We’re living in the age of instant gratification. We text, we tweet, we abbreviate. Our spelling has become absurd, phonetically attacking a conversation for the sole purpose of packing a full paragraph into just 140 characters. Photographers have become “togs” & sum things R gr8 2 reed but others rn't.
We eat on the run, multi-tasking and getting a little work done so we can justify stepping away from the biz at lunch time. MacDonalds has two lines for the drive-in window and we can order combo meals and the decision-making process becomes even faster. We've got speed on our side when it comes to the barrage of possibilities for our low nutrition intake of fast food.
New photographers jump into the market thinking because they understand Photoshop they’re perfectly capable of being a professional photographer. They shoot with wild abandon and a mindset of, “No problem. I’ll fix it later in Photoshop!” The truth is, no matter what your skill set, if it's a lousy image there’s one fundamental rule of nature, “You can’t buff a turd!”
The reality is you can’t Tweet quality. There are no shortcuts to creating outstanding images. There are no shortcuts to building a relationship with your clients. There are no shortcuts to great marketing. All of this leaves me with one sentiment – it’s time for many of you to just slow down!
If you’re one of those shortcut, overnight, buy a camera and just add Photoshop photographers, here’s where you’re missing some incredible opportunities:
- You’re doing yourself a huge disservice and leaving a lot of great revenue on the table. A great series of images shown to an excited client has the potential to create not only more sales from the original job, but additional sales as your client shows your work to their friends.
- You’re doing your client a disservice, by not “being all you can be”. Yeah, it’s the US Army’s slogan, but it’s so dead-on, for every profession. You can’t compromise on being the best at what you do. When you present images that exceed a client’s expectations the excitement and goodwill you’ll be a part of will take your pride and theirs to a completely new level.
- You’re slowly undermining the credibility of an entire industry. I remember a story over a year ago on the local news. It was a consumer protection story where a woman wrote to the TV station for help getting her wedding images. Look, mistakes happen and there are always extenuating circumstances, but when what should be a quietly resolved customer service issue gets so out of control the local news media gets involved, the business entity just didn’t do their job! Think about the number of people who watched the story and got a bad impression about professional photographers. Even worse, think about the credibility boost the story just gave to all the Uncle Harrys and all that gear they just bought!
- You’re making it harder to build your business than it has to be. Anybody can get their first customer. The trick is to get the second, third and fourth customers along with getting that first customer to come back. Being a successful photographer is about building trust with your clients. When that trust is violated the entire model collapses. On the other hand, when you exceed a client’s expectations you’ve got a customer for life, not to mention one more member of your word-of-mouth publicity machine.
Okay, so let’s end this little rant this morning with a few suggestions...
Slow it down and pay attention to the quality of your images and the quality of your relationships.
Build your business one client at a time and treat every client as if they were the only person who was ever going to pay you for your skill set as a photographer.
Focus on being the very best photographer with a mindset that Resource Magazine wants to do a story about you, but you told them to wait until you had the images you wanted!
And as always, NEVER compromise!
You’re part of an amazing industry and there’s help every step of the way, providing you respect and love the craft. And trust me, if you respect the craft, there is no way to describe the return on your investment!
Illustration Credit: © corund - Fotolia.com