In the day and age of social media and measuring our behind the scene reels to someone’s highlight reels… we aspire to be transparent. So that being said, it is time to come clean. Moreover, this blog will be a personal tale from me Becca-Bee. Explaining why I almost quit photography.
My friends who have talked me down from the edge can attest to this fact. Each time I have been open and honest about the thought, the temptation, and the WANT to quit. They have been the ones to talk me down and remind me of the want to keep going.
Anyhow, after all of the times I have almost quit or wanted to enough to talk about it, I noted the complaints. The complaints killed my joy to keep going. So this is a real no-fluff blog. Aiming to spotlight the darker side of one of the most popular jobs. So without further ado, this is why I almost quit photography.
“If you get tired,
learn to rest
not to quit.’-Banksy
Reason Number 1 Why I Almost Quit Photography
Why I almost quit Photography: Expected Performance
So when I started photography, social media was just starting. However, I still had people in my circle who expected a certain level of performance, to respect the decision. Yeah, totally not healthy I know. Newbies are supposed to suck and not perform as well as a pro. Yet that expected performance lit a fire in me. Granted, the fire came from aggravation. So it was short-lived. Then came social media expected performance. It was very similar to the expected performance to be taken seriously… except more eyes.
of a busy lifeSocrates
I don’t mean just doing expected posting about shoots or how great life is as a photographer… I mean how many sessions you can take in a week or month. How much you can keep pace with others in your field. How you can match them in your own way. There is this urgent expectation to be seen as successful as possible as quickly as possible.
Which is such bs.
As I nearly have quoted this first each time I am ready to quit, the expected performance is a killjoy. Also, I didn’t quit corporate America to just act like corporate in my own way. Likewise, if I want to take the time to be successful, I should be able to. I should be able to move at my own pace.
WITHOUT it making me look or feel less professional. Furthermore, my definition of success does not need to match or mirror others. Similarly, my “busy” ought to be what I want it to be, rather than the expected IMAGINARY number of things.
Simultaneously, being told “Money doesn’t happiness” while being expected to perform to make an imaginary number, to be seen as professional. Money might solve a lot of problems, but it does not in fact bring JOY.
Joy comes to us
in ordinary moments.
We risk missing out
when we get too busy
the extraordinary.Brene Brown
Reason Number 2 Why I Almost Quit Photography.
Expected Low Costs of Service joined by High Expectations.
From the beginning of my career, I was told how cheaper I was. My mentors definitely told me to raise prices. I was then told by sources to “stay cheap to attract more and build a base then raise prices.” Which later mentors literally called out, as the worse advice on the planet. Here is the thing, yes have starting prices if you are under-experienced, untrained, etc. However, just know when you do raise prices whether you do it slowly as you develop or wait till pro-level… Higher prices equate to differing out to who wants YOU, and who wants CHEAPER.
This is why so many are afraid to raise prices because they don’t want to “lose” clients, and “easy” money. However, they eventually cave because they are tired of “losing” time working twice to thrice as much to make ends meet.
Yet, as I progressed and slowly raised prices… commentary I would hear:
- My phone can do just that, I don’t want to pay
- If you are charging that much for a print, you should do more
- I can just use my phone and go to Walmart, thanks though!
- You used to be cheap
- I was there, in the beginning, why do I have to pay these prices now?
- Get a real job instead of scamming people, just take photos for fun (yup, I mentally exploded like a volcano on this one, we’ll get to it)
- There is no way I would pay that price for photos (carrying a new phone + coach purse)
- I thought we were friends, why do I have to pay? I came to you because I knew you. Guess I never really did.
- Who do you think you are? You are easily replaceable. Someone can always do it cheaper.
- You just hit a button. Anyone can do that. What makes you so special? Lol, passing.
- If I am paying you, you are editing my way because I have a personal brand. (they didn’t)
- I am your friend, what do you mean by “no raws”? Why can’t I have them?? Girl. Be real. I support you, but this is making it hard.
Oh, second-wind anger from memory. On one hand, my mentors were always preaching to raise prices. Due to my skills beyond the years put in, and how quickly I could learn something new. What can I say, I am a very visual person. Once I can figure out the why and how. Then I can easily adjust myself to expand and grow. Yes, I was a nerd growing up. And I am still one. Knowledge fascinates me. As well as life makes me curious.
“When you feel like quitting remember why you started”Pinterest
Reason Number 3 Why I Almost Quit Photography
Expected (Accepted) Editing Style for Success.
