You have been wonderful to get to know over the past several years. You've welcomed me into your lives and I appreciate the trust and support you have shown me, and I have enjoyed watching your family grow and change.
Unfortunately, I have sacrificed a lot to service my clients. I put everyone else before myself and my own family and interests. I would work practically around the clock sometimes because I was so busy trying to keep up and give everyone their images and products quickly, and I'd overbook myself just because that is what worked out best for the client. Even for clients who waited last minute and didn't have any other day or time available - for some reason, I felt obligated to try and accommodate them.
I learned this past year that a lot of people will take unnecessary advantage of you with complete disregard to anyone but themselves. I even had a local business, thrilled with the results of their images, bully me afterward trying to get extra out of me without paying. This was after I did their session on short notice and at a time inconvenient to me because they "needed them done yesterday." This was not an isolated event and it taught me a good, although sad, lesson.
This year I need it to be different. For once in my life, I am going to be selfish in a good way. I am saying 'no' to a lot of new work. I am limiting how much I will work, and I am forcing myself to let my clients wait longer when it comes to processing the images and orders. I know that I am "shooting myself in the foot" in a lot of ways financially and from a business standpoint - but I will work through it, or I will ultimately shut down my business in the future if I feel that is best. Only time will tell. But I'm hoping to stop letting people abuse my kindness, generosity, and dedication.
It will be a learning curve for me as this year develops, but here is my goal:
I will work on Tuesdays and Fridays. These are the days my son goes to preschool (Starting in the fall it will be Tuesdays and Thursdays). Because of his schedule, I will only be able to have a photo session in the morning, preferably starting between 9:45 and 11.
This also means I will only be doing one photoshoot a day. Any non-shooting time can be spent editing or running other aspects of my business.
Saturdays. I used to work three out of four Saturdays a month, with multiple sessions each day. I now will only be working ONE Saturday a month.That Saturday will probably be determined by the first person to schedule it.
The rest of the time - is my time and my family time. There will be very few exceptions and accommodations, and more likely they will only be for my current and regular clients.
Much of the time, I will be letting my phone go to voicemail, so feel free to call and leave a message there, or contact me via email.
I am sorry if this bothers anyone. It will not hurt my feelings if you decide to start using another photographer, I am happy to offer some recommendations for you.
CURRENT CLIENTS: Those of you who are on the baby's first year plan - these changes will not affect you as much. You will have priority and I will do my best to accommodate your needs, but once you are past the first year, I am hoping you will be able to shift your schedule to mine.
I'm truly sorry that you all will have to wait longer to see your galleries online, or wait longer to have your orders processed and in hand. I appreciate your patience and understanding.
Thanks for your support,
Amanda Hagler .... owner and photographer of Shutterbelle Photography.