Jess Bishop Photography » Your Life as Art

Here goes…as I said I would.

This is a long post so go get something good eat and prepare yourself to read my WONDERFUL insight…he he and all the links I have.

Though it’s been 2 months that I had posted about my changes for this year. I talked briefly on my business and losing money. My husband had to remind me I didn’t loose money. You see, my goals for my business was to  be a HOBBY and pay for itself…and it did!

It paid for
all my workshops (Brianna Graham, the Image is Found, Skye Hardwick, Rock that OCF, Keith Bryce Big Bang)
my studio lighting (alien bee 400, soft box, light stands, backdrops)
all my cameras (Canon 20D, Canon 5D)
lens’s (50mm 1.4, 85mm 1.8 24-70mm 2.8, 70-200mm 2.8 ISM)
my flash (580 EX ll)
pocket wizards (2)
my computer (an old school Mac that should be upgraded),
my hard drives (I have 4 external hard drives),
my props (couches, hats, clothes)
my photoshop CS3,
my templates (for Christmas cards, & albums)
all my marketing (CD holders, albums, photos, & advertising)
my website (blu domain website, my blog from Pro Photo)
Spent a lot time on developing myself and networking that I really didn’t get paid for that (countless hours in front of the computer, blogging, facebooking, answering emails…like I started this post at 1 and had many interruptions and now its 9 p.m.)
I should have paid for rent and utilities…even if it is out of my home.

As I got caught up in the business of photography I thought I was a horrible business owner. I wasn’t keeping up with everyone else out their in the market and it started to take a toll on me and my art. I decided to look at my business as a business and I wasn’t making anything more than to pay for itself and I felt like a failure. I do about 1-4 shoots a month (those were my goals) and let’s say if my husband died and I needed to provide I would need to 4-6 shoots a week to make money. You have to decide what it is you want out of PHOTOGRAPHY everyone loves it and lets face it, it’s NOT for everyone. If you’re going to make it a hobby stay within the range of what is being offered out their. Don’t undercut all the other photographers around you. You will get over worked and under paid. It’s not good business…believe me I have been there and for me it was a reflection in my confidence. I have many photographer friends outside of the state of Utah that continue to tell me I should raise my prices but I am in the right place for my market (Utah County alone is very saturated with photographers).

I have found the best article about this topic and quiet frankly she says it better than I would…check it out here. If you are really really wanting to get into the business I suggest you read this and this

A quote from MCP Actions that I have said to myself is, “Artists work from emotions, and you better step outside of that for a moment and keep those emotions and business separated, or you will BE a starving artist who will one day look back and say “my kids are grown, where did the time go?  I sat in front of that computer for hours for less than minimum wage… I wish I had that time back with my kids….”  No one looks back and says “I wish I would have worked more away from my family….”

This is were I’m at with my career. I am pregnant with number 5 and for some reason this has created for me some anxiety. I have children that are in extracurricular activities that will consists more of my time. Honestly, I don’t know how people do it.  I don’t want to look back and see what have I missed out on or what my kids missed out on but I also look back and see what have I gained from all of this too.  I love photography I don’t think I will ever quit but I am going to slow down…this doesn’t mean I am not doing sessions so don’t hesitate to contact me it’s just time to BREATHE and reflect on my photography and what’s in my heart. I think I have gotten a little lost with the COMPETITION.

So WHY do I share my experience HONESTLY I don’t know. I have just felt I should. So, any of those deciding to start a business REALLY THINK about it. It’s a lot of work and you should get paid for it. I hope that this hasn’t offended any but have given you a greater understanding from my perspective.

In conclusion I have some photos to share…how could I not.

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Anne - yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes! Good for you! I have 4…huge responsibilites, always feel guilty I’m not keeping up with everything that other photographers do and are. Thank you for sharing…inspiring, insightful, and thought provoking!

carly carlson - great post jess- i can relate to so much of it. keep up the good work, keep doing it for the right reasons and keep that good perspective! :)

Carin - First of all…how cute is she!!!!!!!!!!!!!? And how beautiful is your photography!!!!!!!!!? You are great!!!! Your work is beautiful and so is your heart and I wish you were my next door neighbor ;) You rock!

