Lost A Client, Gained A Lesson

Late last year I learned one of many valuable lessons on this crazy journey as a photographer; my self-worth.  Since starting out a few years ago, it has been a constant battle between being 100% confident in my talents and letting my doubts and fears get the best of me. Back in November 2010, I received an inquiry from a potential client for wedding photography services.  As always, whenever someone contacts me to work with them I get all sorts of giddy.  The high I get when someone who has seen my work and contacts me to work with them never gets old. The client was the groom-to-be. He had seen my portfolio and felt it suited what he was looking for in a photographer. We had exchanged initial emails and then scheduled a call to get better acquainted.  Everything went along so beautifully as I explained to him my services and got to know him a little better.  We even got to the next stage where we agreed to set up some time to meet in person.  Happy happy, joy joy!! This would be my opportunity to really get to know him and his fiancé and secure them as my clients.  But before he got off the phone he mentioned one last thing “oh yeah, my fiancé and I would like to see some of your sample albums”.  Gulp, sample albums?  Eeeck!  And everything was going so well too, why’d he have to pull the sample album card? I had done wedding albums before but I did not have any physical “samples” to show him.  I didn't have my own studio after all. I became frantic and then the doubts started to creep in on whether or not they would book with me.  So I did what any normal person would do; I panicked! I had such a good feeling about working with them and I didn’t want to make not having a sample album screw up the whole thing. I scheduled us to meet one week out.  I figured that would give me enough time to get my hands on a sample album before our meeting.  As my luck would have it, he emailed me a few days later to tell me it was a pleasure speaking with me but he decided to go with someone else.  Ouch!  I was hugely disappointed.  Not just because I lost a potential client but because I thought it was my fault for worrying too much about needing the album to prove my worth and not recognizing my own value as a photographer.  Later on, I had a conversation about it with a good photographer friend of mine who reminded me that we must always remember that clients are paying for YOU.  It doesn’t matter what gear you have, how many weddings you’ve shot, or any sample albums; your client should want you for you.  In my case, I became distracted with needing an album to “show-off” and not having confidence in the talents that I alone could bring to the table. The sample album doesn’t speak for my capabilities as a photographer, only I can do that. That experience awakened me in so many ways and has helped me to understand who I am as a person and photographer; it was a true test of the value and confidence one must put into themselves and their abilities. Getting past the fear and doubt is no easy task but it can be a test of your strength to see the value in everything you do. Being confident in myself and knowing my own worth hasn’t always come natural for me.  Even now, it is a constant journey of trusting myself, seeking support, and taking risks despite the doubts and fear. In what ways has fear prevented you from seeing your self-worth?  How has it affected you? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- This post was inspired by a recent article written by Tara Sophia Mohr titled Playing Big which moved me to explore the ways in which doubts and fear play a role in my life.   I was motivated and encouraged to take on an exciting new challenge that will help me in owning my unique talents and sharing my vision with the world.  More details on that this week... ;) ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- See Beauty... Ariane
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