Overcoming Fears by Pushing Yourself Out of Your Comfort Zone

I think most photographers can relate to me when I say that raising your prices has to be one of the scariest decisions that we make as photographers. I spent 10 years spinning my wheels in this business, before I over-came my fears and started running a profitable business. Did you know that 85% of photographers fail and 60% of them fail in the first year? I almost quit, in fact I did take a break for about 5 years, but I decided to give it one last go. I decided that if I was going to continue with my photography career that I had to be profitable. Who is with me?

With that in mind I decided to put my energy into the business side of photography. My photography skills were still not where I wanted them to be. Do we ever reach that perfection that we aim for, as artists? I decided that I was going to push forward anyways. One of my first challenges, was to stop comparing myself to the other photographers in my area! I still find myself taking that occasional peek and every time I do, I end up feeling frustrated with my own progress. This is not contributing to my growth nor is it contributing to yours! So, stop comparing yourself!

The next step was to join some local networking groups. Terrifying, I know! I can remember how my knees were shaking at that first event. It has been 3 years since I joined my first networking group and I still get nervous. Guess what? So does everyone else at these events! Remembering that, helps me push myself out of my comfort zone, so that continue to show up for the events, even when I desperately want to talk myself out of it.

I decided to continue challenging myself by taking the Certified Professional Photographer exam. Again, I was nervous and unsure but I put a date on the calendar and I made it happen. Imagine all the feels when I passed and I was able to hang my certification up in my studio!

Once I had my certification I decided to work on my mindset. How could I possibly raise my prices to be profitable. I once seen a talented photographer in my area, was charging $15 for a mini session with 40 images included! How could I compete with that??? The reality is, I didn’t. Guess who is no longer a photographer? Determining what YOUR costs are and letting go of the fear of charging 1000+ for a session is scary but necessary! During the pandemic I decided to go all in and I raised my pricing drastically. It was the first year that I was able to make a profit of $45,000. Keep in mind I didn’t work from March to November because of the pandemic!

The other big change I made that year was to switch to an In Person Sales (IPS) model. Again, very scary! What do you say? What if they question your pricing? What if they don’t think you are good enough? What if they just want the digitals? What if I sound salesy, I am not a sales person? All of those thoughts went through my head and caused me to put off IPS for many years. I learned really quickly that I love IPS and so do my clients!!! When I ask them what their favorite part of the experience is they almost always mention how much they loved coming back to see their images. Sometimes we base our decisions out of fear and not reality.

My next big jump was to hire a full-time assistant. Being responsible for another person’s salary is one of the scariest things I have ever decided to do. But I took a leap of faith and hired my daughter full-time. It has been wonderful having someone to help me with all my marketing, editing, styling clients during a shoot and so much more. I can now stop working at 4:00 everyday! No more staring at the computer until 2am.

I will continue to challenge myself, and you should too, because growth comes from taking risks and facing your fears! Not everything will work out but you will learn from it. My next big step is going to be to speak at Imaging. After teaching two PPA workshops, I realized that I really like teaching. So, keep an eye out for me on the list of speakers at Imaging USA!

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