Renee - WOW. Not a week ago I was lying in bed talking things over with my husband that consisted of all these same thoughts. I kept telling myself “how do other mother’s do it”? I even thought of you specifically. I enjoy your work so much and wondered how you accomplished all that is required of you in all your many rolls. It makes me at ease that it is an individual struggle and I am not entirely alone. Thank you so much for your insight as I too have chosen to slow things down a bit and enjoy my life with my children more fully. Thank you once again and look forward to viewing more of you masterpieces. :) Sorry for the length……

kristin cook - Well said. Thank you for being open and sharing!
I’m in love w/ the 1st and 3rd black and white pics! Gorgeous!

Andrea - Jess, You are so amazing and this post is awesome! Thank you so much for opening up like that. These pictures are so gorgeous!!

misty - thanks so much for sharing your thoughts! I have been thinking about all these things recently as I’ve been trying to decide whether or not to take the big step in starting a photography business. I really appreciate you sharing your experiences.

Vanessa - You know I love you…very well said. I think we all forget the “real” reason we all do this. It is for the love of the art. I think we are all at different stages, and times in our lives. And where photography fits in, is different for us all. I do agree on the pay…you should be getting payed for your talent, just like any other profession would. Nothing is worse then working yourself to death and not seeing any return or goals met. Jess…you are an AMAZING talent, and I know whatever you decide, you will always follow your heart…thank you for reminding me. I can’t wait to see what you create…you never cease to AMAZE me. All the pictures you take of your children are priceless…what a great gift you have to share with them. I love this set of pics…she is just a doll!!!! LUV ~V

jeana - Jess, you are amazing! Thanks for the post and the perspective. Your images are beautiful and I can’t wait to see your beautiful baby…your children are so gorgeous…just like their mom.

Jess Curren - LOVE your thoughts. Thanks so much for sharing. Being pregnant brings out some feelings, eh? I’m with you in the re-evaluating stage. And… your daughter is gorgeous! Love these.

crave photography - First of all your pictures are beautiful! And secondly I feel this exact same way. You are not alone in how you feel.

brooke snow - Thanks for being so genuine and honest! It’s funny… I have been thinking this week about what makes a business “successful”. As you point out, you wanted your photography business to pay for itself and your hobby. You’ve absolutely accomplished that. I think sometimes we think that success is only determined by money, and I don’t believe that is true. I know this is totally random, but my husband is in this amazing choir in Logan conducted by Craig Jessop (previous director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir), and since he is now head of the music department at Utah State University his salary is public knowledge (since he’s technically an employee of the State of Utah working for a State University and by law any state employee’s salary must be public.) We decided we wanted to see how much he was being paid. This man is famous (not just in Mormon culture but in the choir world internationally). We were utterly shocked to see his salary. Super low! The man has a name and fame, a PhD from Stanford, he’s performed for several U.S. Presidents, travelled around the world, hosted some of the worlds top musicians, and has had an amazingly successful career. And his salary would barely cover a modest lifestyle! After that I decided that success is totally relative! In both your cases, i’m confident that the work you do matters, it has made a difference in many lives, its art, and it will last forever :) And you know what? Not many millionaires can honestly same the same thing!

Skye - Jess she is so darling, seriously look at her. I still can’t believe you are pregnant with #5, hoooooly! You are so awesome and I miss you! We still haven’t had our WPPI losers party. We should do it next week maybe??

Jessica Coronado - I love your honesty, jess. You are an incredible artist and I wish you all the best!! Jess

lindsay - You hit the nail on the head Jess!! I so beat myself up for not pursing my passion harder, but after my infertility struggles & then finally being blessed with 2 kids – i dont want to miss out on the most important thing(s) in my life right now – my family. You are such an amazing photographer and have been a great friend. I dont know how you do it with 4 kids, but i’m sure you will do it even better with 5!! (btw, i want a pair of those zebra heels….and still need to decide on a date in April w/ya!)

jen - very well said! Your stuff is excellent!

