I had a unique experience the other day. I was contacted by text by an individual that wanted to know if I could do a little photography during a birthday party. He provided little details at first and I thought, sure I can. I can shoot a bunch of kids at a birthday party. I thought if might be fun and I could get more experience doing some portrait shots. I actually enjoy photographing kids. I ask the guy to send me an email with the details of the shoot and I would back to him. Below is what he requested;
Thanks, kindly get back to me with your total cost to shoot for 5 hours service event will start from 7pm and end by 12am,am needing 10 portraits of me and my family including 30 portraits of my guests in cd am turning 68 looking to expect 70 guests and event is indoor will take place in my house here in Greensboro?
As you can see from his request, it wasn’t going to be a typical birthday party of me running around chasing little kids and trying to get a few real-time portrait images. I was going to be a photo shoot that I was not going to like, take a lot of time, very challenging, and beyond what I was comfortable with. At one point, I thought about taking on the challenge and then I stopped to think, do I really want to do it? My answer came pretty quickly. My answer was no.
It made me think about being willing to simply say no to request that is beyond my skill sets or the desire to really want to do them. Money is never my motivating factor for taking on any photo shoot. My main objective is to do a great job and give my clients and customers a great product. If I feel uncomfortable about a project I have no problem with saying no. I do believe that it is good practice to experiment in all types of photography and do shoots and projects outside my comfort zone. That is how I grow as a creative and a photographer. However, the request to take on a massive project like the one requested by the birthday client was something I really did not want to tackle, regardless of the money.
Knowing when to say no can save you from a lot of headache and stress of doing a shoot you are not comfortable with or you just don’t want to do. There should be boundaries set when discussing a project or photo shoot with a client. Sometimes a client may not understand what is involved in a photo shoot. So it is a good practice to take the time to discuss all details of a photo shoot before agreeing to any project. The last thing you want to do is agree to a project that you are not comfortable with. If you don’t shoot a specific type of photography it is a good practice to be honest with yourself and don’t be apprehensive in saying no. It is very important to know your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to your photography business.
Learning to say no is a powerful thing and can save you a lot of stress and headaches. I am pretty sure the money would have been pretty good for the birthday party but money is not my prime objective. It never has been. Besides, we all know no one gets rich being a photographer.
Until next time.