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Stop Asking for Credit and Start Giving Yourself Credit!

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We all have to start somewhere… photographers, actors, artists, and the like. We either start out by discounting our work in exchange for “credit” or we do the work for FREE for the “credit”.

And then it happens… they don’t credit YOU!

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For years I had done work shooting for companies, celebrities, etc. in hopes of it advancing my career. I worked for free or for a hugely discounted rate and only asked for a credit, dreaming that one day the credit would be seen by their publicists & other celebrity friends. I thought this would take my career to the next level, and as you may guess… it did not. The rare times I did get credit, it lead to nothing. Most of the time, they disregarded our agreement of photography in exchange for credit. My photography would appear all over social media and even in national advertising campaigns and billboards. When I asked for the credit “I thought” was due, it usually backfired. I kept asking for the agreed upon credit after doing shoots and reminded people that I did something for “free” or for a huge discount. Acting in this manner unfortunately soured a few of my long time high-powered and celebrity relationships.

After having this lesson present itself to me over and over, it finally occurred to me… I don’t have to do this! Either I need to set my value and worth or I need to decide that my work is a GIFT… nothing more, nothing less. If there is a certain personality that I really want to photograph or they are someone that I want in my portfolio, then I need to decide up front that this is a gift. It is a gift to them AND a gift to me. What I learned are the 2 following points…

STOP ASKING FOR CREDIT & START GIVING YOURSELF CREDIT!

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DO NOT GIVE TO RECEIVE… GIVE TO GIVE!

I am not saying don’t work for free doing your art and what you love, I am saying that if you are going to do something for FREE do it because you WANT to, not because you want “credit”.

When you do things genuinely to GIVE, then the value far outweighs the cost in someone else’s life as well as your own.

Now… aside from giving, we also must value ourselves and make an income. Therefore, set your value and unless you really want to… do not settle for less. And… if you don’t want to, you don’t have to give away your talents to anyone. Whether you are a newbie or an old pro… It really is ok to say NO! By knowing and valuing your own self worth, people will respect you more.

I know what you are thinking… When you are starting out you need to discount or do free things, etc. etc.

NO, YOU DO NOT ANYMORE!

Whatever field of work you are in, create your own content! Make your own destiny and make people WANT YOU!

In this day and age of smart phones, social media, instagram, vine, dubsmash, and YouTube, you can become famous overnight with one viral video!

True story: Even our cats are earning their kitten kibble making money on YouTube!

Then there’s the multiple ways that you can receive help financially through grants, friends, family, and crowdfunding!

There are unlimited ways in which you can create & promote YOUR ART!

STOP LIMITING YOURSELF and waiting for the phone to ring. STOP wondering why you are not making it in this town and make this town YOUR TOWN!

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MAKE CONTENT AND SHARE WITH THE WORLD!

YOU ARE AN ARTIST… CREATE ART!

And keep doing it! Your talents will GROW, confidence will GROW, your following will GROW, and you as a human will GROW!

I have started creating my own art recently and it is quite empowering. In addition to creating my own photography and gallery art projects for charity, I have also embarked on a new venture with my husband titled “little films BIG MESSAGES”. Very soon we start principle photography on our film entitled “Welcome to Where You’ve Always Been”. This is the first in a series of short films that we are creating with uplifting messages to inspire the masses. This is doing the art that we love for ourselves and for others! This is also about taking control of our own dreams and careers and creating our own destiny.

Within days of starting our short film project, we ran into a friend and our production company 3 cubed studios, LLC was asked to sign on as collaborators with his company AWOL Studios who is also making feature films with messages to change lives and inspire! We put it out there and POOF we received an even greater benefit! Now we are having weekly meeting at Raleigh studios and making even bigger films that will reach even more people to inspire!

Stop waiting around for someone else to give you an opportunity and MAKE YOUR OPPORTUNITY!

The more you create your own opportunity… You will no longer have to ask for credit or validation from anyone!

Make people want to credit you because they admire you because you are putting yourself out there and making things happen!!

Create a world where you are respecting yourself and others are respecting you.

Then you can just relax and CREATE ART and the credit and money will come effortlessly and easily.

I can tell you that since I started creating my own opportunities the amount of abundance and opportunity is coming in so fast that I can’t even keep up in my new gratitude journal!

Stop looking for outside sources to validate you and start validating yourself! This is YOUR world… You are worth it! You got this!

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Mary Lou Sandler

About Mary Lou Sandler

Mary Lou Sandler is the co-founder of 3 cubed studios, LLC... a photographic, film & music studio in Los Angeles. She is a former working actress & fitness cover model. In the early 2000s she picked up the camera and is now a professional photographer, cinematographer, and director. She has shot several celebrities, advertising campaigns, and is published in multiple magazines, including magazine covers. Mary Lou was an official selection in multiple film festivals with her short film as well as two music videos. She is a published author working on her 2nd art for charity book and gallery installation (a female empowerment project) and is the cinematographer and co-producer of a new documentary film with Betsy Chasse. (co-creator and director of “What the Bleep Do We Know”). Mary Lou’s mission is to create inspiring and life changing content thru photographic and cinematic imagery. She enjoys poetry, supporting other artists, charity work, her husband, & cats.