Okay, I have been wanting to blog about this subject for years now but have always refrained because I was always afraid to ruffle feathers. I have written, and erased, and rewritten it because I don't want to come off petty, or irritated, or mad. Because, when it all boils down to it, it just needs to be said. So, to start this is an informative post This has happened to me countless times over my years of business and it is definitely not aimed at any one person. I have just decided to address it now, because this year is the year I keep my business the way I want it, and I value myself, my time and my work.
They happen all the time. Things come up, kids get sick, people in our families die, money needs to get spent on car repairs or dance recitals or other obligations. And that is totally FINE. I am a Mom of three extremely active kids. Things come up ALL THE TIME in this household. I have had to reschedule things, move things, juggle things.....it happens. But, giving proper notice is so super important. It allows us, as photographers, to allow someone to step in and take your date, or to properly plan otherwise. When you cancel right before, or even, don't show up at all it, it puts a strain on us.
When I schedule sessions, I work it around our busy household schedule, around my wedding schedule, around other people's pictures....it is all very well thought out. I spend a lot of time losing sleep over how to make it all work and how to keep everyone happy. So, when I reserve a day for a client, it's their day.
Being a photographer is a business. Yes, it's super fun. I get to shoot awesome things. I get to make my own schedule. And I still have a week day job. But, it's STILL A BUSINESS. It's not a
"side business". It's a secondary full time job. On top of being an RN during the week. On top of being a full time Mom. On top of running a household. I am a one woman show and it's still a business. I am the only one to market, to keep up with emails, to keep up with finances, to make props, to pick out themes and to design sets. To shoot sessions. To edit those sessions. It is literally just me, So, when I spend a ton of time mentally preparing for a session, whether it be a Mini Session, a Regular session or whatever, for someone to cancel very last minute is very disheartening. Let's just call it like it is....its extremely irritating. When I send another customer away because I am booked to have the person that booked that date originally cancel, or not show up all together literally takes food off of my table. In this world, time is money. If you book a session and don't show up, and don't give me adequate time to rebook that spot I am stuck with a day that I cannot rebook. Which hurts my business. And makes me jaded, which I really do not want to be.
I decided that 2018 was going to be the year I ran my business by my rules. And the year that I quit letting other people dictate my happiness. So, now, I will have to put a cancellation policy in place, and will now require half of the session fee up front that will be nonrefundable if not cancelled at least 48 hours beforehand. It will only be transferrable to another date if the client is sick, or if I have to cancel because of weather.
The bottom line is, please, please, please do not book a session if you aren't really wanting to be there. Especially my themed Minis. If you do and back out just because you don't want to come, it keeps someone else that might have really wanted that spot from being able to take advantage. Just don't book until you are sure you want to do them. It wastes my time, your time, and it really just hurts my feelings. Which may sound like me being petty or a crybaby, but it's true. Business owners are allowed to be upset too...even in this "customer is always right" world.
This is not just photographers. This is hairdressers. Make up artists. Crafters. Small business owners in general. Our time is worth just as much as yours is. Please treat us like it is. Think about how you would feel if someone often treated you like your time, was much less important than theirs. Because that is the world I have lived in as a photographer for the last 9 years.
Now, don't get me wrong. I have some of the most AMAZING clients in the world. Most of them would pay me a year in advance, pay double, bend over backwards, give me the shirt off their back, and would literally do anything for me. I am so blessed. But, realistically, I think sometimes people just don't think about cancelling as a big deal, and maybe just don't KNOW that it really is such a big deal. So, I needed to educate a little bit. I love y'all. Without y'all this all wouldn't be possible. Just remember that photographers are people too. We are human. And we need grace, just like the next person.
Now, back to our regularly scheduled princesses....