How to say NO
Today on Ten Minutes with Manzanita Live we talked about how to handle solicitations for sessions you DON'T want.
This is a tricky one.
I think there is one question you have to answer before you will know how you should respond when someone queries you with a session you aren't interested in, and here it is:
"WHY are you shooting?"
Are you in it for the money?
Are you trying to find your style?
Do you just want more practice?
Are you trying to make art?
Once you know your reason (and there might be more than one), you'll know what your answer needs to be.
This year I decided I am shooting solely family photography. That means no more seniors, no more engagements, no more corporate, no more headshots, no more birthdays. It's a big step, but for me, my driving force is the art. I don't want to spend time shooting what doesn't call to me, so when someone solicits me, I know my answer.
It's families all the way.
So how do you let someone know you aren't interested in shooting their session? Well, the first thing is, DON'T be a jerk, lol. Don't burn a bridge. Someone queried YOU. That's a huge compliment, and you need to treat it like one. So tell them thank you and mean it. Here's how a typical response from me goes when I've decided not to take a session:
Thank you so much for your interest in my work. Your (insert event) sounds exciting. I do not shoot corporate work anymore, but I do have a few friends I know would do a fabulous job for you. If you'd like, I can send you their information. Once again, thank you so much for reaching out to me, that is a huge compliment. And if you need a family photographer at any point, I'd love to be your girl! I wish you the best with your awesome party.
Lots of gratitude, lots of positive affirmation, and even a quick reminder that I'd love to shoot for their family in the future. You'd better believe that person doesn't feel stupid now for contacting me, and they might even book me for their own family session some day.
Last, remember you're allowed to break your own rule. If your sister is getting married and you secretly want to shoot her wedding, even though you're a birth photographer, take the gig! Take the work that excites you.
Time is not very long, so don't fill it with sessions that don't interest you.
Shoot what drives your heart to create.
*I'd love to hear how you handle saying "No" to a session. What do you do?