I have been thinking a lot lately about the story Jesus told of a man who heard about a treasure in a field and sold everything to buy the field and gain the treasure. The man valued the treasure. He bought the whole field. He paid dearly for the thing he valued because he knew it would be of greater value to him than anything he owned.
I want to be valued like that. I want to value my work like that. I want to value my clients and my fellow vendors like that. No bartering, no nickel-and-diming, no making me and everybody else feel cheap by acting like I can just discount everything and absorb the cost to both my pocketbook and my heart.
Where is the line between generosity and preserving value? Am I valuing myself and my work more by saying “no, I will not work for free” or by saying “I will shoot what I want to shoot and forget whether I am being paid or not”? When I’m not getting referrals, when my few-and-far-between queries turn tail and run upon seeing my pricing, when the people in my current sphere are more budget-conscious than value-conscious, what do I do to keep doing what I love?
How can I make my life as a photographer a life where I both feel valued and give others value?
Your thoughts welcome.
Rani and John (who had the most gorgeous light ever for their oh-so-wonderful engagement session!) were married in a beautiful cosmopolitan wedding here in Charleston last October, and I’ve been saving their feature post until we got their wedding published, which happened yesterday at The Wedding Row. This wedding was one of the most joyous occasions I’ve ever witnessed – and I don’t use that word lightly. Everyone who came was genuinely glad to be there, and the love that got passed around that group of people was incredible to witness. The pictures didn’t do it justice, but here is some of the beauty, and a few of my favorites from their day.
Venue: The Creek Club at I’on
Rentals: Ooh! Events
Bride’s Dress: David’s Bridal
Bride’s Shoes: Badgely Mischka
Bridesmaid Dresses: Bari Jay
Tuxedo & Groomsmen: Mens Wearhouse
Flower Supplier: Forget-Me-Nots by Horst Flowers
Floral Designer: Friend of the Bride
Cake: Cakes By Kasarda
Transportation: Charleston Black Cab Company
I always wanted to get married on a Tuesday. I have no idea why, really, and I ended up doing it on a Sunday, since we had about 200 guests who couldn’t make it on a week day. But Kim and Donny picked a Thursday (TODAY!!!) to elope in Charleston, and I am so planning my rewedding on a weekday now, because it doesn’t really matter what day you get married – wedding days can be any day!
EDIT: Photo is a #latergram from Kim and Donny’s wedding session.
Two days after I returned from Georgia (it feels like years ago, not mere weeks!!!), I shot this absolutely beautiful wedding for Jason and Michelle, a couple that has so much in common with Pete and me it is SCARY. We spent over three hours on their engagement session, purely because the whole thing felt like a double date, and their wedding wasn’t that different – we came as guests, not just photographers.
Anyway, I had shot so much film at A Lovely Workshop, I decided to bust out three rolls on this wedding in what turned out to be some rather harsh lighting (thanks to the Charleston tide, which came in about two hours earlier than we wanted it!). I have absolutely no regrets. Not only do I have three rolls with some gorgeous, gorgeous images that only need touching up, I now have a film “template” for processing my digital files from the same lighting situation. It’s gold, no matter how you look at it.
So. I am stoked. And I’m pretty much head over heels for this wedding I wasn’t so sure about until the film came back yesterday. I looooooove creating images that I would pin…
Please forgive all the film/tech talk that may be coming here in the next few weeks as I get to post things from A Lovely Workshop and start sharing some of the other work I’ve done recently. I shoot what I shoot and use whatever tools I have on hand to make the images I love, but I’ve been wrestling a lot – a LOT – with the film vs. digital thing for the last two years or so, and shooting film is a huge growth area for me and my business.
Learning what film looks like in lighting situations where I’m also shooting digital (I love having different lenses and different cameras on the same setting!) is helping me edit my digital files soooo much closer to the aesthetic I’ve been wanting to achieve since I switched to digital for my first wedding ten years ago. I get a little squealy when I get images back from a lab that already look better than what I could have done with HOURS of digital processing.