My top five tips to make sure you put yourself, and your worth, first.

It’s been a while – have you missed me?

Age old story right? You want to be a photographer, you want to take photographs for a living, surely it should be that simple, your art will always come first, right? Wrong.

I don’t profess to you to be a photographic genius. Quite the contrary: I’d quite like you guys coming back time and time again to read more of my blog posts, not to put you off by letting you think I’m a know-it-all. These are just some nuggets of wisdom I have picked up along the way that I now pass onto you you, young grasshopper. Or even old grasshopper? Depending how long you’ve been in the game, I digress…

“Your first hurdle is figuring out how to live, eat and exist…”

Tip One: Know when to say ‘no’

You’re fresh from studies, or you’re self taught and just plucked up enough confidence to bag yourself your first gig. All bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and ready to take over the photographic world, one shutter click at a time.
Your first hazard: people pretty much expect you to do stuff for free, or in return for something (which usually isn’t cash dollar). Your first hurdle is figuring out how to live, eat and exist on this, and I’m not going to sit behind a computer and preach to you how to do it. Every photographer’s journey is different, but what I am going to say is know when to say ‘no’.

Part of knowing your worth is having respect for yourself — deep, right? And it’s hard when there’s always some other mug willing to jump in your shoes and do it ‘time-for’ or for free. But clients won’t respect you until you respect yourself, and I’m not saying go from charging nothing to £500 per day, but baby steps, you know.
Start with expenses, then 50 quid here, 100 quid there, and soon I promise you will find your feet in this ever evolving guessing game of ‘pricing’. If everyone knew when to say no, then it would make the price-haggle game extinct once and for all. Which leads me nicely onto…

Tip Two: Every photograph is worth 1000 skills

Okay okay, so it’s not the age old saying you know and love, but it’s a play on it, people. Any photographer will know the education you have to give friends and/or family members when trying to clarify and even sometimes justify your profession to them.
Hands up if someone has ever said to you: “ah well, your job is dead easy right? It’s just point and click, isn’t it?” As depicted to you there by the lad who stood in the queue behind me in my third year of Uni, gassing whilst we waited to enter one of Cheltenham’s finest (grimiest) clubs. Yes, I did nearly deck him, but this isn’t just a juvenile comment that was once said to me in passing when I was 20. It comes up more than you think.

Some, not all, but some people just don’t understand the different components of your business; not only the pre and post production processes, but the different elements of your business too, like the marketing, accounting, networking, debt collecting — need I go on? All the things that make you an entrepreneur rather than just some dude with a camera. You can try explaining it to them until you’re blue in the face, but to be honest, guys, they probably still won’t ever get it. Recognise your skills and appreciate that you are capable of a lot of things, and that’s usually why you do what you do, and charge what you charge.

“Settling for crumbs doesn’t get you fed, it keeps you starving”

Tip Three: These are my rates, and I am not a flea market

Moving nicely on from my last point of charging what you charge for a reason, why is it when you tell a client your rates, they immediately enter into a haggling war with you?
Imagine the scene, similar to that of a flea market. You know the one, you literally just go to barter them down, the price they give you is never the final price. Why is it this habit has now festered itself within the creative industry?
You go in with a price, and the client can often, again not always, but often come back with a completely different and lower price. Often leading to a place of frustration, confusion and panic — what I like to call the ‘photographer-compulsion’ state.
Let me explain: when someone comes back challenging your prices, do you often feel step one) frustrated, as they’ve challenged you on your skills and expertise by bartering you down. Therefore leaving you in step two) confusion, “am I charging too much? Well this is what I feel I am worth, maybe I should review my prices…” Leading to the final stage, step three) panic. Voila! The photographer-compulsion state. I call it this simply because you then feel compelled to go back to your customer either agreeing to their lower price or meeting them somewhere in the middle.

It’s so hard in this instance to know when to stand your ground, and I completely understand if you’re just starting out, you want the opportunities and you don’t want to turn anything away (note: please see Tip One). But when you’re 5 years deep into your career and people still are coming back bartering you down, no matter what your price, you’ve got to know when enough is enough.
It’s hard to stick to your guns on this one. I can’t always guarantee that the client will stick by you, they may go somewhere cheaper, but what I can 100% promise you is that client will respect you — a respect you may have lost if you’d lowered your rate. Settling for crumbs doesn’t get you fed, it keeps you starving.

