Pride, Biblically speaking, refers to a belief that WE somehow know better than God.
Pride is the assumption that we can make decisions that CLASH with God’s desire and we’ll make it through happily and with great fortune.
In the business world the all-powerful being that we make all effort to please is the MARKETPLACE. Sure our ideas, reputation, and artistry have harvested much success, but lately we live in a ‘what have you done for me lately?’ society. I would even argue that it has become a ‘what have you done for me today?’ society and the burden falls on us to continue to please and wow our clients.
To remain relevant in our marketplace we must embrace the changing times. If we are not properly embracing the new world, this new marketplace, then our days are numbered. Not only must we embrace the marketplace, but we must control the future of our industry.
The future can be controlled through three distinct concepts:
ONLINE SHARING, HIGH FASHION IMAGERY, and PROFESSIONALISM.
These three items are too crucial to ignore. Despite your pride, you must realize that the marketplace is demanding that we adhere to these new concepts if we are to not only stay in business, but to grow our business
HIGH FASHION IMAGERY: Image is Everything (Sprite had It Right). High School Seniors, New Moms, and Brides are in search of the looks that will make them (or kids) appear as bright and glamorous as the faces that cover magazines. We need to prove to the marketplace that only We (The professionals) can make this brand of image.
Brick’n’Mortar #photogs can complain all we want about the BLOGRAPHERS (Photographers who have established a blog as a storefront and travel from homes to parks to railroad tracks for portrait sessions) but it would be more beneficial to just create & market looks they cannot replicate.
Go ahead and Ask yourself, what is the biggest disadvantage that a Blographer has?
Lighting? Backgrounds? Power outlet?
The key to distinguishing the professionals from the Blographers is to remind our clients just how important a studio can be.
(Blographers Don’t Bail Just Yet, Read On)
Nothing says this better than high impact, high octane, high fashion images. Use your lighting, sets, knowledge as you know you can. Let your *skill make the difference.
PRIDE SAYS: I can keep doing the same old looks & scenes and my clients will keep coming because they almost always have.
MARKETPLACE SAYS: We don’t see that much of a difference between you and a Blographer, with the exception of the whole “Blographers will take a *Starbucks giftcard as payment for prints; you’d want actual compensation” thing.
If you want to stand out, you must do something that no one else can do. Make them try to replicate it, all the while you’re working on your next looks.
*Blographers, as a capitalist and entrepreneur I admire what you’re doing. You are following your dreams and you have a passion, that is great! The two elements you should focus on here are what could be considered offensive. Firstly, I don’t have the power to offend you, only you have the power to be offended. Secondly, all I am challenging here is that if a BnM photographer is complaining about blographers moving in on his market then he/she must show the difference in quality. If you (the blographer who hasn’t bailed) are as good as you should be, you can compete and challenge and that’s just the rule of business.
The other complaint would be the Starbucks gift card, but you know it’s true. My challenge to you, if this is your dream, then follow it in a respectable manor by actually seeking something of value for your work. If you’re going to go out and work, sweat, focus, set lighting, create beautiful images and accept a gift card for your work you’re only selling yourself out.
ONLINE SHARING: The two largest age groups to dominate facebook are teens (high school) and moms (newer). The most common facebook practice is ‘creeping’ through pictures. (This means that they are snooping on folks’ pages and looking at their pictures without the person ever knowing). The most popular aspect of facebook remains the photo albums. If you are not making the connection that having gorgeous photos on facebook is not only important to the person, but to the photographer whose customized logo rests upon those portraits, then you might have a Pride issue.
Photographers will spend a week touching up 2 images for a local bridal magazine because our name is going to be typed beneath a picture that most likely very, very few future brides are ever going to read. Yet, when hundreds of moms and/or high school friends (all true potential clients) are going to get a good long look online at our work, we deny them the right?
Telling a senior she can’t put her senior picture on facebook is not going to stop her, it is going to make her scan it (poorly possibly) and plaster it up there without any trace of who is responsible for the beautiful work.
If we know where they’re going, let’s go there, be there, and have a beautiful presence there without red tape. How many times have you complained about all the red tape in life, only to put up red tape for your clients?
PRIDE SAYS: I don’t want my images all over facebook. It makes them look cheap and they should have to pay extra to put them up there.
MARKETPLACE SAYS: I understand why you’re hesitant, but I want them there for everyone to see. If you won’t give me digital files for Facebook, I’ll make them myself. If you give them to me, sized, cropped, and stamped with your logo specifically for facebook…I’ll put them right up for my hundreds of friends to see and talk about.
Choose your stamp carefully. Put it in a place that isn’t ruining the image, but not crop-out-able either. Put the year (age/class of) in the stamp to ad incentiveto keep it cropped in.
ADDITIONALLY, Size the images around 2×3 at 72. too small to print, but look nice online. Also, don’t just give them one image. Multiple images leads to longer presence on the ever changing profile of the average high school senior / new mom.
PROFESSIONALISM: If we want to remind clients why the upstart down the street isn’t going to last, it cannot be done with your words, but with the utmost in professionalism.
Adjusting to the times, understanding new wants and needs, and always maintaining organization, proper lighting, and a friendly business attitude are essential elements for establishing dominance of your market. Starting a studio is easy now, in fact it’s too easy, leading many upstarts to make the same mistakes. Many will take on too much business: churches, pets, communion formals, proms, seniors, realtors, santa, easter bunny, passports, preschool, album covers, rallies, etc. until they are over run with too many petty orders to keep up. Having strong systems, courteous staff, on time delivery, and never asking for more business than you can handle with quality, requires and exudes professionalism.
PRIDE SAYS: I understand professionalism, I’ve been in business 20 years. I don’t need to make any changes. So what if I get a little careless, no one will know.
MARKETPLACE SAYS: I want to come to you. I think my friends will too. I need a great experience to take back to them and remind them that going with a reputation has its benefits.
I don’t really care who you are if you aren’t competent, on time, and courteous. You let me down I’m bad mouthing you everywhere I go.
You are in this business because you love it, you say you’re a professional photographer but that means so much more than getting paid for a picture. Being the best businessperson your clients see in a week has only positive results for you and your company.
PRIDE IN ACTION: I spoke with some relatives today who were trying to rent out an apartment. Not ones for technology, they asked that I assist in creating their ‘craigslist’ ad for the place.
I wanted to upload some pictures, they had none.
I asked where a prospect can email an inquiry about the place. They declined that option.
In their pride they responded with, “If they can’t pick up a phone and call, we don’t want them!”
My response was, “Well good luck renting to anyone under 40!”
Online is how we shop, sell, buy, talk, search, and interact…if you aren’t there, you just aren’t….4 weeks, not one call….
Well hey, if anyone is thinking of moving to Pittsburgh, let me know. Especially if you’re interested in renting out a place you’ve never seen and with a landlord you must get on a phone for even the smallest questions.
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Next up, my favorite, ENVY