This blog post won’t be filled with photos. I have been debating some issues this week. This is long and I apologize for that. But there are some weeks – you just want to QUIT.
As you all know, post Covid, everything has increased. I have been absorbing the price increases. But unfortunately, I am at the point I will have to increase my session fees and print pricing. I know to some you think, she is already expensive. I am a small business and it cost to be in business. I have to pay taxes, insurance, website fees, bank fees, credit card fees, email fees, props, backdrops, equipment, membership fees, maintenance on the equipment, hiring assistants, buy TREATS and the list is huge.
My print labs (I use several) have increased 3 times since October. The shipping fees have also increased. Not to mention the shippers have gotten slower. I have absorbed all of the fees. I am usually in the red!
I will be working on new pricing and updating my website over the next couple of months. If you have booked a session through the end of this year, you are locked in at the old pricing. But all new sessions booked will be at the new pricing.
In addition, I volunteer. You all know I volunteer a week out each month photographing and editing homeless animals. It is extremely time consuming and demanding. But I do it for the animals.
Over the course of my photography business, I have had one client – no show. When clients are a no show, they forfeit the retainer fee. If they book again, they have to pay in full retainer fee and the upgraded print package – all upfront and it is nonrefundable if they no show again. If they no-show 2 times, I will not book them again.
I have had a rescue group keep me waiting nearly 2 hours one day. No phone calls and when they were called...oh it was no big deal. Another rescue group had 2 no shows! Another group ran 30 min’s late.
My time is valuable to me. If clients forfeit their sessions fees, I think its only fair for rescue groups be charged a service fee for late and no-show fosters.
Any time a small business has late arrivals, it throws everything else off schedule. If any one is a no show, it may be no big deal to the rescue group. But it is a very big deal to me. I could have had a paying client session (these paying client sessions afford me the ability to volunteer each month), I could have spent time with my husband, my own 4 special need dogs, my friends or I could have been editing.
I wrote a book, Rescue Photography, that goes in depth the relationship between a photography business and rescue groups. Why am I still having issues with rescue groups?
I am very angered by no-shows. It is disrespectful and rude! You have wasted my time and my time is valuable to me. Put yourself in my shoes. I cleared a day and time for a free rescue session. It takes several hours for light batteries and camera batteries to charge, I buy treats for all rescues, I have to take time to set up the garage studio, I have purchased backdrops and outfits and kept my equipment updated and maintained. And a rescue group that is “no-charge” stands me up. Does not call.
Sure, life happens. It has happened to me more than I want to mention. I am easy to work with and rescue can always reschedule another time. A dog may get sick or the foster have an emergency. A simple phone call will avoid the frustration I had this week.
Rescue groups and foster parents have to value me, value my time, value my work or we can NOT work together. I will not be taken advantage of or my time wasted. I give hours and hours and hours of my time to volunteer work. I buy turkey, chicken and cheese for rescues. I give sessions away for fundraisers. I do all this for the animals, not for the rescue group. But as a volunteer you get the feeling these rescue groups have no respect for you or your business. It is frustrating! It is a reason why many professional photographers will not volunteer with animal rescue. It is hard, demanding and unappreciated.
I would encourage all rescue groups to purchase my book from Amazon, Rescue Photography. After you have read it, pass it on to your foster parents. Or buy them one!
As I said in my book – value and appreciate ALL of your volunteers. Especially small photography businesses who are giving everything they can!!
I have gotten away from rescue contracts, but I am contemplating starting them again. Along with a service fee for late and no shows. It is the only way to protect myself and my business.
Rescues and Fosters, please use my time wisely. Do not waste my time. Show up or have the decency to call ahead of time. After all, we are doing this for the homeless animals. If you have no respect for me, you also have no respect for the animal that is supposed to be at the photo session.
And by the way, you should NEVER… make an appoint and no-show ANY BUSINESS in any industry. We all have cell phones!
Told you, rantings by Sandra