BLOG + VLOG of AUTUMN THEODORE PHOTOGRAPHY
On top of that, I knew I didn't like working for others, but I didn't know how to get out of it. (During my time at Ohio State, classes about entrepreneurship weren't as common as they are today.)
In the fall of 2011, I bought a DSLR camera, thinking I'd never make $600 to justify the purchase. By the fall of 2016, I became a self-employed photographer.
What happened in those 5 years was unplanned, inconceivable, and incredibly life-changing.
So what if I made a 5-year plan and worse off, what if I followed it? What if it had to do with staying in the insurance industry? What if it meant I'd still be working for someone else? What if it didn't help me be happier? What if it made me think I shouldn't follow a dream?
I hate "what ifs." So I didn't make a 5-year plan. I didn't ask "what if." I just did it. But I can say, with great certainty, that if I had a 5-year plan and followed it, I wouldn't be as happy as I am today.
So how could a 5-year plan be dangerous? It could be dangerous if you're underestimating your own abilities.
What about you? Do you have a 5-year plan? Is it helping you or hurting you?
So here's where a client's mindfulness, planning, and communication come into play - events might be several hours long - and sometimes there's some sticker shock because of that.
I actually remind clients that my presence at an event that's several hours long potentially isn't the best use of a their money. (Wait, am I asking to be paid less? Am I hurting myself by doing this? No - they usually hire me because they see I'm just trying to be helpful.)
Example: Client A is having a half-day annual conference at the Convention Center. They want photography of two speakers presenting, the crowd's engagement, and one large group photo. Speaker 1 is presenting from 8:30-10am, there's a break from 10-10:30am, and speaker 2 will present from 10:30-11:30am. Most clients would ask for a quote for 3 hours (8:30-11:30am).
Before I go on with how this isn't my recommendation, especially if you have a budget, consider this: think about fireworks photos. While taking them, you think you're getting 50 excellent photos. But when you review them later, they kind of all look the same. That's the secret to event photography unless something special is happening at different times throughout the event. You might not need a photographer for the whole event - just parts of it.
Back to Client A. I'd recommend that I be hired for event photography from 9:30-11am (1.5 hours). Why? I'd get 30 minutes of speaker 1 (and the crowd), I'd ask for 5-10 minutes during the break to take the group photo, then I'd stay for the first 30 minutes of presenter 2's presentation, and also get more photos of the crowd. Now Client A has all the photography they need at half the cost. And at least I get hired by staying within their budget. (And likely they refer me to others because not only do they like my work, but are so pleased with how helpful I was.)
I posted a message on Facebook that said "FREE HEADSHOT if you give me 5 minutes of your time for an upcoming project. Email me for details!"
Within 24 hours, 40 people emailed me - see the screenshot above! I linked them to a Doodle Poll registration with a 30-minute block on one single day. Fifteen people registered. Two emailed me the week before and said their schedule had changed. Three emailed me the day of and said something came up. Out of the ten remaining, four didn't show and six came to get a free headshot.
So is this a fair exchange?
My personal thoughts:
What about your thoughts - was it a fair exchange?
We get asked so many weird questions that I'm splitting this into parts...and I don't even know how many parts there will be. :P Enjoy!
To be clear, when I say "editing photos within the camera," it just means that I test the light and composition (among other things) while I'm shooting so that the images are already close to where I want them prior to editing them on my computer. To explain my process further, check out my other blog post about why shooting is only half the work.
ONE POINT OF CONTACT
When working with multiple people from one organization, ask that they provide you with one person as your point of contact. If multiple people contact you separately about the same project, request that everything comes together on the same email chain.
If you're on the other side (working with several collaborators) and you all have the same contact for a project, be sure to communicate within your group, and then ask one person within your group to be the main point of contact to share information from all of you at once.
It is so hard to get information from clients in several different ways - email, texting, LinkedIn, Facebook messaging, Instagram direct messages, etc. etc. etc. When you reach out to someone, stick with that method of communication (unless you prefer or they request another way).
What is that goal? Be detailed yet concise. Making sure emails share important details of a project is helpful to all parties involved - it confirms that everyone is on the same page. The most difficult emails to receive are ones that are lengthy and tell a story that would be better-communicated in person or on the phone. Emails are wonderful references for the details among colleagues, but some communication can be kept concise via a phone conversation and a follow-up email.
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