It always surprises me when I hear stories about things other photographers have done as a cash grab… but perhaps it shouldn’t. For so many, that’s what this business is about… well, for many in many types of business that’s all that business is about.
I’m a photographer because I love life. I love capturing life. I love stopping that perfect moment, and storing it forever – perfect, without failure of memory. I love photography. I charge what I need to, and no more. It’s not a cash grab for me. It’s not about finding the peek that our area can support and charging as much as possible. I charge what I have to, in order to make photography viable for me, and no more.
Today I heard a story from a client, about a family who purchased a couple of Groupons recently from a photographer in our area. My client (who also found out about me through Groupon – I was the first photographer from Saskatoon who was featured) had raved about her experience to this other family. So when they saw another photographer there, they jumped at the chance to purchase two groupons – one to keep, one to give as a gift.
When this family contacted the photographer, they asked if it would be possible to use the groupons for graduation sessions. The photographer said that would be just fine. Later, the photographer changed their mind telling this family that she had so many people requesting graduation shoots that she decided to add an additional fee for all graduation portrait sessions… so they could have their graduation booking by paying the additional fee, or they’d have to book some other type of session. That, in my eyes, is soooo wrong, on soooo many levels.
Perhaps things like this shouldn’t surprise me, but they do. Really, talk about the ultimate cash grab. When they realized the demand was high, they go back – even to people they had already said yes to – and say “yes, but only if you pay extra”. I just can’t imagine doing something like that.
There are enough mediocre photographers out there, billing as if they aren’t – 0ffering a couple hundred low res images on a disk for a few hundred dollars (and then charging out the nose for prints or one high resolution file). It’s hard enough for people to put their trust in us, without us having to battle these types of negative experiences. It’s no wonder that so many people have reservations about hiring a professional photographer.
If you don’t LOVE what you are doing it shows. It becomes about the cash grab, about taking people for as much as you can. And I find that to be so disheartening.
Photography is more than a job (or at least it should be). Photography is about passion, about pride. It’s about how you see the world. It’s about taking others through the lens with you – and introducing them to the beauty you can’t help but see. Opening their eyes to what was already there. Taking their hand, and bringing them into your world, sharing a very deep, very intrinsic part of yourself. As soon as it becomes about the money, you can’t hold onto that. As soon as your eyes become clouded by dollar signs you lose sight of the rest.
So, for those who have been taken advantage of… take heart. There are photographers out there who are in it for the love of something more. Sometimes you just have to dig a little deeper, and look a little harder to find us.
In spite of my excitement over the huge numbers generated by my groupon, I’m still sick. So the long hours I’ve been putting in answering questions, responding to emails, and streamlining the booking process have taken their toll. I’m absolutely burnt right out. Happy, but needing to sleep and get this bug out of my system.
For those of you who have purchased a groupon, THANK YOU! Your support is truly overwhelming. No one expected these kinds of numbers. Even Patrick (the groupon guy) estimated about 70 total sales… so the fact that we are now sitting at 185 is absolutely incredible! Thank you, truly.
Now onto business. 😉
The shear volume of emails, FB messages, and phone messages I am sorting through is overwhelming. I am doing my best to get through everything, and your patience is so appreciated.
The best thing you can do to help ensure that I get to you in a timely fashion is this:
Send me an email with “Groupon Booking” in the subject line. Within your message include a little information about your family, and the type of session you are hoping for. The more I know about you and what you hope to accomplish the better. Also include three or four dates/times, in order of preference, for your booking. My email address is photographer at tobi-dawne.com (replace “at” with “@”)
Having all this in ONE message will make the whole process much quicker, and it will help me during the next couple of days as I actually start booking everyone in. Once your sitting is booked, I will send you an email with your date and time… and I will also answer any questions you may have mentioned in your message.
Thanks everyone. I really do appreciate your patience and your support. Truly, this has been an amazing couple of days – in spite of being sick. 😉 I am very much looking forward to getting to know all of you, and helping to create some incredible memories.
Can you believe it? Today, thanks to a huge outpouring of support, we actually crashed my TD Photography website. In only about twelve hours we hit FOUR TIMES our monthly bandwidth allowance.
Say it with me now… holy crap.
I am completely blown away.
I have been on the phone with the support over at doteasy.com (my host). I last spoke to them about three hours ago now. I let them know that it was with great urgency that I needed my website and email addresses back up and working. This required a loosening of my purse strings, and a highly coveted sixteen digit number with a four digit expiry. LOL But they promised to have me up and running as quickly as possible.
They moved Tobi-Dawne.com (and all associated with it) to a new server. I have since readded my prefix, and reuploaded all the files associated with both Tobi-Dawne.com and TD Photography (which is located at photography.tobi-dawne.com).
Tobi-Dawne.com is up and running, and as of about two minutes ago so is TD Photography. So YAY! I will be heading off to check my netbook after posting this to see if my email addresses are back up as well. Cross your fingers for me. LOL
I have to say, I’ve never been so grateful for a FB page. At least some of you were able to track me down through that, and I was able to post updates on the status of the website.
Never have I had an account/domain suspended before. LMAO And I’m hoping it never happens again.
Patrick, over at groupon.com (the reason for the sudden surge in traffic) has been just as surprised at the interest as I. He projected about 70 sales, and when the site went down several hours ago, we were already at almost 120. So thank you to each and every one of you who checked out my website, contributed to it’s collapse, and made me grin from ear to ear with the idea that little old me generated that much interest. 😉 And thank you SOOO much for your patience as we struggled to get everything back up and running. THANK YOU!