Even in the beginning, I knew I wanted to be different. Yet I quickly fell in line, because of that expected performance. It left no room to develop fully but just mimic others’ success. Which meant editing like others, and posing like others. This then led to just taking photos. As well as editing per client wants. Because going nonstop left zero room for creativity, or even to be curious. Past gear upgrades and computer upgrades, there was no upgrading me.
Which made me hate my job because I felt hollow. Which then led to me wanting to quit. A LOT.
Sure in recent years, I have wanted to quit it hasn’t been as easy to get out there as fast as I did in beginning. However, I have successfully re-fallen in love with my choice and life.
So let’s skip to the good part now.
Just To Fit Your
To Match Your
Reason Number 1 Why I Almost Quit Photography but overcame…
Setting my own Standards instead of allowing Expected Performance to make me a slave.
On the chance of sounding like a burnt-out influencer… keeping the expected pace of performance and letting it dictate whether or not I was “seriousness enough” or “professional enough” or just ____ enough, in general, was a shift I needed. Letting and blaming others’ perceived expectations control me was a ME problem. Honestly speaking, yes there is a problem with that in society, but how I was responding to it… that was on me. I could either continue getting burnt or put out the fire.
As Grams raised me to forever hear her echo,
“So what are you going to do about it?”
I chose to drench the fire with sand.
How do I keep it extinguished when Life and Society try to reignite it?
Firstly, I remind myself of an old debate nugget of advice. No one knows what you plan on doing or saying. So if you “mess up” they probably don’t notice or expect it, or frankly care about it. However, they probably care about the point you are trying to make more than an “oops”. So this transfers over, to photography by: they might expect performance but I get to dictate/remind them about the success I want to be known for. As in, I get to pave my own way. As well as show up how I want.
Secondly, I started speaking about this OFTEN. When you book, in contract, and on social media.
By allowing this narrative to become louder around me, I not only made it easier for me to enjoy my life as a photographer but I allowed room for me to become an artist with a camera. Thus in doing so, also created a space for others of the creative content field to put up their boundaries along with me.
Thirdly, I became okay with the European standard of working.
No longer do I live to work, I work to live. I balanced out how many sessions were feasible to maintain quality of life passed just money. Then raised prices accordingly. Thanks, Ben for this forced boundary from you. Healthy husbands and partners are helpful husbands and partners.
in your heart
for a reason.The Branding Addicts
Reason Number 2 Why I Almost Quit Photography but didn’t.
Expected Low Costs of Service joined by High Expectations, made me grow a backbone and become someone.
Okay, starting out I might have wanted to be immediately taken seriously. I am and was all about learning to fly before walking. However being continuously undermined while overly expected, would lead anyone to want to quit. This reason is number two in why I almost quit photography. Being a young woman in a field also didn’t help. Let’s keep gender out of this though.
So let’s go back to those memory echoes, shall we?
Tea Spill Time!
1. My phone can do just that, I don’t want to pay.
Phones are cool, but I do so much more than a phone. I plan. I’m knowledgeable about lighting, and weather. I am a true seasoned professional who does not give up easily if at all when the punches land harder than wanted. So like I kinda feel like I am cooler than a phone until A.I. comes out and can do that in seconds.
2. If you are charging that much for a print, you should do more.
I am already covering shipping, printing, and handling mishaps. As well as finding frames and editing it to be printed. But okay, will do.
3. I can just use my phone and go to Walmart, thanks though!
Um, that works but phones can only do till a certain size… and that’s not the size you had wanted to order. As well as Walmart is not a professional print shop with calibrated printers. So like consistency might be runny like knock-off alfredo sauce. But if that’s what ya want, more power to ya!
4. You used to be cheap.
Yes because that was the advice. Start cheap, and then as you grow in skill and gain knowledge, new gear, and experience– raise your prices. I know more than I did then, and my time is valuable. I am not young with boundless energy anymore. Nor should anyone work harder than a 9-5 for themselves to barely make ends meet. Just to be taken seriously. I should not have to rise, grind and die daily to be taken seriously enough or wanted enough.
5. I was there, in the beginning, why do I have to pay these prices now?
Because I am “doing more” now… wasn’t that the issue? If your support only hinged on me being cheap, then you did not support me but rather used for cheaper than someone else.
6. Get a real job instead of scamming people, just take photos for fun.
I am doing more than just taking photos though. Do you watch tv or go to museums? Then you enjoy visual arts. Stop degrading photography as less than, because prices aren’t lowballed. I am not “scamming”, I am providing full-fledged service. From walking you through with guides to planning multiple backup days on the off chance mother nature says “wait I have something better”. I am styling from the clients to locations. To spending weeks/months editing. Divide out your total investment by at least 80 hours if not 120 + and see how much hourly I make.