“Burning out is one of the most common side effects of being freelance, along with nausea, dizziness and exhaustion…”

Tip Four: Don’t burn out

Now this one is a toughie. Often eluded as something you should put to the top of your to-do list, the now millennial-dubbed ‘self-care’ has recently become the trendiest thing on the consumer market. But then why is it still the last thing that photographers ever think about?
Now, I am guilty of this still myself, and the phrase that usually springs to my mind is ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’, but that isn’t the case. It’s not always about aligning your chakras and getting into your meditative state, it’s usually much simpler than that.

Giving yourself boundaries is the best and one of the easiest ways to get started. Just because you can work every God-given hour of the day doesn’t mean you should. Give yourself ‘office hours’, try and switch off at the same time every night. I appreciate that this isn’t always as simple as I am making it out. But give yourself a cut-off time; a time that your mobile phone goes on airplane mode until the next morning. Even if you’re still up retouching to the early hours (which by the way I don’t recommend…), at least your clients can’t reach you, and you won’t be reading your emails at 1am. That is the beginning of you putting yourself and your time first.
Burning out is one of the most common side effects of being freelance, along with nausea, dizziness and exhaustion. But take it from someone who knows: if you leave it and pretend like you can just go on forever until all the work is eternally done, that is when it will hit you. Cheesy as it sounds, you will work better and more efficiently if you are rested and have time away from the screens.

Tip Five: Know your worth, then add tax

Okay, last tip I promise, and it’s a quickie. Don’t forget your income tax! It’s all well and good charging your client X amount, but please remember these numbers. If you’re earning between £11,850 and £46,350 per annum, the blasted HMRC will come banging down your door for 20% of what you’ve earned. As precious as your income is, this limits your earnings, and that’s even before you’ve had to think about your student loan and national insurance…

Let’s say, for example, that you’re charging a client £200 for an all in job, and that £200 hits your account and you’re all like “sweeeeeet”. But what you’re forgetting is, if you’re earning over £11,850 per year, £40 of that is the taxman’s, leaving you with £160. Comprende?
Not so bad in this instance, but if you’re playing with the big boys and earning 10 grand a shoot, you can see where this kind of thing could come back to bite you in the ass. Just bear it in mind: know your worth but don’t forget to add tax (or at least remember to save it).

My advice to you, whatever stage of your career you’re at, is to recognise a good client, be savvy with what you want and know your numbers. This is all part of the monopoly game we like to call ‘having a photographic career’, fun ain’t it? The sooner you learn to know your worth, the sooner you will start to feel at peace, and that photographic passion that first lead you down this path will take precedence.

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Original text and imagery, copyrighted for yours truly, written originally for Findr.
Illustrations provided via Google and Pinterest.

All Rights Reserved - Georgie Glass 2019 ®

It’s inbuilt into the British psyche to be polite. No, perhaps even our human nature. We’re born and raised not to say no.

But why?

As Yusuf, the formally known Cat Stevens once said “from the moment I could talk, I was ordered to listen”. And even though the song Father & Son was written and recorded in the 60s, there’s something ever so prevalent about that statement in 2019. Even to this day I catch out friends doing things they don’t really want to do, committing themselves to work events or friend dates they just would, well, rather not attend.

“You’re well within your rights to know your worth, and sometimes saying no might mean losing the job, but it won’t ever mean losing any respect”

Do we think it makes us a better person? Doing these things that we don’t want to do. Will it help us get to the top? Top of the work-pool, friend-pool or even gene-pool. I cannot tell you how many countless dates I have been on in the past with men who I didn’t really fancy, but I was just so worried about turning them down, or rejection itself on them or me, I just went along anyway. When it would have been far kinder for them, and for my own sanity to just say no.

Saying no in a work situation doesn’t always lead to disaster either. I know starting out, especially in the creative industry, it can seem super scary to say no or turn down an opportunity. For example, saying no to doing a discounted rate or even work for free.

