It’s time for another edition of our monthly series “Ask a CMpro” here on the CM photography blog in which we give our CMpros one question and they dish. Their answers alone are always inspiring and this week we asked them, “How do you assess your value as a photographer and for what you bring to a client?”
*image courtesy of Lissa Chandler
Elena Blair, Washington
I assess my value based on how I feel after a shoot. If I feel like I really connected with my clients and I know in my heart that they trust me with their images, I know they will value my work an in turn I will value my work.
Pam Korman, Pennsylvania
Since I don’t shoot for clients, I will probably answer this question a little differently. I asses my “value” as a photographer through my own growth and through setting and reaching personal goals. Because I am generally shooting for myself, I become the client. Being able to see my work get stronger and evolve, and to quantify that growth through achieving my goals, helps me to see the value in my photography.
Beth Wade, North Carolina
I think there is a huge value in delivering consistent work to my clients, yet making sure each session feels different and unique to that family. The longer I shoot, the harder this becomes! So if I can deliver a full session that feels fresh and new, stays true to my work and makes my clients happy then I feel like that is a great accomplishment.
Katie Woodard, Arizona
Finding value as a photographer and in what I give to clients has been a scary journey! The biggest things for me are connecting with people, being kind, hearing Mom or Dad say how touched they were, seeing an image that totally captures my child’s personality and knowing I truly LOVE what I do. I have never felt as strongly about something (besides family of course) as I have about photography! I have slowly learned that if I value it, (some but not all, and I am okay with that too!!) others will too.
Caroline Jensen, Minnesota
I assess my value by how much I would cry if the images were lost! I love to make pretty pictures, but in the end it is my ability to capture moments that matter that determine my worth. Giving my children memories to pass on to future generations is all that matters to me in the end. The same could be said for any client work. Passing down memories is paramount to me.
Michelle DeMoss, California
I like to talk with my clients BEFORE the session and discuss their vision and ideas, as well as mine to make sure we are on the same page. My value as a photographer is to be able to stick to my guns and not cheat on myself by going along with a style that isn’t my own. I also feel like I owe this to my clients since they chose me by looking at my work, I would hate to deliver something completely different that the work that I show on my website. I have even referred clients to other photographers when I thought we wouldn’t work well together.
Colie James, Colorado
I value my photography by how I would feel as the client. i recently made the move to indoor storytelling because as a client it’s what I would value and what I love to shoot. After a session if I find that I captured moments that as a mother and client I would love and cherish then I am a happy happy photographer.
Michelle Turner, Maine
I find value in capturing once-in-a-lifetime moments. I love creating pretty photographs, but what I want to do above all other things is create images that trigger a memory or an emotion in my clients. Whether it is a touching moment at a wedding ceremony or the fleeting days of childhood, I want every client to feel like I captured a piece of their lives in an authentic, beautiful way.
Stacie Turner, Connecticut
I think that I create something pretty special for my clients. I only take a very limited number of commissioned portraits so I can bring the same creative energy to them that I do to my personal work. One thing that I am very proud of is that I can bring vintage film and toy camera work to every full session and create images that no one else in the area can do. For the right client that is a tremendous value.
Parikha Mehta, Pennsylvania
My goal is to tell a full story for my clients through photos, so I basically assess my value by the feedback I get from them after they see the images. When a client says they were really moved by my images (especially when they are moved to tears! not that I am in the business of making people cry, of course), I feel like I did my job. In my personal work, it’s a pretty similar benchmark; if I can look at an image and be instantly transported back to that moment almost exactly the way I remember it, I know I nailed it.
Bethney Backhaus, Florida
I assess my value as a photographer in emotional response that my images give me and my clients. I love seeing a photo of my daughter when she was a tiny baby and actually feeling the emotions I was feeling at that time and remembering the sounds she made and the way that she smelled. It’s so important to me to capture my clients in this way as to freeze memories for them that will transport them back to that time.
Lissa Chandler, Arkansas
For client work, I assess my value as a photographer with how the session flows and how the images turn out. My sessions have been successful when there has been a lot of fun, a lot of laughing, and a lot of emotion captured. When I edit my images and feel a rush of emotion, I know that I have completed the job I set out to do. My personal work is the same way- if I can look at a photograph and feel something- whether it be happiness, love, joy, nostalgia, or wonder- then I am incredibly happy (and ridiculously excited to have them for the years to come!).
Sophan Theam, Florida
I capture intimate moments in an artistic and beautiful way. I want my photos to be breathtaking and to move my clients in the same way a beautiful song, painting, book, or movie would. The feedback I receive is essentially the way I assess my value as a photographer. If the client is not moved by their pictures, then I feel I did not do my job right.
Lauren Sanderson, Alabama
Most families I work with think there is nothing extraordinary about their life. Like most of us, they are caught up in day-to-day routines, soccer practice, and endless to-do lists. But I consider it my job to prove them wrong – to capture their ordinary life and make it look extraordinary. When clients are looking at their pictures years and generations down the road, I want my images to spark little memories and be the catalyst for conversations about things they used to do together, places they went, and happy moments long forgotten. And this goes for my own family too… I want all the photos I take of them to tell a story, so one day my girls will see what our little life was really like.