Have you ever asked yourself, what are my values?

When it comes to working with a creative professional, here is a quick guide to figuring out how to identify your values and see if they align with your creative professional for a satisfying experience!

Finding the perfect portrait photographer (or any creative for that matter!) really has everything to do with your values and not just with your personal style, vision or budget alone. Now, of course all of these are extremely important and they should all always work together like a perfect puzzle to ensure all the pieces fit together nicely into the bigger picture that you are trying to create. At the core of any creative partnership, however, the most important and most intuitive part will always be the value which you hold for working with creative professionals. Be it the value you hold for your own needs or for your families needs, the person you hire must always reflect those similar values which also matter most to you.

The easiest way to know if your values align with your hired professional is to first understand and establish what your values actually are. 

Establishing what your values are is a very personal process, no one can tell you what you should value, right! No one’s opinion or idea of what’s best for you will ever be accurate, therefore looking for what matters most to you will always have to come from within you. Use your heart and inner intuition to dig deep and find out what really matters to you. In relation to working with creative professionals such as photographers, videographers, graphic designers etc the kind of values that will line up for you both will be

values of time, skill & talents, energy and money. Below I have outlined a few key points to help you better narrow down your values in working with hired creative professionals.

Do you value your time & energy?

The way you value your own time and energy will translate into how you value others time and energy when you are working together on a project. It’s a very transparent process, this cannot be hidden from the creative professional in any matter, they will see your values right away after even just one phone call or conversation when you state what you desire to gain from your collaboration.

Do you value tangible, physical items such as keepsake fine art prints that you will hold near and dear to your heart for the rest of your life?

The way you value physical items created especially for you by your creative professional will show them that you care about their hard work and efforts in creating with you but furthermore it will also encourage you to continue to appreciate yourself and your worth each time you see the printed products in your hands. The way you value tangible items is not so much about vanity or material needs, but more about that ultimate appreciation of the art you both worked so hard on.

Do you value receiving the highest quality product over the cost of the final investment? In other words, “momentary vs. priceless

If you are the kind of person who wishes for quick returns, lesser quality and minimal communication and involvement in a project between yourself & your creative professional this will alert them instantly and create an image of “momentary needs” vs the “priceless investment” they wish to create with you. Of course each creative professional is different and their values may be different than my own, however, I strongly agree that most people in the industry are here to create genuinely priceless and timeless art when collaborating with a client on any kind of project.

Do you value your professional creative’s artwork that takes them time and incredible amounts of skill (usually honed over many years) to perfect and create custom just for you?

Often it is easy to see this value being under-appreciated when things like retouching time being hastened or tangible products being passed on when time comes. This easily tells the creative professional their hard work is not being understood, appreciated or valued in the way it deserves to be. Having aligned values here means you both are respectful of each other's time and energy spent on the project and there are no misunderstandings because the values and needs have been made clear from the start of the collaboration.

Do you value people or do you value money?

If it’s the first, as an example, the money spent will be of equal or lesser “cost” to you than what you received from the experience you invested in. This simply means you value people & their time/energy over the money spent on the experience because what is gained, to you, is much more than what was spent. This can also be true in reverse if the value you place is higher on the cost of the experience, then you are more likely to obsess over the outcome because valuing money over people creates a control based relationship that only drives a wedge between the creative and their client. I call this “money vs. everything to gain” syndrome, where the experience is not about creating but rather about controlling the outcome.

So thinking about the key points above you should intuitively, without too much thought, now come to a conclusion of what matters most to you. When your values are clear you will then be able to bring them up to your creative professional with an open and honest approach and have a discussion about your needs, personal & professional values as well as your desires of what you wish to gain from the collaboration. And in turn, if your values and theirs are aligned, the partnership will be a satisfactory one because right from the start you were both honest and clear on your values.

As an example, let’s take a look at a hypothetical value miss-alignment that may happen if the client's values were not made clear before beginning a project with a creative professional.

Here's what we can foresee will happen from the collaboration:

The client has a quick, no energy or time spent approach right from the start. They don't seem to be interested in what the creative professional is providing but regardless, they are interested in investing on a shoot simply because they are either on a time constraint or are lazy and do not wish to continue searching for another professional so they settle on one that appears most agreeable due the location, price and turnaround time. It is clear to see even from this short example that the client’s values most likely will not align with the professional’s and going forward this will be a miss-matched partnership. This is what I would call, “Lack of Investment Mindset.”

