A couple of weeks ago I suggested I might start a new feature, Sarcastic Saturday. Well, here we are on a Saturday morning, and it only took me a few seconds to know exactly what I was going to write about.
I'm frustrated by the way, so many of you undersell your services and products. It's as if you cut school on all the days they talked about adjectives. You describe your services with all the passion of heading to a root canal! And, if corporal punishment were allowed in schools today, and you were a student, you wouldn't be able to sit down for a week after the paddling you deserve.
So, let's raise the bar on how you describe everything you do. It's not an album, but the first family heirloom of a new family. They're not proofs if you're still using paper proofs, but unique custom-printed memories. Let's talk about your skill turning intangible moments into tangible memories you can share for years to come. Let's make big prints family fine art heirlooms to be handed down to future generations.
I did a podcast last year with Tim Walden, and he talked about the fact that he and Beverly don't just do portrait sessions, they create an experience. He also talked about how they attach a certificate of authenticity on the back of each portrait that's dated and signed. They're not providing the client with a portrait but a unique piece of fine art. Seriously, look at two of their images I grabbed from their website gallery. They're stunning and unlike anything normally shown on most portrait artists' websites. When you talk to Tim or Beverly you can hear the passion in their voices as artists.
Let's stop thinking about your website as "just my website"...it's the gateway to your heart and skills as an artist. Oops, there's another one - how about stop calling yourself a photographer and use the word artist? Joe Buissink signs one big print for each client. He signs it because he wants them to think of him as an artist and in turn, it's not a photograph, but a work of art.
My point is so pathetically simple this morning - be proud of what you do and show it with the quality of your images and the words you use to describe them. With the exception of modern medicine, there is no group of people who have given society more than photographers. You're the magicians who capture people's most private and memory-making moments every day. It's not about your gear, but the way you see the world with your eyes AND your heart.
It's time to start crowing a little, and you can't do it being a minimalist in your use of language or the excitement and pride you should be showing with every conversation.
Let's make your English teachers from the past proud!
Images copyright Tim and Beverly Walden. All rights reserved.
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.