Most of you know me as Suzanne, or Twenty Four, Blogger Extraordinaire.
You also know I take a lot of photos.
I don’t write much about the “work” part of what I do.
(Which seems a little strange since I spend most of my waking hours working.)
As fun as it sounds,
I don’t spend the majority of my time traipsing local beaches and shooting photos.
Shooting pretty photos is only a very small portion of the hours I put in for my job.
I spend endless hours on “the boring stuff” like billing, editing photos, marketing, website maintenance, staying up to date on the latest, and greatest, camera-related technology, client consultations, scouting locations, writing bids, etc., etc. (Oh, and let’s not forget cleaning gear. Shooting beaches means I spend a LOT of time cleaning tripods, lenses, etc.)
For the most part, I take on four different types of clients.
In no particular order, they are:
1) Individuals who wish to own a piece of fine art for their home/office or to give as a gift. There’s no nicer compliment than knowing someone loves my art enough to want it in their “space.” Honestly, I’m truly deeply touched by every single sale of this type. I will never get “over” how warm and fuzzy it makes me feel.
2) Public Relation Events. At this point in my life as a photographer, a good deal of people know who I am. I get hired to come photograph a wide variety of events as a result. For example, if Charity XYZ is having an event they might bring me into the equation knowing it will serve a dual purpose. First, they know they’ll get some good photos by having me there. Second, they know I might mention who they are, or where I am, or what I’m doing, on one form or another of social media. With a large social media following, a single mention can be a big PR bonus for them.
3) Relatively small, local, businesses. My photos have been purchased to dress up the walls of several local businesses. Sometimes I’m hired to do photos for a website, for advertising, and/or to “get the word out” about a local business.
4) Big Corporations and/or Cities. Let’s be honest – art is expensive. Cities and large companies have, in general, larger budgets than individuals usually do. Cities like to have a photographer who can cast them in a good light. It’s good for tourism. A city might hire me for an event (see #2 above), and/or hire me to photograph the city image they wish to project out to the rest of the world. On the other hand, a large corporation is likely to hire me to decorate entire office buildings and/or for advertising and/or for public relation events they’re involved with.
I run my business differently than most photographers.
For me, it is NOT about quantity …. it’s about providing my clients with The Absolute Best Quality.
My work is expensive.
It’s expensive for a few reasons.
First of all, I don’t make concessions on a single aspect of it.
Everything has to be perfect or it isn’t good enough to put my name on it.
I meet with big project clients (sometimes for months on end) with only one goal in mind.
They WILL be happy.
They WILL be glad they hired me and not Joe Blow With An Expensive Camera Set On Automatic.
In addition to delivering a high quality product, and stellar (!!) customer service, I also go into every project knowing I have to work a lot harder than a two-armed photographer.
I can’t shoot eight hours a day every day.
I plan for big events by not shooting for a few days prior.
After a big shoot, I often have to take a week or two away from my camera just to “calm down” my pain levels.
In other words, I have to space my projects very carefully.
I have no choice but to “manage” within the limitations of my bum arm.
As an example, yesterday morning I was at a local business.
It will be my not-so-far-in-the-future shooting location.
I was there scouting the lighting situation, the building angles, and potential “great” shots.
Joe Blow With An Expensive Camera Set On Automatic would just show up the day of the shoot and start clicking.
Midday, I did some photo editing, made several work-related phone calls, and watched an online tutorial of a software product I’m considering purchasing.
I was scheduled for a shoot, with a client, in the late afternoon.
The plan was to do the shoot outdoors, at a local beach.
An hour or two prior to the shoot, a layer of beach fog drifted in.
Beach fog would be okay for many shoots, but not for this one.
We rescheduled for later in the week.
With the extra two hours I gained from a cancelled shoot,
I began a re-inventory of my gear for insurance purposes.
It’s so easy to go cross-eyed while recording microscopic serial numbers.
As I was working on the inventory, I remembered it’s time to renew my membership in one of the professional photographer organizations I belong to.
All in all, it was a very boring, administrative, day.
The majority of my work days are very similar.
Taking photos is only a very small part of being a working photographer.