So to sum up this article before it even begins: treat all of your clients like they are “high-end” clients, and more high-end clients will find you. Once you have that mindset, then I can teach you how to create that luxury experience, and you will begin to find success.
Writing this article is not about regrets; it is about my strong desire to share with others the key components of our success in the hope that others will also be successful. As an industry, we can all rise together if we are willing to share. I am well aware this list could be much longer, but these have been the most critical elements to our longevity and financial stability.
If a photographer has never experienced a client who did not like their photos, had unrealistic demands, or was just not a very nice person, then that photographer has not been in business long enough. The reasons why customer service issues tend to happen in our industry are numerous, but the one thing that they can always be traced back to is not managing client expectations properly.
Our society looks at disability so negatively; it’s something to be hidden away, to fear or pity. At the other end of the spectrum, we are characterized as “inspirational” to able-bodied people, “brave” for simply living our lives, or caricatures that make everyone else feel better about themselves. More often than not, we fight to be portrayed just as we are, or how we want to be seen. We deserve the right to decide how we’re represented.
We all want to grow. To grow our business and our photography to that ever-elusive next level. The truth is, you can’t just sit around and wait for the next big growth spurt to come knocking down your door. If you’ve got a new idea that you need to get out into the world, you’re going to have to stretch those creative muscles and get comfortable being uncomfortable.
It's a tough world for the artist looking to stand out. When it comes to uniqueness, it's hard to think of something that hasn't been done to some extent or the other. It really, truly seems like everything already has. I'd like to preface the bulk of my article and say that no, I don't believe everything has been done before. I'm sure there are lots of ideas that have never come to fruition. What are they?
As you cull your most recent wedding, you might be asking yourself, “When do I go black & white?” Throughout my career, I have displayed both color and black & white photos in my portfolio. I enjoy black & white images, because there’s simply something different to them.
I really believe that learning to properly use a bounced flash will give you a much greater degree of freedom when you are on a shoot. In venues that allow for it, you will be instantly prepared for any lighting condition and will no longer be shackled to the off-camera flash or sent scrambling for one to mount to the camera.
When working with your clients, there are a few things that might seem elementary and like common sense, and yet they are critical to your overall success: being upbeat and friendly, being professional, being on time, being prepared, being well-dressed, having a photographic vision or direction (even when following a creative approach), and knowing your equipment inside and out.
We’ve all seen countless portraits or headshots where the subject is obviously uncomfortable. They’ve got a disconnected look in their eyes, or they are just not present, or they are trying too hard not to try too hard. What went wrong? Just as a film director would speak with an actor on set, we are responsible for the performance of our subject. We must maintain awareness of how our clients feel if we want to direct them to be more present.