Missy - It’s really nice to have a fellow Utah photographer write about this. I, too, feel the same way as you and I just had my 3rd baby. I don’t want to miss out on their life. So I, too, am doing less shoots and charging more. I know I’ve already lost clients and I feel bad about that but I just know that my time is worth more than minimum wage.
But I love what I do and am glad I can still do it for others.
Thanks so much!

chelsey - I thought that was so well put and true! When I had my daughter a year ago, I wanted to capture every moment so I have started learning about photography and then people have noticed and now I’m taking pictures for friends etc. This article really helped me to see if I need to learn more to make more or if it’s just a hobby for me! Your kids grow too fast and unless the money is really needed you need to ask yourself what’s important and how much you can handle. Thanks for your insight and you’re amazing!

mindy young - Jess! Your pictures are the cutest! TDF! I love what you said. I have been struggling with this. I am such a push over, I was doing it for free for anyone that kind of new me. I started HATING it. I lost myself. I am now slowly on the right track. You are such an inspiration and SUPER woman doing it with 5 kids to be.

jami - I wish you could see me, but I am standing in front of my computer giving you a standing ovation!!! You go girl! I applaud you, Angie, Sara you have been pioneers (ok that sounds old-you guys are not old- I am old-you guys not so much) who have said “hey we work hard to be this dang good and we are not going to work for pennies” People don’t realize they get what they pay for…just had two emails from gals who hate their wedding photos and want their wedding to be re shot. And utah photogs who “shoot and burn” for $50 don’t realize they are going to burn themselves out and will eventually be paying their clients to “let them” take their photos. Ok I will sit down now but BRAVO! Enjoy that babe!

Mandi - Well said, Jess! Go you! And yay for baby #5!

Keri Ann - #1,2 and 6 are my fave!! GREAT POST, GREAT THOUGHTS!!! your so right and you said it perfectly. I hope this gets a lot of traffic and every one who is thinking of starting a photo business gets an opportunity to read this. p.s. I’ll be in utah in a week!!

Erin - Thank you so much for your post Jess. It was just what I needed to read today. I love that quote from MCP Actions and it really struck a cord in what I’ve been struggling with lately.

Brittany - I LOVE this and I LOVE you for saying it! Thank you!!!

jody - I think too what you might need to understand is that many of us do not have the option to slow down or work less. Many of us depend on two incomes- I am assumming your husband makes enough to support your “slowing down” and that is great. Just last week we spent $1000 on my two boys baseball gear-fees- for high school baseball. The expenses get greater and greater as they get older. With us it takes two full time incomes to support the things we want our kids to have… maybe a bit off topic.. but not all of us have a choice!!

Ashley Thalman Photo - First of all, why don’t we know each other yet!? I was sent here from Laurianne Wakefield and it is a pleasure to meet and read you!

I love what you’ve said here. I have made some major changes to my self-perception as a photographer, business owner and mother in the last year and those confidence building and extremely painful self reflections, though hard to endure, have boosted my business perspective and outlook. I feel more in control, more secure and far more happy!

Michelle Kane - You’ve channeled my mind and heart here with your words. There are so many of us moms/photographers feeling this exact same pressure. That’s why I’ve recently pulled back and disappeared from the scene lately. You know what, it’s felt amazing! Just like you, I do not want to live with regret at spending too much time on the art and not enough time with my heart (my family). When you throw it all up in the air and just breathe, the freedom is exhilarating! Best to you and your family!

Sunny - Can I just say that you might be the first stranger that I have ever wanted to hug? :) I really apreciate your words. I am a Mom of 4 as well and hoping for #5 soon. It’s so hard to remember what’s important. Thank you. And seriously….sweet work.

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