You’re well within your rights to know your worth, and sometimes saying no might mean losing the job, but it won’t ever mean losing any respect.

Often a client will respect a creative who says no, more than one who frantically says yes to everything and doesn’t deliver. A simple “no, I am sorry I haven’t got the capacity in my diary to take that on at the moment” or “no, I’m sorry that’s my standard rate” never fails to disappoint, and you still remain professional, polite, and well busy – which is always a bonus!

No excuses; no “I’m busy washing my hair tonight”, just a flat NO. A no without explanation, or warrant. A no, just cos’ it’s a no – nothing more, nothing less. How right-on would that feel?

“…I have far more time and respect for people these days who say you know what, I love you but no.”

As I reach the grand old age of 27 (can you tell I am not excited about joining the 27 club?) I can feel myself becoming more restrictive with my yeses. Not giving them out quite as easily or as freely as I once did. A yes from me has to come from an honest place, a sincere place, and yes that has meant turning down opportunities and even sometimes relationships, but how many more times can I keep saying ‘yes’ at the risk to my own sanity?

When I told my fella I was writing this blog post his reaction, if not somewhat jovial, was “well, we can’t say no because it’s rude isn’t it?” But, is it really rude? Isn’t it far ruder to lie to someone’s face and pretend we want to do or be at something, that we don’t really give a shit about. Honestly I have far more time and respect for people these days who say “you know what, I love you but no.” No I won’t be going to that – and no, I don’t need to explain myself. It’s just cos’ I don’t want to”.

“What’s that feeling in the pit of my stomach? Does it feel a bit like sick-sickness thrown in with adrenaline? Yep, that’s anxiety.”

I mean, I guess there’s a certain element of feelings that come into it. Like, don’t just go off after reading this and start saying no to any Tom, Dick or Harry without thinking about their feelings first. If your decision affects someone else, other than yourself, that’s where you enter this rather muggy grey area of what I like to call ‘no-ness’. Where you have to take a 3 check-point test, to make sure you’re covered, before you say no.

Don’t worry, I’ve got your back. Here’s Georgie Glass’ No-Ometer, that you can take forth and into the big wide world, and use to become a person who can say NO.

No-Ometer

Point One – Does saying No give me anxiety? If so, why?

What’s that feeling in the pit of my stomach? Does it feel a bit like sick-sickness thrown in with adrenaline? Yep, that’s anxiety. Just try and break down why you feel anxious. Is it because you don’t want to go but you’re afraid if you don’t you might piss someone off, or you’ll have serious FOMO?

Just check in with yourself, ask yourself “why am I feeling this way?” If you can answer your own question and come to a resolution whereby you feel happier, then go-you! But if the anxiety remains, perhaps talk to a loved one, ask them what they think. Try and break it down into baby steps, because anxiety is a bitch. I can promise you, you don’t deserve to beat yourself up over a simple no. If it’s someone you’re worried about rather than something, talk to them. They will understand, and if they don’t, perhaps they shouldn’t be in your life anyway.

Which leads me nicely on to…

Point Two – Does saying No affect someone else other than myself?

Okay, so for me this is always the biggie. It’s always easy saying no when it’s only you that’s affected, but if someone else is involved then it gets a little trickier.

If it’s something big, like you’re sick, come on now you’ve got to put yourself first. I promise you the person will understand, and they probably won’t want you there vomming all over the gaff anyway.

Same with your mental health; I know from experience, that if you’re having a bad mental health day, something you once committed yourself to can feel daunting and scary when it’s looming. Again, try and talk to the person involved, tell them the truth and be honest. If it’s someone you can’t be honest with, that’s not as easy. Try and create fallback reasons for people you can’t always be 100% honest with, i.e. networking events. This is only in case of emergency, hopefully you’re surrounded by people in your life who will understand a no accompanied by an explanation. But for those who aren’t, it is okay to fall upon the occasional white lie, as long as you’re not hurting someone in the process.

And well, if it’s just that you don’t ‘feel like it’ – I suggest you suck it up. Sometimes it’s nice to put other peoples feelings before your own, you may just go and enjoy it.

