You guys, I really need some feedback on this one. For the last year and a half I have eschewed any professional photography gigs. I’ve given it up. There were some valid reasons behind this move. As anyone who has started a small business in an already crowded market, it can take awhile for business to start picking up. To add to the normal start-up costs, if you’re not well-connected (because you recently moved 300 miles), that adds a new element in your quest; you must start making connections and be real about it. Add to the mix a generous dash of low self esteem and anxiety issues, and you begin to understand the hurdles I had to jump in order to start this endeavor.
I gave away most of it in the first year, learning some very important lessons in customer service, technical real life scenarios (like, what happens if your battery runs low and you’re nowhere near a replacement and we’re right in the middle of a ceremony)* and public relations. When the paying customer began to come in, I would fret. Am I charging enough? (Like most uncertain photographers, I wasn’t respecting my craft so no, I wasn’t charging enough.) What if I don’t do something right? What if they don’t like the end product? What if they want me to do something I can’t do? Is my work original enough? What if they don’t like ME? And so it went. For weddings, I would spend literally hundreds of hours in photoshop, goofing around with the hundreds, some times, thousand plus images I had taken. Portrait sessions were no less involved when it came to photoediting and the whole time I was driven by fear. What if, what if, what if? By and large my clients were happy with the product, and I would breathe a sigh of relief when the transaction was completed. I had some repeat customers and towards the end, I was actually starting to feel, if not comfortable, a little less tense.
When circumstances lead us away to a different county 60 miles away, I had to seriously think about my options. Should I start all over again? Was the agony worth it? I decided no. I donated my backdrops, lighting kits, and several other items to the local Salvation Army, so sure was I that I wouldn’t ever need those again. I wrapped up some loose ends and happily put away all things photographic.
For about six months.
It started harmlessly enough. Sophisticated selfies, pictures of my doggies, my crafts, nothing special. Now I’m sitting here, wondering if I should contact one of my former clients and see if they want a freebie in San Francisco. (They are incredibly photogenic).
So, you see my dilemma? Should I start it up again, go through all the anguish, or should I leave my status as a serious amateur?