By photographer Christina Greve

How do you deal with a request from a family member or friend, who ask you to take their picture – for free?

Do you charge friends if they ask you to take photos? Do you charge uncle Ben when he want´s you to photograph all of his five children?

For many aspiring photographers this situation is a hot potato!

I´ve gotten countless of emails concerning this issue, because it can be so tricky to deal with. As a photographer you might like to get paid (oh yes) but you don´t want to come of as “being to much” or being stingy or un-friendly when it comes to friends and relatives.

My friends/family don´t ask me for free pictures anymore, they know I´m working hard and running a serious business. But I think it´s normal when you are still starting out, that people tend to think they can ask you to do it for free. It happened to me many times when I was first starting out!

When this happened I simply educated them and told them that there was much more to it than pressing a button. I explained that it would take lots of preparation and many hours of editing and therefore I could not take time out of my schedule to do it.

I said, “thank you for asking, but with my three kids and my business I simply don´t have the luxury to find time to do unpaid work”.

The moment you start to take your own work and time seriously people will feel this and be more careful to ask.

Keep in mind that people don´t ask to be rude, they ask because they don´t know how much effort you need to put into it – so my advice is to educate them about the amount of time it takes. Don´t justify yourself just say it as it is. And remember if you say yes to one friend…more will ask, so don´t go there :-)

If you aim to make it as a photographer, creating compelling images is the way you´ll make a living. If you give away your images for free, or spend too much time responding to requests for free images, you cannot make a living – it´s as simple as that.

As a photographer (beginner or pro) you also have expenses to cover. You need to buy a camera, lenses, a computer, software, storage devices. You need to pay for website hosting, and maybe even logo and a branding identity.

In other words, you need to respect that your work is worth something – no matter your level as a photographer, you still need to cover your expenses. So if you´re not feeling worthy enough to get paid yet – at least promise me, to think about all the expenses you need to cover!

Spending time photographing friends and family is great in the beginning, it´s a good way to practice your skills. But if you wish to push yourself to learn faster and become even more creative, I recommend that you early on start to photograph people you don´t know well. It can be friends of friends or children from the local school. But always ask for a fee – even if it´s a small one. You can always raise your price as you get more comfortable with your work and skills.

At some point you need to move beyond family and friends, push yourself out of the comfort zone and decide that you are serious about making a living of being a photographer.

Taking pictures for free, will never pay your bills, cover your expenses or make you feel good in the long run.

Everything you do is worth something! 

Much Love Christina

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photo editing apps

As the Instagram + iPhone super-fan I am, I have tested quite a few photo editing apps. Some apps are great, some to advanced for my taste and some are…well, not so good.

For me a great app is one that is intelligent in the way it´s set up. I want to be able to edit my iPhone photos fast and on the go. If I can create a look I like in just a few seconds I´m happy.

Today I´ll share with you my 6 favorite editing apps:

1. PicFX

I love PicFX! Maybe the app I use the most. It´s regularly updated with fresh new filters and overlays. PicFX has many options like film filters, retro filters, vintage style filters as well as light leak overlays. Most importantly I find it easy and logical to navigate in. What makes me go back to PicFX again and again is that I can control how much or how little of the filter effect I want to add. That´s really great!

2. MagicHour

MagicHour is mostly for fun and play. As soon as you´ve uploaded a picture you can scroll through many pre-views of filters. It makes it easy to see how your image will look in the end. I like the filters faded memory, snap shot and sx-70 8 (polaroid). I try to avoid the filters that take to much focus away from the image itself.

3. Wood Camera

Just like PicFX, Wood Camera let´s you control how much filter effect you want on your photo. That´s an important function in my opinion because when you apply a filter it´s very extreme, so often I choose to lower the effect.  If you´re into textures Wood Camera offers great quality textures, which you also can control via sliders.

4. Snapseed

What I like the most about Snapseed is the tilt-shift function which is excellent. You can add filters, grunge textures and frames one at a time, so it´s possible to make your own style. Controlling the filters are a little bit more advanced in Snapseed because you get to control several options within each filter. Snapseed stores your photos in the app itself so even if you delete your photo from the camera roll it will still be available in the app.

5. KitCam

It was my son Marco who recommend KitCam to me. He is into videography and Kitcam is a super video app – even in low light situations. What´s fantastic about this app is that you get to set your settings before you take the photo or record a video. What I love about kitcam is that I can easily set the white balance + it has exposure-control, so you can add more light to your photos in low light or lower it in bright sunlight. Very clever app.

