That was in the subject of the email that contained my very first inquiry for me to shoot an event! The event? A bat mitzvah, which…having gone through that myself, makes me feel like I am coming full circle. It was something I will never forget for a few reasons: 1) I’ll never be handed that amount of money…ever again 2) I’ll never be able to read Hebrew as fluently as I was able to then and 3) it was such an incredible genuine time – I remember going to bed feeling so happy…it truly was an amazing experience.
A bar/bat mitzvah is such a symbolic tradition in Judaism: it is when you become an adult. There is no argument with the significance of the tradition; however, at the age of thirteen, feeling like an adult is about the last feeling you are having. Instead, you are living your first year of teenage hood. For me, this consisted of trying to fit in and having to wear braces. At that age, my looks certainly were not at their best but luckily we have plenty of photos from my bat mitzvah to confirm that.
I am really excited now to provide that documentation because although I cringe looking at my thirteen-year-old self, I do cherish the photos and the people in them.
Once I got over the excitement of someone wanting to pay for my services, I had to get down to business. I had to come up with a price, a contract, and a retainer amount. Having zero legal expertise and a boyfriend who is almost finished with law school, I figured I could combine the two together and something would happen. My first step was to look up examples online. I found general clauses that were easy to understand and covered things I would need. Once I had written what I needed, I wanted to format it in a clear and visually appealing way so it did not like a jumble of words. I turned towards my boss for this who advised me and helped me ultimately get to the contract I have; she also helped me determine the retainer amount. I then turned towards my boyfriend to read over the entire thing to make sure everything looked good. With the okay from all my resources, I sent it over to the client.
Through this experience I had a two realizations (in order of being realized):
1. I did not learn this in college
2. I had to learn in the moment (which I actually love) but in order to do so and most importantly, I had to be able to ask people who are more experienced than me.
This brings me to my final thought of the day: I was able to ask the people around me because I have a community of photography people. A community is so important. In particular, as an aspiring freelancer, while your community can be seen as your competition it can also serve as a support system.
Lastly, I leave you with this: My friend shared it with me yesterday and although it has nothing to do with anything I’m talking about, it’s so cute (and sad). I bring you, a cat who stepped on a bee.