An Open Letter to My Clients
Dear Sweet Soul,
By now you may have noticed a few changes to my website and Facebook and Instagram accounts. You've probably observed a reworking of my logo, replete with glitter and hidden fairies. (You saw the fairies, right? Right???) Probably you picked up on a fresh vibe from the words I've written, or the sparkle in my eye. Perhaps you even found yourself wondering what all of these changes and tweaks could possibly mean for Lauren Bee Photography LLC, maybe even wondered what it could mean for you, my loyal client. Well, I believe now is the time to let you in on what is really going on:
Maintaining a small business is no small feat for anyone, especially in a market that is so completely saturated with talented photographers with their mad skills and super-high-tech equipment. Keeping up with service subscriptions and continuing education, forking over hundreds of dollars in licensing and legal fees, and paying taxes and more taxes and then something called “a privilege tax” (like the small business owner is being done a favor ...). None of that is for the faint of heart. And had I known, before foraying into the world of entrepreneurship, what it would mean to me as an artist, even I probably wouldn't have been crazy enough to agree to setting up shop as a photography business.
But none of that is why I'm quitting. No, it's the “as an artist” part that I want to talk over with you. You see, I've known for years that I am an artist first and business woman second … well, let's not even get that carried away. I'm not a business person at all. I'm pretty much hardcore artist, all sunshine and cotton candy clouds drifting through this tangled mental floss of mine. I'm a walking Disney movie, if we're gonna be really honest here – and I believe in total honesty, especially since you and I know each other so very well. I burst into song at the drop of a hat. I get excited over the most inconsequential things, like falling leaves or when the spring breeze blows through a delicate tendril of your hair in the most dreamy fashion. You know this about me; you've accompanied me on a photo session. Bless. You know how utterly nonsensical and absurd I can be!
So it should come as no surprise when I say, in the most emphatic way possible (and I am nothing if not emphatic), that I am simply not meant for this business thing. I am not meant to push pencils and do hard things like maths. I am meant to dance with you in mud puddles. I am meant to write you heart-felt notes, signed with my signature flourish (and a smiley face doodled in the curve of the over-zealous letter “L” of my first name). I am meant to laugh at the sight of dappled sunlight and capture the magic of dust motes dancing in our midst. I am meant for imagination and dreams – and for the conjuring of joy in making those dreams a visual reality.
When I finally admitted these truths about myself, the path before me became so clear I swear I saw a light bulb positively explode in my brain. (Watch out for those bits of broken glass underfoot – I'm still sweeping up that glorious mess). Hanging my business hat on the sensible peg where it belongs and turning away from its too-heavy and ill-fitting weight is the obvious choice – and picking up my camera and taking off into the wild, rainbow-suffused yonder to chase butterflies and fairy tales is an even more obvious choice. To bring to life the vision I have of the world, to convey what I feel and see by way of fine art. That.
Yes, I'm quitting business.
But I'm embracing a new beginning.
I am setting out on the next big adventure, and I'm positively buzzing about it! In the coming months I am going to dive (or probably more like cannonball!) into the world of fine art, publication (Fingers crossed!), art exhibition of original and limited edition pieces, and writing and sharing with others the unfolding story of my increasing and growing passion, by way of my website. And I have such grand plans for encouraging and including fellow passion-istas who seek the delicate harmony of the soul and our very human drive to see and touch and create beauty. I'm beginning a beautiful new chapter in my life, built on calling and purpose and life and community – and I could not be any more excited!
But let's talk about you for a minute. You're still wondering what any of this has to do with you, right?
You're awesome. No, really, you are. Once upon a time – whether several years ago or just a few weeks back – you stumbled across my website or Facebook page and decided you so loved what you saw there that you were more than willing to hand over some of your hard-earned money just to spend time with my crazy self (and that equally crazy imagination of mine). If you only knew what kind of good that does an artist's heart, to have “been chosen” among the literally thousands of brilliant creatives, and then given the honor of standing in the midst of respect and patronage and (dare I say) gratitude for providing you a blood-sweat-tears service that is, for the artist, as vital as breathing. That is the stuff of legend. The great painter Van Gogh died before he ever knew any such blessed act as to have his art sought after and deemed good or worthy. It is not a common thing, this thing you have done for me. It's uncommon. It is, in fact, remarkable.
You've blessed me so, dear one. I want you to know that. You saw something in me and you culled it from the depths of a place I didn't have the courage to admit was even real, not until fairly recently. You looked at me with something like awe and friendship – nay, exactly like friendship! And you gave me the urge, the vision, and the freedom to believe in myself – and oh, how you encouraged me to soar! What you saw in me, in my work, has made all the difference to my soul. And I want you to know how deeply grateful I am to you for this precious gift.
I also want you to know that, even though I realize my heart and future endeavors belong to fine art and limited edition artwork, even though I am setting aside the business side of what I do, I want to remain available to my current clients (anyone currently booked prior to November 2016). This means you are “grandfathered in” with the option to retain my photographic services for as long as you would like them. Or, if you prefer, I'm more than happy to help you find your next awesome photographer. I know so many – good ones who are as well versed in the business side of things as they are mainstream photography; I know any one of them would love the honor of being your new photographer.
Additionally, in a more immediate and practical sense, if you currently have a contract or understanding with me as Lauren Bee Photography LLC, those contracts and agreements will absolutely be honored! I have every intention of remaining as loyal to you as you have to me, so never fear! I am there for your upcoming event or planned-for session. I've got your back!
Dear one, you are so precious to me. I cannot thank you enough for joining me thus far – and for embarking with me on our next grand work. Stay tuned – it's gonna be an awesome ride!