It happened again.
The dad of one of your kiddo’s friends asked about your career.
And when you said, “I’m a professional photographer,” he smirked.
What is it about being a photographer that makes some people dismiss you?
And what can you do to get more respect?
To call yourself a doctor, lawyer, or an accountant, you need to have some kind of degree and usually a lot of training.
The respect comes with the position and the title that someone else hires you for.
But when you choose yourself and you become a small business owner, it’s hard enough to believe in yourself, let alone getting others to believe in you.
I had a marketing degree and I was raised to get a degree and then you have a qualification to do that thing.
When I became a professional photographer, I felt like such a fraud.
I had imposter syndrome and would shrink down and lower my voice when I told anyone I was a professional photographer because I didn’t feel like I deserved it.
I didn’t feel like I could call myself that.
And then as I grew, as a very broke small business owner and mom, I realized that it’s not about photography.
I did not want to go back to corporate, work for someone else, and work long hours.
And I also didn’t want to be broke.
Why can’t we have both?
I realized at some point that I had to become my biggest fan.
How was I going to persuade others to believe in me and respect me if I didn’t respect myself?
I have some solutions and steps for you if you’re feeling disrespected, whether it’s by yourself or by others.
1. Decide that You’re Worthy of What You’re Charging And Of Others Respect
It’s your time.
You’ve worked so hard in your life to become the person you’ve become.
And maybe it wasn’t at photography school, but all of your gifts, talents, and skills are respect worthy.
2. Treat Yourself Like a Business
You have to be a serious business owner.
You can’t be willy-nilly canceling things.
One day you’re in, one day you’re out.
People won’t respect that.
So stop canceling appointments with people, not showing up, or arriving late.
That is not the type of business person that is going to be respected.
3. Invest in Yourself
Invest to get the skills you need to serve your clients.
I entered print competitions and I got my master’s of photography degree from PPA many years ago because I needed to prove to myself that I was good enough.
I didn’t wait until I felt like I was good enough to invest in running my business.
I always keep a business mentor who can help me grow my business.
Education gives you confidence and helps you feel more respected.
So always invest in yourself.
4. Dress and Act the Part
You do not have to wear a suit every day to be confident.
We don’t have to put on pantyhose.
But still, we can show up in a way that shows that we’re confident and in a way that’s consistent with our brand and style.
Which means we’re clean, we’re organized, and we’re put together.
Carry your camera bag and your product samples like a boss.
Have all of your tools.
Come prepared, organized, and show up early.
That is how you get people’s respect.
5. Practice Your Tone
Say, “I’m a professional photographer.
And I create artwork for the most amazing clients.
It’s life changing for them when they come home and they see the people they love on their walls, hugging, laughing, hanging out.
And it gives my clients goosebumps when they tell me that they love my artwork and it’s worth every penny.”
That’s how we confidently talk about what we do, because what we do is amazing.
Be confident when you talk about what you do.
There are always going to be haters.
People who roll their eyes or act shocked when you tell them that you don’t sell digital files and that you’re charging what you’re charging.
Keep following your passion and the dream that was planted in you.
Let that dream bloom.
Don’t let others chip away at the respect you have for yourself.
Because if you respect yourself, others will respect you.
And I’m telling you right now, all you have to do to respect yourself is make the decision.
Stand up taller, take a deep breath, and make the decision, right now, that you are worthy of being respected as a photographer by yourself and by others.
And know, I am cheering so hard for you.
You can do this.