EYE ON BUSINESS / That’s a nice camera!

Hello everyone! Today’s Eye on Business post is coming to you from Jodee Ball, THE shutter button-presser for JP Ball Photography.

Today we are talking about how to uphold the reputation of professional photography when conversing with clients.

If you’ve been working as a professional photographer for more than a month, chances are you have heard a client say, “That’s a really nice camera. Wish I had one of those so I could take pictures like you.”

Within a few words, you are diminished to the person who could afford a “nice” camera and knows where to press the shutter. Ouch.

When we hear those words, our inner censor jumps at the chance to tear us down. Those “mean girl” voices in your head start murmuring… “See? You really aren’t a professional photographer”, “Anybody can do this job”, “Maybe it is just nice equipment” and my censor’s personal favorite, “You suck at photography.”

Or maybe you start to get angry and want to post sarcastic statuses on your social media business pages. Surely, those snarky statuses won’t offend potential and current clients. *cough, cough*

Stop. Just say no to defensive statuses. Your well-meaning client did not intend to offend you.

Use statements similar to the above as doors of opportunity to sell yourself, your work and uphold the reputation of the photography profession!

Immerse yourself into “informal” conversations with your clients. Be honest and be humble.

1. Share your personal story. I know when I first started out in this business, I thought I needed the most expensive equipment. I spent way too much money initially on equipment that I didn’t know how to use and, in some cases, didn’t even need! Moral of the story: I learned quickly that equipment is only as good as the one who possesses it. My bank account suffered the consequences of that lesson. And so did my ego.

It took me years to learn how to shoot semi-decent photos. I studied books,  blogs, other photographers, and forums. I spent hours learning and practicing. I continue to invest my time into learning.

When sharing your own experiences, show your excitement for learning new techniques that clients will love! Let them get a sense of the passion and energy you put into your art!

2. Share what photography REALLY is. It’s light, light… oh and light. Share with clients how you use the light and encourage them to try some basic lighting setups when using their own cameras. You’re not giving secrets away by doing this, but rather building a reputation of one who is willing to teach. They will likely try this at home and get the picture. Pun intended. Could not resist.

When your clients have a photography question in the future, you will most likely be the one they come to with questions. You want this. You will no longer be looked at as the one who pushes the little round button, but the one who can teach others about photography.

3. Share what happens after the session. Taking the pictures is just part of what you do. Now is the time to tell the client what happens post session. Do you edit images for wall art? Do you prepare a slideshow presentation for an in-studio ordering session? Do you offer graphic, custom design work? What products do you design? This is a great time to WOW the client with your capabilities and your talent!

4. Share your thoughts about the profession. It’s okay, and beneficial, to be very honest with your clients. Tell them you work hard to uphold the reputation of professional photography. Tell them you spend many hours studying and practicing so that you can master your art. Tell them you value your clients and strive to take care of their needs and wants.

Then tell yourself that they must already know this because they chose YOU as their photographer. Not one of the other five photographers on your street. They chose you.

Remember, the scissors do not make the stylist, the paintbrush does not make the artist, and the camera does not make the photographer. But you already know that. Happy shooting!