It truly is not scamming.
7. There is no way I would pay that price for photos (carrying a new phone + coach purse).
Thank you for very nicely telling me what you do and do not value. It was very enlightening to be placed at the lower end of important investments. Blessed be to your coming days, may your blessings be on what you value. Have a marvelous day, the choice is yours!
8. I thought we were friends, why do I have to pay? I came to you because I knew you. Guess I never really did.
First off, this is called using (lowkey abusing) your friendship. Secondly, that makes this not a friendship. Thirdly, if you did know me, you would know I have bills that do not care if I have friends or if I am alone. Fourthly, following if you did know me, you would know I would need to eat to be a healthy human, for I do get cranky. The last time I checked, the grocery store does not take friendship as payment. Word of mouth is great, but again does not pay bills or buy food.
9. Who do you think you are? You are easily replaceable. Someone can always do it cheaper.
Why do I need to be someone before I am valued as a human? I know someone can always do it cheaper. Yes, that used to be me. However, I will hear feedback and create a style that is not easily replicable. Which will make me not easily replaceable. As well as “do more” with a photo. I think I am a very hardworking individual. However, if I need to make a name for myself to be taken seriously, then I will. Yet that will come with even more of a price tag. Thank you for your feedback.
10. You just hit a button. Anyone can do that. What makes you so special? Lol, passing.
Okay so like why is the common misconception over this field, overly simplifying and minimizing. Like no one goes to a doctor, and goes “you just wear a white coat.” Yes anyone can learn how to do anything. Not just in this profession but ANY. From college to trade schools to mentorships, and even to google certificates, anyone can learn anything. Grams was adamant about that. So yes, I agree. Anyone can do anything they set their mind to.
Yet what makes me special, is I am truly unique in how I transform a photograph into visual art. As well as taking the time out to plan and style, and make sure comfort levels are raised instead of stress.
If you feel good about passing on me because you use investment prices as justification to minimize what I bring to the table… Go you go, live yo best life? You do you boo? Claps and snaps?
Two awkward thumbs up?
11. If I am paying you/working with you, you are editing my way because I have a personal brand.
I do not know who needs to hear this: just because you have an aesthetic on social media, does not make you have a personal brand or influencer.
One more time for those in the back: JUST BECAUSE YOUR IG FEED IS WHITE AND BLACK DOES NOT MEAN YOU ARE AN INFLUENCER WITH A PERSONAL BRAND.
Nor are you entitled to request certain edits, from a photographer even if you do or are a personal brand.
Instead, hire someone who already has that.
Now I think is the prime time to cover something said Copyright and Artist Discretion.
Copyright is automatically applied to anything you create. If you are not creating it, it is not yours to mess with. Copyright also means you do not get the right to change or edit something different than how it was delivered to you.
This plays into Artist Discretion, or the right to create how a company feels fit to.
You hire someone upon what they have already become known for.
So to ask differently of them is not only entitlement but also disrespect to the creator.
12. I am your friend, what do you mean by “no raws”? Why can’t I have them?? Girl. Be real. I support you, but this is making it hard.
Again I am starting to think and feel that people do not understand the word “friend”. Or sister word of “friendship.” Friends and friendship do not equate to special treatment.
People are paying to follow rules laid out in contracts.
Why is there this expectation for special treatment when you know someone… and there is a friendship tethered to it? If anything should that not make it more of a thing to be respectful to a connection/friendship? To fully “support”? Also should that not make it easier to “support”?
As you can read, I have questions. Moving on to answering those asked…
By “no raws”, it is intended to educate that people are not entitled to what is captured on the memory card. The unedited data. By giving away raws, photographers lose the right to claim copyright.
This occurs in 2 ways.
The first way, anyone who has the original has/can claim that it is “theirs”.
Secondly, this means they can edit how they “feel” fit. And claim it. This can then lead to the misconception a photographer has more than one “signature” style and can edit on demand.
So amongst professionals, “no raws”, is a common practice. It is not an exception for certain individuals.
It is for all. Friends or not.
Continuing how Expected Low Costs of Service joined by High Expectations were a reason as to why I almost quit photography; it also made me grow a backbone and become someone.
Time and time again, I was asked again who I thought I was, and how was I different. While being told how replaceable I was.
