The fun of social media, which I've written about before, is the "social" part. Meet a relatively new friend, who's very quickly becoming a great buddy, Steffi Smith. I "met" Steffi in Facebook Wedding Photographers and later she agreed to help us as an administrator in Advanced Wedding Photographers. In fact, that's her ring shot in the header on the AWP page.
Besides being an outstanding artist, she's very focused on giving back to the community and that includes being helpful to new and old photographers alike in several of the different forums. She doesn't believe in just standing on the sidelines watching the world pass by, but likes to be involved.
My post from yesterday about the basic ingredients of success still being the same, prompted her to finally share a thought she mentioned that's been on her mind for a long time. She sent it to me and I immediately asked for permission to share it with you.
If you're rushing the process, including building relationships with your clients then you're missing one of the great gifts of being an artist and Steffi definitely walks the talk. Here's the link to some of her favorite albums.
In this day and age of instant gratification everything has to go fast or at least that is what some photographers think.
Did the old masters in photography really push their work through their labs at the speed of lightning? I don't think so........ Somehow it seems to me that all this rush in post-processing and album designs invites for a less then perfect outcome.
I visit photography forums all the time and one question I hear all the time is, "How can I do this faster?" It should be, "How can I do this better?" Not too long ago somebody requested information on a program to design wedding albums and several people answered and suggested programs and the answer always contained these words...."I can do an album in no time."
Being a photographer who designs her albums without the help of such a program I of course got curious and asked to see such an album from some of the photographers that made the recommendation. One of the women actually told me "Sure I will show you, but it is just another album." That statement sent up a red flag.
"Just another album" ....To me each album I create is special and designed with love. After all, the photos I will put in the album are of each couple's special day and I believe the album should reflect the love they have. Granted, it might take me a couple of hours longer than if I used one of those speedy programs, but how could I justify giving my clients something less then perfect after they put their trust in me and our company?
These days photographers are everywhere and the only way we as professionals can successfully book weddings is to make our work stand out from those who think speed is everything. People who are successful in this business are the ones that put quality before speed.
As I always say, "What are a few more hours, if the end product is beautiful and the clients are super happy with your work?" Word of mouth is still the best advertising and if a client is happy she/he will show off your album proudly and that is how you'll book more weddings.
Not long ago I sent one of my brides her completed album and she opened it up at her place of work and one of her coworkers, who had been married about the same time as she was, said to her, "How beautiful, I wish my album looked like that!" That statement says it all............. Yes, taking a little bit of extra time equals money in a way, but think how much it would cost you to advertise.......I think in the end getting a friend or friends of a bride loving your work is far more profitable in the long run. It will give you far more exposure and interest then any commercial advertising you could ever do.
So next time when you cover a wedding and do an album, remember all the beautiful photos you took during the wedding will never have the same impact if the album you give to your clients is just thrown together. Let the love for your work show on each and every page. Maybe not everybody will see your work, but trust me when I say the extra effort will get you more bookings in the long run.
All images copyright Steffi Smith. All rights reserved.