I am not a female photographer.
I am a photographer…who happens to be female.
Together, in this industry, in the year 2015, we are simply “photographers.”
We are not defined by our gender.
I, for one, want to be defined by my talent and ability, not by the fact I have a uterus and my kids call me “Mama.”
So when I read a link to a blog post group called Female Photographers Association, I was a bit taken a’back. I didn’t know this existed; that FPA was “a thing.” But, I opened my mind as I followed the link to read the article directed toward female photographers only:
“THE EASIEST WAY TO MAKE MORE MONEY FROM YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY”
The article begins, “What if I told you there is an easier way to make more money from photography. That your bank account could still be steadily increasing while you take time off, while you play, while you relax…that you could be making money while you sleep?”
And baby, that sucked me right in. It was a brilliant intro. At this point, I was ready to buy whatever they were selling, even if it was a set of kitchen knives or a juicer or one of those unnecessary items you find pitched during a 2am infomercial. Who doesn’t want to make more money from their photography? Maybe the author would explain the beauty of in-person sales, or the necessity of selling prints, or how to interact with your clients…I was very excited to learn this “easiest way.”
And then, I found it.
Sell stuff to photographers.
Write a book, sell actions, sell templates, sell presets, sell newborn props…
As the author writes, “We don’t want to be doing all-night editing marathons, or be glued to our phone screens. Suddenly working with tiny babies who won’t co-operate / demanding brides / model divas / ‘the industry’ feels like a lot of hard work.This model of making money is SO MUCH EASIER.”
And something inside me died a little. I felt it. It gave out a small squeak of horror and then shriveled up and died. I had to revive it with vodka.
Once revived, I continued on to find out WHY the author feels this way. And when I found it, I called the DH and said, “Stop by Costco and bring home the BIG VODKA.”
The explanation: “There is only one of you. Your photography business can only make a finite amount of money, because there are only a certain amount of shoots you can do – unless you clone yourself.
You can of course work every single minute that God sends, but what is the point in that? No matter how much we love photography + our work, it is still work! And even then, there are only a certain amount of minutes in a day.
So if you think about it this way… there is only a certain amount of money you can earn, right?”
No..no, that is NOT right. That is not right at all. That is the opposite of right. That is wrong…very very wrong.
To tell a photography business, or ANY business, that there is a limit to what they can earn within their business is simply crazy talk. If you work hard and grow your business and your clientele and you are booked steady, then there is this awesome thing you can do to earn more money…
Raise your prices. This is not rocket science, here, people. If you are so busy with sessions and are working non-stop, well, that’s God’s way of saying, “Hey there, you might want to raise your prices.” Or hire additional staff. Or open a second location. I have never heard anyone say, “You know, I am so busy running a successful studio that I would like to take time away from it and sell presets.” I mean, if you are truly that busy with your business, you probably won’t have the time nor the inclination to step away from it with some side business, right?
And for those who are struggling to grow and prosper, this is dangerous advice. It’s akin to saying, “Oh well, can’t make any more money with your photography, you’ll never be able to work smarter or grow your business, so you might as just throw in the towel and start selling stuff to photographers, instead. It’s a lot easier.”
If you ask me, that’s a lot of what’s wrong with the industry. This defeatist attitude. Shortcuts. Fast Tracks. Secrets to Fast Riches.
I do not hold to that.
Of course running a business is hard…it’s SUPPOSED to be hard. If it feels like work, then good…it means you’re doing it right.
Of course, what do I know? I’m just a female photographer and should be spending my time selling to photographers, not drawing attention to the nonsense in this industry through free blog posts.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Missy Mwac is a photographer/eater of bacon/drinker of vodka and a guide through the murky waters of professional photography. You can follow her social media links here: Facebook, Tumblr. This article was also published here and shared with permission.