SIDE NOTE: Starting out in photography comes with easy-to-please compliments. Growing in photography comes with a lot of skeptics. Becoming something in photography will have skeptics singing praises. All of this is sufficient to say: IT AINT FOR THE WEAK, EASILY DISHEARTENED, OR FRUSTRATED. Like I have put off writing this type of blog, even though I have been asked to since year 3. Apparently, I have an affinity with words and enough charisma to get people to listen. Please note I did not roll for this.
BACK TO POINT.
One can only take so many ego hits before either they quit… Or say, “WATCH ME.” For me, I remember Grams (then later joined by my husband) always being like “then quit then. Go a day without it.” Oh and honey how I failed epically. I missed things just making sense. So instead of quitting, I always ended up researching. In the research, I found how to become someone even if I did not feel ready.
To be seen as different, I had to be different. Starting with the style of editing.
One of the most underrated secrets to success is to start before you are ready”Marie Forelo
Reason Number 3 Why I Almost Quit Photography
Expected (Accepted) Editing Style for Success, made me get okay with not being immediately sought after.
Before anyone even sits with the question, “wouldn’t this make you want to quit more?” Yes. This was shifting away from expected busy performance. Yes, this was a reason why I almost quit photography. This time from my own inhibitions. You see when you get used to mimicking for easy success when you stop. You have to face your fear of failure, WAY MORE. There is no busying your way out to avoid it.
Oh, and man do I have to remind myself daily, had I done more than think “I have a camera, let’s figure it out as I go”, and did research ahead of time, this would have been met in the beginning. But everyone always thinks photography is easy, up until they leave level easy. As it has been extensively covered, anyone can learn how to be a photographer or as it is presumed, “just having a camera and hitting its button”.
No one thinks about the business side beforehand. Even if they are warned profusely. Other highlight reels make it look so easy. It’s tiring, but easy it is not.
Especially when you have to be known as someone to be taken seriously past your price point.
The reason why I almost quit photography had less about editing style, and more about being okay with taking time to be known about something different.
The first step, get real over what inspired me.
Step number two, learn how to combine key components into an editing style, to actually utilize Artist Discretion.
In the third step, create it and showcase it.
Bonus step, learn how to talk about it with confidence so I did not have to “sell” it.
Was the last one that I was not ready for. I never had to “sell” before.
I had a name, a camera, and a reputation.
Little did I know that I had a reputation for being cheap, and not for creating.
Also had the reputation of being too busy for connections.
So past hecklers, I was not ready to have to sell. Nor did I want to.
Do I look like a salesman to you? No.
But I quickly learned that artists can be fantastic and passionate… but without a salesman, they are dead in water. Yet that does not make their art less unique or amazing. Nor does it reflect on the artist.
Which like that ego, whew.
One does not go into the arts with an easily hurt ego.
Actually, we do, it’s what makes us good at creating art.
They make mistakes,
but they don’t quit.”Conrad Hilton
After all of these reasons why I almost quit photography and years later…
Several things have changed.
First off, that backbone from Grams got modified for modern times. Secondly, I stopped doing it all in hopes of catching grip to get traction. Instead, I upgraded the engine and put the weight where needed to get a better latch and take-off time. Which took time, and I had to become okay with either using time to get better. Or wasting time doing something that was not serving anything other than a pocketbook.
Just like a good car build, you have to understand that it will take time and money.
Either you got both, or you don’t. But sitting there spinning out and complaining is wasting both.
After upgrading the engine (editing style). And distributing added weight (willpower to see changes through regardless of outcome). It was time for a tune (optimization of what I wanted to be known for).
I was known for being busy. I needed to redefine busy.
In doing so, the requirement was to balance work with connections. Connections with myself and others.
No one likes a workaholic.
Yet everyone loves knowing you are working.
Welcome to American work culture.
Yes, I am still busy editing, but I started doing more that could be shared and related to.
Also, that made work, fun.
Besides being busy, I was also known for CARING. From the start of my career, it was remarked and complimented per session, HOW MUCH I cared. Often in comparative nature, however, it was still observed. So I started playing to my strengths. If I could not be a good salesman, I could be good at caring. Caring to research and plan and execute things calmly yet fun.
Optimizing my skills at editing and caring, I had to become okay with not being a salesperson.
So after all the reasons why I almost quit photography, I had to find my why I shouldn’t.
Without needing worldly success and fame and fortune as the reasons to not quit.
“Be the girl who just went for it.”Pinterest
Where is your lover’s tale taking us?
Till Next Buzz, honeybees!
Now I gotta make art from love
as your adventuring artist with a camera