Hey, you! Have you seen my little video about not working for free or “for exposure” or for “free advertising” or for whatever people try to sell you on in order to NOT have to pay you? If not, check out the video in my Facebook group (and join us while you’re there): Shoot with Passion™ Coaching for Photographers.
It’s not my intention to sound so cynical, by the way. Most people who have asked me to work for free really have had good intentions. They really do think it will be good advertising for me. And, as my Southern sisters would say, “Oh, bless their hearts.”
So, now I can hear you saying, Okay, smarty pants, I REALLY DO need to get advertising and exposure and build my portfolio. You just told me that’s wrong, so what do I do now??
Shoot what you’ve got, babe. You started this business to have the freedom to spend your days how you’d like, right? When you’re out and about living this fabulous life you’ve designed for yourself, shoot what you’re doing and build your portfolio.
On Saturdays, we go to our local farmers market. This time I brought my camera along. Sidenote: macarons aren’t my favorite cookie. However, they are definitely the prettiest to photograph. And I have to say that these are the tastiest I’ve ever had.
Of course your kids are sick of looking and smiling for the camera! Mine are too.
We had a friend over the other day who said, “You’re taking pictures of the birds on your porch?!” My daughter says: Welcome to my life.
Give them a day off. Want to be able to advertise that you’re a “lifestyle” photographer? You still take photos of the little darlings, but make it lifestyle and just catch them in action. It might even spark the idea for a future photoshoot for a client. I’m thinking lemonade stand….
And remember when I told you in the video that people cannot translate the idea of one shoot you’re doing to the shoot they want? Their kids, their homes, their weddings, their _______.
That still applies here. People will not see this image of blueberries (although they look so cool, right?) and think, “Ooh, I’ll get her to shoot me and my husband on the beach this summer.” HOWEVER, you’re still building your portfolio and giving yourself credit as an artist. You’re practicing. You’re honing your skills. And, you’re NOT getting burned out on shooting the same thing day in and day out.
These are our favorite jams from Jackie’s Gourmet. Yes, the blueberry vanilla is already gone–two days later.
Also, when you shoot something different, you’re not giving away the images and your time for free. You’re reminded why you love photography so much.
Finally, when you’re out shooting while you’re living your life, you’re expanding your chance for opportunities. Two vendors asked me for a business card after they saw my big camera and we chatted a bit about being small business owners. You’re building relationships, which will ultimately get you booked.
Go out there, friends, and enjoy your cameras again. Your portfolio will thank you. Are you a part of our Shoot with Passion™ Facebook group? It’s a lovely community of ladies–we talk all about business and getting your businesses focused. And for the gentlemen reading this, I offer private coaching, but you’ll have to start your own Facebook man group. :)
Have questions? Get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org or 508.768.5808