No, this post is not about your experience as a photographer. I’ve seen photographers who do just as good as a 25 year photographer and they are only 2 months in it. Some of the most successful wedding photographers right now are within all under 6 years professionally. No, this post is about the experience you are providing for the people you are working with? Whether it’s a wedding, senior, family, baby, and so on. Why would they want to book you and spend money, sometimes good money, on your pictures?
Is it because you print on the best paper available? Because you provide the lowest price around? Because you have the best and newest equipment and computer software? Whatever the case, none of these matter. Why do I say this? Because no matter what you charge, no matter what paper you print on, no matter what equipment you have, the experience will out weigh this far more. And the experience is more than just taking there pictures, so much more. No they aren’t paying you to just hang out, but come one we aren’t a retail store photography studio? You go to a retail store to get pictures, what do you get? Typically a VERY cheap price, but you get the same backdrop as a thousand people before you. We live in a generation now that being different is what it’s all about, no one wants to look like the next, drive the same car as the other, etc. I know, I’ve had these same feelings. You know the situation, you buy a new short, and sport it around town and just around the corner you spot someone else with the same exact shirt, or someone tells you, “I have that same shirt.” Chances are that shirt is never worn again and probably ends in the back of the drawer.
Same goes for photography. For the most part people want pictures that are going to be like no other. But like I said, it goes far beyond taking pictures. How do you talk to them? Do you meet with them and jump right into business talking about photography, or do you get to know them and just hang out for a bit? At the session are you strictly taking pictures, or are you joking with them and laughing with them? If you fulfill your own orders, how do you present the pictures to them? Do they get their pictures loosely or are you packaging it up nicely? I think even retail stores at least package their pictures.
Think about this for a minute? What are you doing for the people you work with? Are you booking them, taking their pictures, giving them their order and waving good bye? Or do you provide a full experience for them that gives them a reason to have their pictures taken? Like I said at the top, the experience you provide for them is going to far outweigh price, time, equipment, etc. When word of mouth starts to spread around that you are awesome to work with because you treat them like you’ve been friends all your life, or the way you package your prints is better than the way your mom used to wrap your Christmas presents, or you just talk with them, you don’t sell to them like a mall aisle salesman, you just hang out. THAT is why people will go with you.
In closing think of it like this (and this goes for weddings, seniors, and all other types of sessions); Lets say you decide one day that you want a new purse or wallet. You go to the discount store and check out the purse/wallets, most times there hard mass amounts shoved on the shelves, some are sitting on the floor, a hundred people before you have touched them, tried them on, opened them, and just threw them down because they didn’t want them. NOW, lets say you go to Louis Vuitton to look at a purse/wallet, they are neatly and individually on the shelving, the people working there are not hounding you but rather helping you make a decision, and they will even provide you with a drink as you shop and just provide a great experience that way. When you see a purse/wallet you’d like to check out, they very delicately present it to you, and everything about the way they show it to you is delicate, because the thing they are showing you is top dollar. Granted a discount store purse/wallet is going to probably cost under $20 and a LV purse will run you about 2000 and a wallet about 500-600. But the experience and quality of the product you are getting from LV will far outweigh the discount store and be an experience that will make you want to come back. This is the approach I bring to my photography business, and I feel that any vendor for weddings, and even photographers of seniors, babies, families, etc should do the same. Are you?