Point Three – Be at peace with your No.

Be prepared if it’s a no, it’s a firm no. Don’t be scrawling through your Insta at 2am with the crying emoji thinking “fuck, I wish I’d gone to that”. Remember your no, and why you said it in the first place. Maybe you needed some me-time, maybe you needed to focus on some work, or maybe you wanted to dance around the kitchen in your underwear singing ‘Girls Just Want to Have Fun’. Don’t let the green eyed monster or the guilt gremlin come a-creepin’. Whatever your reason, be at peace with it.

Does it make you selfish?
Yes, yes it does.
But, why isn’t that okay?
Maybe we should all strive to be a bit more selfish this 2019.

Disclosure – just don’t hurt anyone, or yourself in the process.

What do you think?
Do you need to start using the word no more often?
Let me know in the comments below!

All Rights Reserved - Georgie Glass 2019 ®

Why is mindfulness still one of the hardest things for photographers to grasp?

As I am writing to you, I have just arrived home after working my fourth Saturday in a row, hair in a disgusting greasy bun, about to throw my fourth coffee of the day down my throat – and it’s 6:07pm. Now most experts say you shouldn’t drink coffee after 12 noon, but I’m sure all photographers will beg to differ.

“Hello, my name is Georgie, recovering workaholic…”

“But Georgie, isn’t this your blog post in homage to Mental Health Awareness Week? Which was only some weeks ago…” I hear you cry from behind your keyboard. In fact yes, you are quite right. I’ve not really got off to the best start, have I?

Okay, let’s start again.

Hello, my name is Georgie, recovering workaholic, and I am crap at mindfulness. I hate gratitude journals and meditating to me just feels uncomfortable and well, pointless. I know, I know, I can hear almost all of you reading this gasping with horror, and well if that’s you, perhaps you should stop reading as this post might, I stress might, not be for you.

Lumix camera

But, that fraction of you who are sat there as home thinking “oh my goodness, yes, hello! That’s me! I hate pretending to align my chakras and always focus on the negative” this post is 100% for you my friends.

We are the unpopular few who just don’t get it – and when I say it, I mean ‘self-care’. I’m gearing this up for you photographers out there, cos if you hadn’t already guessed, that’s what I do for a living. I really want to reach out to those lonely creatives that don’t want to feel stupid anymore just because they would rather sleep till 8:15 then get up at the crack of sparrows, just to attend a yoga class or meal prep for the day ahead.

Photographers really struggle as a collective to have ‘hobbies’; usually because photography was once their hobby that they’ve been lucky enough to make their career. But what really ever does fill that void? I know for me, I still haven’t really found what it is I am passionate about outside of work – mainly cos, I’m a bit of a dork, and I love my job. I usually end up working and working through evenings and weekends most weeks… which isn’t really my remedy, more like my poison.

“…have you ever heard the age old mantra, if you like something enough you’ll make time for it?”

There are things I do do (try not to Chandler Bing hysterically laugh… do do…) to get some separation from work, that I didn’t realise was even being mindful, until I stopped to Google what the hell mindfulness was a few weeks ago. And despite what you might think, being mindful and caring for your mental health as a creative, can be, if you put your mind to it, much easier than you think.

Do you want me to share these tit-bits of wisdom with you? Well, you’re here, so lets just presume you do!

someone reading in bed

Personal work

I remember someone saying to me recently, “but what photography work do you do, for you?” And I had to stop and ask myself, hmm, what do I shoot for me? Not a lot, I had to be honest with myself.
I think I lied and said something along the lines of “because my day job is so demanding, I have little time these days for personal work”.

Okay, that isn’t an out ‘n’ out lie, but have you ever heard the age old mantra, if you like something enough you’ll make time for it? Like those crazy people who work god-forsaken hours but still find time to go to the gym… yeah, I am not one of those people. Finding time for work that makes you happy, and is just for you, that’s what really is important.

So for me, my personal work? I hear you ask, well, you’re reading it right now! My blog has become my personal work. This is me officially taking the proverbial pen to paper again, and I’m loving it – writing is something I do for me, that bleeds into my career, and I love it. Even more so because it’s not for a client, or even for a friend – it’s something I do just for me.

