Alexis is currently not booking. As much as I love my craft I also have to love myself and right now that means focusing on my health, family and the foundation of my business.
When I started Lillianna Matthew Photography, I started it with nothing. All I had was a camera and some basic knowledge. Although, I’ve always loved photography it has usually been from the other side of the lens. I felt pressured to start my business and start earning money right away. What ended up happening is I deeply undervalued myself and my work from the very beginning. Instead of basing my prices and session off of my cost of doing business and what my goal income was, I took that number and just started shaving away until there was hardly enough to pay myself. Some of that was due to my self confidence, but mostly it was due to fear. I lived in a city where the median income was about $30k , how could I earn an income and still remain affordable and reach enough clients, sometimes this led me to gaining the wrong client instead of my ideal client.
Even more so, it led to my kindness being taken advantage of. There were so many times that I let clients who arrived at a session without the full fee to fulfill the session. A lot of times, that meant I never got paid. I don’t just mean my income, but I wasn’t paid enough to cover my costs. This included a 15- hour wedding. It is absolutely one thing when I offer your session or when you are upfront with me. This is all with me already being much more flexible than most. I think because I priced my work so low it was seen as “chump change” and there for they’d get to it when they get to it, maybe. I’m sure each person had their own battles but I am also certain that if their employer stopped paying them that they would then stop showing up to work.
This was not just breaking my spirit or hurting me financially , but it was making my work suffer, clients wait longer for products and it meant me not being able to invest enough in my business to upgrade my equipment in those 2 -3 years. Photography is my passion. I love being in front of and behind the camera. I love manipulating the light. I even love the most tedious parts of my job like editing and sitting and waiting for the sun to be just right. I love the way my work affects my clients. No matter how much I love what I do, I do have to face reality.
Reality for me is that I am a 28 year old mother ankylosing spondylitis, SLE lupus, fibromyalgia, endometriosis and pelvic congestion syndrome. I have 3 kids and a husband who although he can and does work is chronically ill as well. A 15 hour work day for me is not what a 15 hour work day is for others. I cannot continue to risk my health and well being without being paid appropriately. I want to enjoy my passion while I can. It is a very real concern that within the next decade I could need much more mobility help or even have artificial hips.
That means a lighter work load for one. That might mean it is harder to book with me but I hope you understand how much I love what I do and how necessary this is. That also means charging appropriately. The ways I book sessions is going to be the biggest change. Sessions will need to be paid in full upon booking. Weddings will require 50% down to retain my service and date. Payments will only be accepted from PayPal credit, which I will have instructions for. I will also be sticking to post – session fees, that means if your contract requires you to pay for your gallery after a specified time then invoices will be sent out. If you require optional editing past what I already include, an invoice will be sent out. If you altar your images, I will invoice you for a copyright fee.
It is still going to be some time before I am booking full time, here in Seattle or anywhere. In the mean time I will be selling stock images, products, images from my sessions with my models. I will also be blogging and vlogging. Aside from photography, I am also very passionate about activism, politics and finding ways to make life easier for Moms like me. This is going to be a long journey, but I’m hoping all of you will come along for the ride.
I will also be accepting donations here and on my contact page. You can pay for products, images or session fees here also when available. If you enjoy keeping up with me and my photography and would like to help keep things running feel free to send a donation. I will be working up a reward system soon and will post that this week!
Thank you all, and I will update this page as I become ready to take on sessions again.
Donations to Help Rebuild and Begin Again
If you enjoy seeing my work and would like to help keep me shooting. It is going to take me approximately $25k to upgrade my equipment and get my business up and fully moving. Later this week I will update this option allowing you to receive rewards and special perks for your donations. I'd like to thank you in advance.