apples falling -from March farms tree-kate uhry

” We do not need magic to transform our world. We carry all the power we need inside ourselves already. We have the power to imagine better”

J.K. Rowling

I wanted to touch on  some thoughts  I’ve had over the last week. Whether  you are a photographer, or in a creative field, or you run your own business…. Don’t ever give away your work for free! Don’t ever let someone try and negotiate your fee. You set your fee, you set you hourly rates, and you set your boundaries. When people love your work, and respect it (and you) you won’t have to haggle. That is the ideal client! This is not to say that you should never donate your time to a charity, or cause you care about!

Even though I have been a professional photographer for over 20 years, I still fall and stumble sometimes.  Just recently a friend of mine asked what prevents people from just “taking my pictures” online. The answer was quite simple, nothing.  As creative’s we can watermark, or simply show low resolution images, but images are always grabbed, and taken and then circle around Pinterest or Tumblr. But it happens to photographers all the time!  Not getting credit for your work is hard, but over time, if you want to publicly share your work, it’s one of the pitfalls of being a photographer. Following that I recently had a contract sent over to me from a BIG company (like major). They want to  use one of my images for their website. It was flattering, to say the least, and when sent the email, I was excited.  When I opened the contract, I laughed. It basically said they would pay me nothing, and that I would give up all rights to the image, forever, and no one could know it was my image. I was feeling “bad” for sticking up for myself, and wanting to change the contract, I didn’t ever hear back…but I stuck to my guns, and I can’t be sorry for that. I have to believe that if you go with your gut, good things will come of it.

Last week I had a client try and negotiate my fee. She was counting down to minutes. There I was in her second home, the whole perfect New England mansion…and she was haggling with me. I let go, and said she should pay me what she feels is fair, that this is my fee. Sure enough, in the end, she ended up paying me less than my normal fee. I walked away feeling angry. But the fault is on me, for not sticking up for myself. I feel like had I been a man, or had I been a plumber, or any other contractor, she wouldn’t have tried to haggle. In that moment, I realized that I can’t do that anymore. I shouldn’t let someone tell me my services, and time are worth less. So lesson learned, once again, that even after all these years, I still fall.

What pitfalls have you experienced in working for yourself? What is the best lessons you have learned?