The ultimate job is one that not only pays well but is also a great opportunity. One that can push your career forward and potentially open doors. But not every job will meet both of these goals. So, how do you decide if it’s worth it?

As you know, there comes a point in your career in which you have to be more selective of the work you take on. Sometimes, spending time preparing for a photo shoot and being on set is just not worth it—your time could be better spent reaching out to clients, updating your portfolio or doing something to propel yourself forward.

The big question is, how do you pick and choose which jobs to accept?

The ultimate job is a paying, great opportunity—one that can push your career forward and open new doors. However, not every job will meet both goals.

So, how do you decide if it’s worth it?

What if the pay isn’t great, but the opportunity is?

Ask yourself: Can you send these images to potential clients, as an update to remind them of how great your work is? Is it something you would happily place in your portfolio?

Sometimes the pay is great, but the job won’t be building you portfolio.

In this case, it’s pretty straightforward, isn’t it? A growing bank account is better than one that stands still. Money allows you to invest in other projects that either satisfy your creative appetite or carve out your own opportunities.

Lastly, sometimes you just have to say “no.”

To quote Oscar-nominated actress Octavia Spencer, “‘No’ is the most powerful word you have in your vocabulary.”

How and when to say “no” it is one of the hardest things to master.

Years ago, before I began to get beauty campaigns, there were definitely times where making a little bit of extra money would have helped. I wasn’t in desperate need, but every little bit adds up.

I was shooting jewelry lines for a while, years ago—recently, an old friend of mine texted me out of the blue and asked if I would shoot her jewelry line again for an absolutely reasonable fee. I declined, with barely a moment of hesitation.

I invested the time I would have put into shooting and retouching the jewelry into reading, doing research and putting tests together. Jewelry is not my thing. I didn’t want to take the chance that I’d end up having a negative experience, feeling angry and frustrated because I was doing something I really didn’t want to be doing.

Not to mention, I would also spend additional time complaining about it to my friend Andre who would just say “girl I told you, the next step is ‘no’. Now you’ve wasted 40 minutes of both our lives and neither of us got paid!” Ha!

This was a chance I had to make money that I turned down because it just didn’t make sense.

A few years ago, I met with a beauty company who was interested in hiring me to photograph their campaign for a new product they were launching. I was excited— the meeting went great, they were impressed by what I presented. The best part was that the ad-mockup they showed me was nearly an exact replica of something I previously shot.

So, I was their girl, a perfect fit! Their promotional needs were quite large. It was a national campaign with P.O.P in some of the most popular beauty chains. I put together an incredible team of artists, some of the best in the industry and terrific models. The quote ran under $45k which was not in the higher range.

The response to the quote I submitted was “this is way more than we expected. Our previous photographer completed this project for $8000.” I was in shock! How in the world could they pay the model, makeup, hair, photo assistant, rent a studio, retouch final images, have a photographer day rate and usage right rate?

I withdrew my name from the running. Could I have made it work? Absolutely. But I want all of my work to be the best in creating quality. So I let it go.

There’s no magic formula to any of this.

We have to weigh our options, and if we’re not starving and can keep a roof over our heads, other reasons for taking on a job can kick in. It will either move your career forward, grow your bank account or the super awesome ultimate job will do BOTH!

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What is your process for choosing whether or not to say “yes” to a job? How do you decide when to say “no”? Do you ever have a hard time saying “no”?

We’d love to hear about your process in the comments section below.