The 7 words that changed my business

First off, hello! I’m Keri. If you don’t know me, I’m a lifestyle photographer based out of good ole’ Fenton, Michigan. I tell people ‘Metro Detroit’ or ‘Southeast Michigan’ since Fenton is a small town and most have never heard of such a place. I specialize in maternity, birth, newborn, children and family photography. I’ve been married almost 13 years to my best friend, Jeremy, and I’m the momma to five precious little ones, all under 9 years of age – along with one more peanut waiting for me in heaven.

I shoot Nikon and I’m a simpleton. One body and two prime lenses. That’s it yo. Yes, I dream about adding more gear to my collection and sometimes I like to fill my cart on B&H’s site with all my dream gear just for fun, but for now, you’ll see me shooting with a D750, paired with my Nikon 35 1.4g & Nikon 50 1.4g lenses. I also love tacos. Lots and lots of tacos. One day when I leave this world, I pray my last meal will be 3 crunchy beef and cheese tacos from a taco shop in San Diego, California….because that is where real good tacos live my friends, in case you were wondering.

So now that you know a little about me, let’s dive in to what this post is all about. Tacos. Only kidding. This past year has been a big year for me as photographer. Bucket list items were checked off my list you guys (ahem, meeting Rachel Vanoven of Rachel Vanoven Photography and having her photograph MY BABY and also meeting one of my other inspirations in the photography world, Sarah Hill, of Sarah Beth Photography. I met them both the same day and took selfies with them peeps, yes yes, be jealous. It was a good good day, and it even involved tacos. Cherry on top. My sweet baby girl was a baby model for Rachel’s first ‘Fly on the Wall’ workshop. It was truly amazing to not only have my baby photographed by thee best newborn photographer in the world (IMO, but come on, it’s true) but also get to hang out with her and see what a fabulous person she is.

There was something she said that day to the workshop girls that really stuck with me and made me think. It was a much needed light bulb moment for me as a photographer and it was those 7 simple words that changed my business. She said, *drumroll please*, “People invest in what’s important to them.”

 

It was really what I needed to hear but didn’t even know I needed to hear at the time. You see, I was wanting to make a change in my pricing but I was terrified. What if people tell me my work isn’t worth it? What if they tell me, “You’re crazy, I would never spend that on photos.” What if I don’t book a single session? What if? What if? What if? I would then think back to those 7 simple words she spoke that day. “People invest in what’s important to them.” When I thought about those words, I realized how true they really are and it gave me the push to make the changes I wanted to make.

I’m sure some people truly cannot afford my pricing, and I completely understand that and I do not take it personally, but I think if it is something that is important to you, you sacrifice other things to make it happen. Know what I mean? You want to go to Disney with your kids? Awesome! You save for it. You want your kids to have their own ipads? Awesome! You save for it. You make sacrifices in other ways so you can do those things you want to do. Maybe you don’t go out to eat as often, cut back on the mani’s and pedi’s, skip a week of golf, the list goes on and on…but you save because it’s something you value as important.

For me personally, photos have always been important to me… long before I was even a photographer. I’ve always loved documenting my life through photos and I love to scrapbook. Investing in family photos is important to me. In fact, this past November I booked one of my favorite photographers, Sarah Beth Photography, to capture my family this year. Our shoot is next month and we are even traveling over 5 hours for our session. I have been saving little by little for the last 9 months. I’ve been obsessing and planning outfits to make this session perfect, why? Because I’m investing in what’s important to me.

Having one of my favorite photographers capture these moments with my kids…their toothless smile, floppy blonde hair, and my baby’s thunder thighs are the moments I want to remember. Photographs freeze time. When my kids are grown, I know these photos will mean even more to me then. Looking at photos bring back memories, it takes you right back to that moment….and moments with my husband and kids are the ones I always want to go back to.

Those 7 simple words changed me. My perspective. My business. It was a breakthrough for me in many ways, a confidence builder I needed. I raised my prices and I don’t feel guilty about it anymore. I’ve worked really hard for the past six years to get here. I’ve invested in gear and tools to help me grow and get better. And most importantly, when I’m away shooting sessions, that’s time I’m away from my family. And that time is very precious to me and it has to be worth it to me.

So if you are a fellow photographer or small business owner, I encourage you to be confident in your talents. It really took me a long time to get there mentally. I would always feel bad about charging more money. Stop doing that! Your work is worth it! People will invest in what is important to them so don’t be offended if they don’t choose the service you provide. Be you. Be confident. And eat more tacos. That’s all folks.8D5A0356
(Photo Credit: Gracelyn Photography)

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