Principle 4 of Charlamagne Tha God’s book Black Privilege: Opportunity comes to those who create it says that in life “there are no losses only lessons.” Boy, did I learn a lesson a few weeks ago. As some of you know, I decided to pursue photography as a way to make a little extra money. I had no idea of the type of questions and obstacles that I would face. One lesson in particular is: Always make sure there is fine print.
As a law abiding, easy going person, I know that nothing is free, but I also don’t try to get too much more out of something than what I put in. The world however, does not. A few months ago I put an ad out for $20 photography shoots to get my name out there and to build a small portfolio that I could show to potential clients. Lesson number 1: when you run a special, put an expiration date. Because I was so small and not that many people had heard of me, I figured that when the ad was off, no one would find it. I was wrong.
The advertisement had been down for an entire month and some change, when I received a message asking about the $20 special. I tried to deter them to my new pricing structure which would adequately compensate me for the execution time, travel, and edits, but they weren’t buying it. They proceeded to call me and explain that my ad or my special did not specify an expiration date. Fearing that this person would leave a bad review or tarnish my name before I ever entered the field, I agreed to do the shoot for $20. Lesson number 2: Don’t let fear dictate your decisions. Anyone can say anything at any time for any reason.
Lesson number 3: Stick to your guns. Set guidelines before you go on the shoot and stick to them no matter what. Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself and your work because remember lesson 2. I allowed the client to decide the meetup location, don’t do this. I ended up running a little late to the shoot so I let it run its course. However, had I put my foot down about the meetup location, I probably would have been on time. Everything would have gone smoother if I had just stuck to my guns.
The shoot wasn’t that bad, and the photos came out lovely if you ask me. I’m a pretty people pleaser type person so I tend to give people what they want in a photoshoot. I actually lost money in the process, but I learned a few valuable lessons. I went into the shoot not having control because I made a small mistake in the planning process, but I will learn from this mistake going forward. That’s all you can do. Like Charlamagne said, “In life, there are no losses, only lessons.”