6. VSCOcam

VSCO is a wonderful editing app with a great camera. I love the VSCO app mainly for it´s filters. They are subtle and don’t distract much from the image itself. The filters are few but have a great variety. I´m especially a fan of their fade effect, which I use to create a matte effect in my photos.

 What about you, do you have a favorite photo editing app you recommend? Then feel free to share in the comments area.

Much Love, Christina

Follow me on Bloglovin | Instagram; @christinagreve | Facebook; Christinagrevephotography

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Do you ever lose confidence in your own creative abilities?

Do you sometimes feel like giving up on your dream to become a professional, successful photographer?

Maybe you already run a thriving photography business yet keep fighting your insecurities thinking you are not good enough, skilled enough, creative enough, talented enough, brave enough….

Being a great photographer is not all about taking stunning photos. While gorgeous photos are certainly a big part of your success, there’s more involved in becoming a standout photographer.

The truth is that the road to great creativity and a healthy business career is paved with pure trust in your own value.

Trust in yourself comes before everything else!

When you as a photographer truly believe in your own value as an unique human being, you will:

  • learn needed skills faster
  • take more chances with your art work and career
  • feel a strong continuos creative flow
  • attract like-minded people who can help you on your journey or become your perfect clients

Stop bullying yourself

You can rise even higher in your field if you are willing to start giving yourself some credit for all that you do and all that you are.  Stop focusing on what you can´t do. Stop focusing on the tools you don´t have or the skills you don´t master yet.

If you really, truly want to spark your creativity and boost your photography you need to shift your focus from everything you THINK you lack or need—to everything you have and can do.

It´s time you start respecting your own personal journey and start trusting that you have what it takes inside you to go way beyond your wildest dreams. You’ll find that once you do, your life will change in remarkable ways.

To change things around and build a great solid confidence platform in yourself, you need to challenge your mind-set to think differently and much more positively.

Confidence doesn´t always come easy

I admit confidence doesn´t always come easy -especially not if you spend most of your day hitting yourself in the head with critique.

Building confidence and shifting your focus takes willingness and determination to THINK in new ways that are healthy to you. Ways that supports you and your goals. It takes work. That´s the truth.

Hers´s 5 positive ways for you to start shifting your mindset about your creative life and business:

1. Stop comparing yourself to other photographers

Comparing yourself is a big no-no.

Never, ever compare your creative journey with someone else’s. Doing so is a marathon with no finish line. Someone else may start out faster than you. They may seem to progress more quickly than you, but every person has their own pace.

Your journey is your journey—and you may as well enjoy the beauty of it.

When it comes to photography, you will never “arrive”—no one ever does. There is so much to learn in our business, so if you waste time looking over your shoulders and comparing yourself to others, you´ll loose valuable time, time you can invest in growing your art and your business.

Enjoy your journey and celebrate your art♥.

2. Join a network of like-minded, kind and creative people

There’s power and magic in community.

If I hadn’t joined a photography network of like-minded people, I would definitely not be at the level I am today. When I was a beginner in 2009, I joined a photo community—unaware of how much it would affect my work.

I was fortunate and very lucky to meet many wonderful people, many of whom gave me caring feedback and heartwarming comments. Their support helped me grow and develop my photographs—and today, they are still in my heart and in my network.

Facebook has many great photography networks, and you can also join sites like 500px, flickr, Instagram and many others. One thing I noticed when participating in a group: the more active you are, the more beneficial your experience will be because you’ll connect with others and learn from them.

When you join a group, seek out friendly supporters who lift your spirit and help you believe in yourself, and avoid socializing with criticizers. Although positive criticism can improve your photography, sometimes it can be demoralizing.

If you think criticism is affecting you negatively, avoid it until you can handle it. Ignore those who try to bring you down and have no good photographs to show. And you don’t have to remain in a group if it’s not for you; networking should be a positive (and fun) learning experience.

3. Say no to competing with other photographers—you’re on your own journey

Another important step in becoming a better photographer is to stop competing with other photographers in your area. Instead of trying to keep up with your competition, forget about them and do your own thing! In fact, you are much better off if you never look at what other photographers in your area are doing.

Listen to your heart, and only your heart.

Ask yourself how can you create a better business for your clients. What can you change or improve to make them feel important and welcome? Your heart is the foundation of your wisdom; love is intelligent; and knows the truth of things. Use that power to shine as a photographer and eliminate any concerns about the competition.

If you need a dose of inspiration, look at entrepreneurs/shops/businesses outside of your field.

