Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Putting a price tag on time

The last few weeks have been a rat race but things finally seem like they're starting to slow down.  It seems like the more things I check off my to-do list, the longer it grows instead of shrinks.  And the crazy thing is, my kids are still so young, and their schedules are quite open.  Heaven help me when they start getting older and into sports.

The past few months have been a time of agonizing self inspection and far too many nights of laying in bed awake at night thinking about it.  As I mentioned earlier, I've finally decided to start charging money when I take pictures for people. Agonizing, because how do you put a price tag on something you love but feel so insecure about?  I fear that people will look at me and laugh when they find out that I'm starting to charge.  While this was something I swore I'd never do, it has started to take so much of my time and money, that I realized I need to be compensated mainly for my time away for my family.  One night as we were talking about it, Dennis said, "You have to realize that when you give your time away, you are also giving away my time, and the children's time."  Each photoshoot, from beginning to very end, takes well over a dozen hours which translates to literally hundreds of hours away from my family.

The most interesting I've learned from this whole experience, which I think not only applies to photography but to life in general is this:  the more you do for free, the more people will complain, the more they'll demand, and the less satisfied they'll be.  To their defense though, I've put out some pretty atrocious pictures as I've been learning. I cringe when I look at some of my pictures from even just three months ago.  My sincerest apologies for some of the atrocities I've clicked into existence.

As I was going through this process of deciding what to do, I talked to my favorite friend when it comes to advice, who also happens to be a psychologist.  She told me that this is pattern of dissatisfaction when something is given for free is actually part of human nature.  She told me we are innately built with the desire to contribute and give back when something is given to us.  When that opportunity is taken away, or not offered, we can eventually become hostile and angry.  We talked about patients in nursing homes, who after several years of being taken care of hand and foot, become bitter and resentful.  After a lifetime of being caregivers, they now become receivers, with little to no opportunity to reciprocate and they quickly grow resentful.  How true this is, on  so many levels and in so many different situations, even for myself.

So I guess that's the skinny on why I haven't blogged in the past month.  My little brain has been bursting at the seams.  And then I have to take a step back and remember why I even got a DSLR in the first place, and it was never with the intent to make money or to take pictures for other people.  It was simply to learn something new and to take pictures of my own beautiful children.

Collage1-2 copy

Some funny outtakes of the same session.  Camden cooperated the very best so unfortunately there aren't any funny outtakes of him.

Silly Collage