Catching up to friends during the convention season, the conversation at some point, at least with photographers who have been shooting for ten years or more, turns to how much things have changed in the last few years.
The more I think about it, the less I think things have really changed that much. Yes, technology is always changing and new gear and software are pushing us to expand our skill set. However, a new photographer
starting out today has the same challenges as if they started twenty years ago.
The biggest challenges are still the same… How do I close the sale? Should I advertise my prices? How do I get people to know I’m here? Then there are questions on insurance, promotions and the importance of never compromising on quality. Every challenge has been there for years and in fact, are NOT unique to photography, but any business.
Just to help you establish your priorities try these ideas to help secure a solid reputation for your business:
· You still need to produce a quality product! Every time I hear a photographer say something about consumers not knowing the difference, I can trace back his/her actions to missing something in customer service. Consumers do want quality, but you have to take the time to show them the difference.
· Providing great Customer Service is still vital! You’ve got respond quickly to customer requests. Learn to empathize and exceed client expectations.
· You have to listen to your clients and anticipate their needs. That old line of my grandmother’s is still valid. “You’ve got two ears and one mouth, so listen twice as much as you talk!”
· You have to market yourself to get through all the noise. I’ll admit it’s harder than ever to build brand awareness, but the necessity to do it is still there. All that’s changed is the vehicles you use to get your message out there.
Your work still requires a passionate eye, a great heart and a quest to always look for that decisive moment. Ansel Adams once said,
“Sometimes I do get to places just when God’s ready to have somebody click the shutter.”
And that’s one more thing that hasn’t changed – as a professional photographer you’re still part of an incredible legacy of creative spirits like Ansel, Avedon, Scavullo, Karsh, Eddie Adams, Arnold Newman, Dean Collins, Don Blair and Monte Zucker, just to name a few. They gave us a foundation and a legacy that belongs to every professional photographer. While it might sometimes be challenged by technology and the economy, it remains a powerful tribute to pride, quality, creativity and art.
So, that old quote still applies…as much as things change, some things never change.
Photo Credit: © aaabbc