Let’s continue, say the client wishes to gain digital images from the photographer, they want to have the rights to the digital images and own them outright because they paid for the photographer’s time to shoot their portraits. (If the photographer made their services clear to the client from the start, there shouldn’t be any miscommunication in what is allowed and what is not when it comes to digitals/prints so we will leave this out of the equation for now.) Though a certain amount of “ownership” does come with a multitude of services in regards to the digital files vs print products, the energy and values exchanged when a client simply wishes to own the digital files is a fleeting satisfaction if you ask me. In 9 out of 10 cases, the client will store the images on their drives (often time losing or deleting them on accident) and never actually making any prints whatsoever from their investment letting their images sit and never be loved, appreciated or admired. If you ask me, after investing any amount of money in any service or product I want to STARE IN AWE at the investment I made for years to come simply to admire the magick ✨ that was created by myself and my chosen creative professional! Wouldn’t you?

This kind of exchange is what I would call “Ownership Vs Appreciation” Now I say this because I understand both sides but as an artist first, I must always stay true to providing my clients with keepsake art before any digital images even come up in the conversation. If the kind of client booking me simply wanted digital files, I would be so happy to help them understand why that value in the long run is a fleeting one and how investing in a photoshoot should come with it’s reward, a keepsake art that will remind them daily of just how incredible they really are in a physical fine art print they can hang on their wall for all to see!

As another example, let’s say the client is a “penny pincher”. No worries, we’ve all been there! But when you are intently looking for a creative person to help you realize your dreams and immortalize yourself or your family/fiancé in a fine art portrait, wouldn’t you want the person you hire to be basically like a… magical unicorn that can do what others can't? So if the client’s top value is the money they are investing over the final product that they will gain from the experience, I can see from the start that this collaboration is not based in creativity, appreciation or full hearted involvement but rather a gray cloud of monetary tracking which lies at the forefront of any conversation or action during our time together. A little uninspired, if you ask me!

So I would know from the very start that the “value” this particular client shows me is not of respecting my time and energy and the art that I would hope they hired me for, but simply a necessity they are not too keen on investing in in the first place. If this is the case, and hopefully it is not for many of you, I would strongly suggest as the creative professional to have the value’s discussion as early on as possible to find out if this will be a hiccup during your collaboration together. For in the end, if it’s “Money vs Everything to Gain” then that kind of collaboration will bring only low vibrational energy to the set creating lack in the images, instilling a fear based relationship that you as the professional must constantly “prove” yourself to your client or fear them being disappointed from the start since their monetary investment didn’t pay off like they wished. (Scared Sad Emoji enter here)

Now of course the energy and attitude those clients carry is not so much of ego-based entitlement, this sort of thinking is always instilled in us as kids and adults by corporations, the media and in general the world we live in. Most of us go about our lives needing to be pleased or people pleasing but we never really realize why or how that’s driving us further away from what we really want. It’s important to be gentle with ourselves and with our clients because they may need a little help to realize they are radiating this kind of energy unconsciously. Kindness is key to any collaboration, so a kind and gentle approach is always best when dealing with people who don’t share our values.

With all of this being said, these are just a few small examples that I have come to understand and really decipher in my career as a professional human and photographer. Since 2009 I have had both wonderful clients who wanted to share in the creativity with me and other not so lovely clients that literally insulted me to my face during our photoshoot but continued to expect incredible photographs after they’d brought such low vibrational energy to the set.

No matter what others may value for themselves, the most important part for you is to figure out what you value most and to stay true to it, always. Really diving deep into yourself to figure out just who you are and what you actually care about most in life, will help determine other work/relationship type values such as what we talked about here. The values you carry when working with others will accurately reflect your personal life values. This means that if you value your time & energy you will always intuitively gravitate toward like minded individuals. You will attract exactly what you put into the universe! (Little advice: Staying in high vibrational, gratitude and positivity will naturally attract good, positive changes into you life. Staying in low vibrational energy such as lack, fear or self-degrading low esteem will only perpetuate more of the same in an endless circle with no hope for the better!)

So next time you consider beginning your search for a new photographer or if you’re simply in need of a creative professional’s service, ask yourself what are your values? And start that open conversation with them before ever putting down a deposit. This will help you find the right person for the job because you will have started your search with the most important part:

aligned energy!

This is all for today, thank you friends for staying with me this long & reading so much of what I had to share with you. All of my thoughts and advice come straight from my heart and years of experience with numerous types of encounters and situations. I always wish to help others better their lives and better understand themselves. In no way do I ever intend to harm or hurt any living being with my words, so if you feel Positively (or even Negatively) about this post, please feel free to share your thoughts with me in the comments. I truly look forward to hearing what you have to share with me!

PS. If your post is of blatant hatred I do apologize, but it will be flagged and taken down. Please be respectful of my time & energy and spread love and kindness wherever you go instead!