If there’s a photoshoot, I’ll be there if it’s at 4:30am on the moon, if I have to”

Bubble bath

Take a day off, just because you can

As a photographer, it’s just common knowledge you have to work all hours God sends you – whether that be 9-5, or perhaps evenings, and even weekends. If there’s a photoshoot, I’ll be there if it’s at 4:30am on the moon, if I have to.

However, I discovered around May of this year, after burning the candle at both ends for just over 5 years, since leaving University, that sometimes a girl’s just got to take a day off, you know?

It was like my mental health stuck up a tiny white flag, waved it furiously in the air and shouted “enough is enough, I can’t take this crap anymore!” and I had somewhat of a mid-twenties crisis. How am I meant to work Monday to Friday, evenings and weekends for the rest of my life? I found myself asking anyone who would listen.

And then it hit me… I don’t! I don’t have to work every hour of the week, just because I feel like I have to. Someone very wise once said to me “just because you’re busy, that doesn’t make you hard working”. It was like I was confusing a busy schedule with feeling hard working and important. It’s about identifying that these two things do not connect – you need to be economical with your time.

Now I take a day off in the week from time to time, or if I know I’m working an evening I take the morning of the day off. Sometimes the days have purpose, I go get a coffee with my Mum, or walk the dog, or even sometimes, most of the time, I have a Sex and the City marathons all by myself, just because I can. And, I kind of like it.

Do the thing you love, don’t just take photos of it

Okay so get this – when I became a recognised food photographer, in the Manchester area at least, I kind of just stopped cooking. I was so busy, running from shoots to events to more shoots, I just didn’t have time to prepare and stock up the fridge like I once did.

I started heavily relying on Jon to do all the cooking – bless him, he is an angel – but I really missed the thing that once made me so happy and filled me with joy.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not a great cook, I’m okay, I make a mean chicken curry and I like to bake banana bread, but I just stopped doing all that, and God did I miss it.

I was surrounding myself with food in my day job, but not saving myself enough time for the thing I loved so much, that made me become a food photographer in the first place – cooking.

So I’m not saying don’t completley stop shooting that thing you love, you’re making a career out of it, good for you! All I’m saying is if you’re a sports photographer, take some time out and go to a football game every once and a while. Or a fashion photographer, take some time every September to go to the A/W fashion shows. Or even like me, a food photographer, just remember to make time for the little things, and don’t lose that fire for that thing that you loved in the first place. You were lucky to find it, please don’t forget it as you excel in your career.

don’t get me wrong, I love a mind-numbing Instagram scroll every now and then…”

dog on bed

Put a limit on social

Social media, the demon of all 21st century businesses. You can’t thrive without one, but having one takes up all of your time, boggles your mind and might as well be a whole other job all together.

I’ve talked before about not getting caught up on the numbers, and creating content for you always comes before how many likes light up on that new upload you posted a half hour ago, but when is it time to say enough’s enough?

Not all together, don’t get me wrong, I love a mind-numbing Instagram scroll every now and then, but can all the scrolling really be good for our souls? Interesting studies have shown that social media apps promote bad mental health, create comparison issues for their users and leave you feeling well, damn right inadequate.

I know I’ve spent the odd Saturday morning looking at my competitors newsfeed and thinking ‘why did they score that client, and not me?’ Forgetting all the amazing things I had achieved that day, week or year, just because Joe Bloggs seems to be doing better – or so he’s choosing to tell you – but that’s a whole other story for another time.

Create limits for yourself like your parents once made you do as a child, I have two strict rules…
1. Only 1.5 hours of social media a day on my work phone, which btw includes WhatsApp
2. No phones, at all, after 9:30pm
Sounds drastic? Yes I know, but no one knows me better than me, and I know I don’t like feeling worthless, inadequate or jealous, do you?

1 in 3 people say that using their smartphone is the last thing they do before going to bed at night”

What’s worse, 1 in 3 people say that using their smartphone is the last thing they do before going to bed at night. So most of us are actually going to sleep and stewing over all these negative feelings last thing we do, before sleeping! Imagine what that’s doing to you, no one deserves to feel bad, especially just before we go off to the land of nod.