Which shops/businesses do you absolutely adore?
Which shops/businesses inspire you so much they make your heart pump faster?
What do you admire about them?

When you look around for inspiration, you can improve your own business and set yourself apart from other photographers in your local area. You’ll be amazed at the results!

4. Take a break from the camera—and do something else

I know how much you love photography. You may even feel that you can’t live without it. I know how easy it is to fall into overworking at something you love. But I want to tell you that taking a break is beneficial to your work, your business, you life.

Passion is a strength—it´s your fuel and your drive. But overworking can hurt you. Sometimes the signs are obvious: you’re not fully engaged in your work; you’re not feeling enthusiastic; it’s causing you stress; and so on. Working at something you’re so passionate about can put you at risk for burnout, so it’s important to take periodic breaks.

Make it a priority to take time away from work, to rest, walk, lay on the beach, read a book, exercise, meet with friends…whatever inspires you and makes you feel good. After some time away you’ll return to your photography feeling rejuvenated—and ready to create!

5. Stop selling yourself short

Are you keeping your prices lower than the competition?

It might sound like a good idea; it’s how supermarkets get the ball rolling. And it’s tempting because of the economic crisis. But trust me when I tell you: it doesn’t work in the photography field.

Your pricing structure is one of the core fundamentals in business that leads to success. The cheaper you sell yourself, the harder you have to work! What will happen when you set a low fee? You’ll get lots of price-shopping clients to book you, you’ll work your butt of and possibly burn out—not so fun, right?

There’s a better option: You can charge a fee that will a.) make sure you don’t work under pressure and b.) support the amount of time you spend on a client.

This way you’ll feel happy when you work—and plus you’ll have more time with your family.

The higher your price, the more time you’ll have to spoil your clients, do your finest post-processing and brand your business.

And let’s be honest here: Price-shopping clients do not often value all the work and effort you put into it. True, isn’t it?

If you do want to keep your prices in the lower range, consider doing mini-sessions. Not everyone wants to have a full photo session if they’re just looking for a nice photo for their Facebook page, their web site or for an invitation.

Offering mini sessions can be a great way to make extra sales. Not only do they take less time, but you also have the opportunity to make the client fall in love with you and your work. They might end up spending more money than planned, because they just have to have the images—and they’ll talk about you to all their friends. :-)

Thank you, as always, for tuning in.

Follow me on Bloglovin | Instagram; @christinagreve | Facebook; Christina Greve 

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I bet you know how it feels when everything just keeps pilling up!

You are SO busy. Your to-do list is longer than a skyscraper….phew..oh dear!

When this happens in my life I tend to freak at first! I run around the house like a crazy person. I drink to much coffee.

When I finally calm down I realize that it all happens for a good reason. A long to-do list is part of running a thriving business. I´m reminded how much I love what I do, yet understand it´s time to de-clutter.

It´s time to detoxify my work life.

It´s time to delete and delegate tasks, so I can focus on the things that I´m really passionate about.

Doing this detox might make you feel overwhelmed at first, but I promise you, that when you are done, you will feel refreshed, in control, full of energy, more creative and maybe even happy!

Just put on your favorite music and get to it darling! 

The photographers work-life-detox

  • Make a list of everything you need to do. Mark urgent tasks with a specific color or put them on a separate list. Now take a look at the list again: what can you cancel or skip. We women tend to wanna do everything, right! But now you either cancel the task or delegate it. ONLY do what really matters to you and your business. It´s okay not to do it all.
  • Go through all your emails. Clean up! Put important emails into folders and delete what you don´t need in your inbox. Make sure to answer emails before deleting them. I challenge you to end up with just five emails in your inbox. Can you do it? Yes, you can and you´ll feel free again :-)
  • Clean up your workspace. Sort out your real mail, bills, papers, books, pens..ect. Put everything into boxes or folders – name them, so you can easily find them. Clean up the rest of the room you work in and make sure to spoil yourself with fresh flowers to put on your clean desk.
  • Clean up your disk space on your computer and move important photo-folders to an external hard disk or dropbox. Uninstall programs that you don´t use anymore. Make it a goal to clean out as much as you can. Oh and do remember to empty the computers bin as you go.
  • Clean out your website and/or blog for the pictures you don´t want there anymore. Refresh your profile info if needed. Remember you want a fresh up-to-date portfolio and you want to make it easy for clients to contact you.

This program can take everything from a few hours to two days, depending on how things are at your place – but the reward is all worth it!

No more stress, ahhhh!

And don´t forget to do a happy dance when you´re done :-)

Much Love

Christina

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