fee and then turn those funds into products and services of my own choosing!  It's a neat little system wherein I fill my photography nook with more gear.

Why avoid it all together?

Well, I've got built-in subjects in my kids in addition to friends and extended family so who needs strangers as subjects? 

And gear?  What are birthdays and anniversaries for if not the acquisition of fabulous new lenses and other photography toys?  Besides, I really don't make that much money, just enough to mess up our taxes says James, since I charge what I believe is commensurate with my experience and skill level and to make it available to more families who would otherwise faint at others' price lists.  But my fee is not even half of what other photographers make regardless of the fact that I put in the same amount of time.  And it is a whole lot of time!

Plus, the Fall and all its holidays are my favorite time of the year.  But I've been missing out on so much of it because I'm shooting during the day and editing all night long.  How many more seasons will I have both boys in the house?  Soon enough, they'll prefer to go skiing during winter break with their college friends instead of coming home, right?

You know, maybe all this rambling on and on is wasted.  Perhaps I will not be in demand this holiday season at all!  It's not like I market my services in any way, shape, or form.  In the meantime, I will continue to capture Old Dog (notice that he splayed in a way that indicates he no longer bends so well at the joints!)

and honor only my, "Mama, take a picture of this," commissions.


Amber Riley said...

Your post is a great reminder to email you about a session....you are still up for it right??!! :)

Amber Riley said...

If not i totally understand...It is a busy time of year!

Lam said...

Thank your for asking, Amber! I think this year I'm only going to do full and half sessions--and with the boys in tow at that! Are you still on the MOMS Club email loop? I will probably schedule a "shoot out" playdate on one of those Fall weekends where we can all get together use each others' cameras so everyone ends up with shots of their families. Or, I'm always happy to help you figure out your own camera for timer shots. On my camera, I can do up to 9 shots in a row and I space them about a second apart so that I can pick and choose later on. It's pretty convenient.