Insuring your mind is one of the strongest things you can do as a photographer, no as a creative. You wouldn’t leave that £500 lens hanging around uninsured, so why do we do this to ourselves? So little time is spent on the nurturing, just the doing, working and running around like a headless chicken. I promise you, it will catch up with you – it did me.

It’s so important to find that thing you love that takes you outside of yourself and your natural working habitat. I know for me, it’s that time when the camera is down that I actually make real memories with my family, Jon, and the people around me.

That’s what I want to remember last thing before I go to bed at night, not feelings of tiredness, stress and anxiety.

What’s it going to be for you? What are you going to chose?

All original imagery taken and curated by yours truly, Georgie Glass
Take a look at my food portfolio here, and my lifestyle portfolio here.

All Rights Reserved - Georgie Glass 2018 ®

Grief
Noun – Definition: intense sorrow, especially caused by someone’s death.

This is going to be a short piece. It’s not really so much a blog post, but more a recognition of something that has happened, an acknowledgment.

Unless you were raised in an extremely progressive home, I’d be bold enough to say that no one is really raised to know how to deal with grief. It’s almost like a big monster that creeps up on you once someone you loved or cared about has left this world. It surprises you, sometimes even scares you, and we’re not educated with how to deal with our grief or emotions.

From a young age we aren’t taught how to deal with grief; I’m not sure if it’s a British ‘stiff-upper-lip’ thing or whether it’s just put down to being too sad to teach to children. It’s almost deemed weak to acknowledge your suffering publicly. Society teaches us that to move on after someone’s passing we must forget, or pretend like such awful thing never happened, and that the quicker you move on the faster you will heal.

If you were taught differently, you’re very lucky. I don’t know where or how I learned to deal with my emotions, usually I can proudly say I’m in tune with my feelings. But I can safely say my relationship with my grief, after the loss of my nephew Joshua, is an unhealthy one. A monster that has taken 11 months to creep up on me, and now it’s here, I don’t know how to deal with it.

People are designed to be born, to live a full life and then, surrounded by their loved ones, they will pass on. But how are you meant to deal with the loss of a loved one who never truly lived? How can you process the loss of a life so pure, it didn’t deserve to leave us. When my nephew passed away, it redesigned the definition of “gone too soon” for me. Every loss that had come before paled in insignificance to the loss of him, and instead of dealing with my pain, I pushed it to one side.

Grief and mourning are two words that are so often brought together in harmony, but in a way are two very separate things. Mourning is a time period that lasts for however long for the individual. But usually after a period of time mourning will leave you, and you will begin to see the light of the future and your life will begin to flood with new memories and happiness again.

Grief is something that never leaves you; it’s that time you think of a memory you spent with a loved one, it’s placing flowers on a graveside, it’s that sharp intake of breath every time you remember that your life goes on but they’re not here to share it with you.

I believe you can only begin the healing process by acknowledging your grief, taking it by the hand, sitting it down and having a good old chat with it. Your grief is there for a reason, and it will continue to haunt you until you understand what it wants, and why it’s making you feel the way you feel. I’ve spent so many years pretending to be strong and acting like everything is okay every time I’ve lost a friend or grandparent. But the loss of Joshua has taught me I cannot move forward neglecting my emotions; I must recognise that monster and let it in, only then will I learn it’s not such a monster after all, but just another emotion to add to my technicolour array of feelings I feel every single day.

As a family we remember my nephew by talking about his legacy. Even though he lived for such a short amount of time, his impact was magnificent. His footprint has imprinted with so many people for so many different reasons. I think I have realised today that Joshua’s legacy for me is to always understand and accept my grief, and know it’s that that makes me human. I will never again be ashamed to grieve, and neither should you.

Want to learn more, find support for child loss or follow Joshua’s Legacy?
My sister-in-law runs a wonderful Instagram in memory of my nephew and other babies and children gone too soon.
Click here to take a look: Joshua’s Legacy

All Rights Reserved - Georgie Glass 2018 ®