I’ve been a part-time photographer for 7 years now, and in the full-time biz for a year. In that short time, I’ve already made more mistakes than I care to count. In sharing a few of them with you, I hope that you can avoid them!
1. Not having a system.
I am a typical artist. Un-organized, scatterbrained, and a little bit forgetful. (where are my keys?) So often, my editing process would double and sometimes triple in time because I couldn’t remember which photos had been culled, or what I had promised to one client in our discussions. Charge the same amount for everyone, have a set rule for what each client receives, and for the love of your poor soul- get someone to help you figure out a system. Ex. Import photos AS SOON AS YOU GET HOME, have a backup system (I have an external harddrive, as well as online backup. https://www.backblaze.com/).
2. Not Knowing My Value
Do you believe your work holds value? Do you believe that you have something to offer that no one else does? You should. Because you do. You are the only version of you in existence. Only you can see the world as you do. Only you can inspire people’s souls as you do. I have often allowed others to devalue me. Not necessarily always by word, but also in deed. When someone has tried to discredit my value by telling me that I am “too expensive” in the past, I have often tried to meet them by offering a discount. DO NOT DO THAT. Am I saying that you should never cut someone a deal? Absolutely not. But I am saying that if someone devalues you from the start, they are not the person you want to work with. No $$ value is going to make them see your worth. In agreeing with them and lowering your cost, you are telling them that they are correct: “You aren’t worth what you are asking. ” Please, Please, PLEASE! Remember that this costs you more than money. Your life holds significant value, what time is spent on these clients is time never gotten back. It IS NEVER WORTH investing your time and heart and soul and sacrificing them for people who don’t love what you do.
3. Viewing Everyone as Competition
This ties into #2. Technically, where I live is an incredibly oversaturated photography market. We all do. With the growing accessibility to nice cameras, everyone and their dog has opened photography “businesses.” While it has been incredibly tempting to judge and hold resentment on those who drive the industry pricing downwards without offering much to the industry itself, I have learnt that this is a harmful mindset. All of us begin somewhere. Remember that every person has intrinsic value. All of us have been touched by art in some form or another to have picked up a camera. To view them as competition is to view them as an object, an obstacle: Something to crush or jump over. Instead, view your fellow photographers as companions: together you are inspiring the world with beauty. Someone inspired us to pursue our passions. We are all People first. Artists second. Businesses last.
I hope that you have found something in this list to guide you away from a few of the mistakes I’ve made. Any thing to add, or do you have any questions? I’d love to hear from you!
Jane Galbreath is a fascinating human being. If her dancing curls or her adorable dimples don’t captivate your heart, it will be her passion and gentle strength encased within a tenacious vulnerability that will grab your attention. A couple weeks ago, she contacted me regarding an upcoming fundraiser. I told her I would be happy to meet up and see how I could help out. In our meeting together, she told me about the non-for-profit that she has founded and wondered if I would be willing to help her promote a fundraiser. We met together to chat about her organization and I realized that people would naturally desire to get involved after hearing her heart.
Originally from Scotland, Jane moved to Canada in June 2004 when she was 18 years old. She left Scotland to travel and experience the world and to find a place of safety and healing from experiences in her past. Now holding a permanent resident status, Saskatoon is the home where she has found that safety and healing. At first, after meeting such a vibrant human full of love and care, one wouldn’t expect such a dark history to have overshadowed her earlier years. “I come from a background with sexual violence. I know the heartache and the shame that come from this, but I also know the strength that comes when you can make it to the other side and work through these things. I believe that survivors of violence are the answer to some of the issues” As a victim of sexual violence, Jane has walked through incredible pain and has struggled to find her healing and peace. That violence which once enveloped her with shame and confusion has now led her to a place of personal strength and propelled her forward with clarity.
“We believe that when a community doesn’t accept [sexual violence] as normal, that it will stop”
In September 2013, Jane founded Hope for Her International. ““Hope for Her International is focused on ending sexual violence against women and girls, existing on a local and global level to collaboratively cultivate communities that won’t accept sexual violence as the norm. We believe that when a community doesn’t accept [sexual violence] as normal, that it will stop” Jane’s passion is not blinded by revenge or bitterness. The main goal behind Hope for Her International is in supporting communities to change the perspective surrounding incidences of sexual violence. Hope for Her International is founded with a purpose that can seem impossible at times, but Jane’s vulnerable courage and fierce dedication to ending sexual violence seem like the perfect fit for such an organization. Finding her own hope and freedom was the catalyst that mobilized her into founding Hope for Her International.
I want people to know that there is hope and that, as a community, we can bring an end to sexual violence.
“Why focus on issues of sexual violence? It’s a really hard topic, and it’s a topic that brings out a lot of shame and fear in people. From a personal perspective, I’ve been a victim of sexual violence and I know the heartache and the shame and the hopelessness it creates, but I also know what it’s like to come out the other side as a survivor. I believe that victims of sexual violence can [find freedom and strength] with the help and support of their community, family and friends. So my desire is to use my own story as a way to tell other people about the issues that come with sexual violence and to advocate for survivors. I want people to know that there is hope and that, as a community, we can bring an end to sexual violence. Jane and is not trained in counselling or support for victims of sexual violence, but she does understand the struggle in overcoming such an experience. She encourages any victims needing help to contact her and she will point them in the right direction to find support.
THERE IS HOPE
“My message to people who have experienced sexual violence would be that it’s not your fault. It’s not your shame. You deserve to get help. And the last thing I want to say to you is no matter what happened; no matter how often; no matter how old or young you were; no matter how extreme it was, it was horrific and there is hope to come out of this. There is hope.”
How can you get involved?
On Wednesday June 11th, at 7pm Hope for Her International will be hosting its first fundraiser sponsored by Stephanie Schlosser with the Investors Group at the Broadway Theatre in Saskatoon. Tickets are $15 in advance and are available online at www.hopeforher.ca/events. The event will feature a viewing of the award winning documentary “Girl Rising.” All proceeds from this fundraiser will be used towards working with women and girls forced into prostitution in South East Asia, as well as towards the continued development of Hope for Her International’s work on a local level.