Archive for Photography business
You know all of those leaves and flower petals that fall off your stems as you use them? What do you do with them?
I don’t usually take the time to reset them or glue them back on. I toss loose pieces in a small bucket. They make great bits to scatter on the floor of a set for children.
These loose leaves add texture and interest to a normally flat backdrop floor.
Thinking more about the concept of putting the customer first and being more empathetic, I had a recent experience that occurred to me might be a good example of what some of our customers might feel like.
I have a horse for sale that was a difficult and emotional decision for me. The night I dropped her off to be with the trainer who is going to be her agent, he was so busy trying to impress me with all of his other horses in training. He was so busy bragging, and maybe thinking he was going to sell me another horse right away that he totally missed what I really needed from him. I really didn’t hear a word he said about the other great horses, I was in a daze, I was stressed. I was selling my sweet, funny horse and I was sad. His mistake was not focusing on me and being helpful.
This experience got me thinking, do we as photographers do that to our customers? Possibly. Do we forget they are nervous about their photo session? Absolutely! I wonder if we are so busy being salespeople and photographers that we might be overloading our subjects with too much information about us. We get real busy showing all of our images, our awards, and all of our products we offer. Or maybe we simply do this at the wrong time of the process.
I really hope that a portrait experience is not as emotionally draining as selling something you really like or even love. But in reality, for some people it might be. They have clothes to pick out, schedules to coordinate, and maybe power struggles within the family to deal with. We might win bonus points in their eyes if we can concentrate more on them than ourselves.
Do you have a similar example from being a customer somewhere yourself? I would like to hear about it.
2012 Barb Gordon Photo Coach
You can add a great deal of artistry and interest to your images by using other f-stops that are available. I actually do know a professional photographer who only uses F8. Really!
It is especially easy outdoors to shoot at wide open settings like this image that was shot at f4. Of course you will want to use manual settings and take a meter reading like a pro. (If you are unsure about how to do this, I offer a manual you can find out more http://barbgordonphotocoach.com/products/beyond-the-manual-beyond-the-photography-instruction-manual )
The boy’s mom said, “Oh, I like the background.” the minute she saw this portrait. She also ordered this pose. Why did it seem so interesting to her? It looked different to her because F8 is close to the amount of depth of field of the human eye so we are very used to that. Anything more detailed or less detailed will get our attention.
So to add variety to your photo sessions, use different f-stops for a variety in the looks you show your customers. It just might increase your sales too!
Why use a flash outdoors? I am sure you have seen many images where people’s eyes were dull and lifeless. Eyes need a catch light, that little reflection that makes them look alive.
Many photographers underexpose a subject’s face especially with outdoor portraits. A reflector is a good answer when you are working with one or two subjects and you have an assistant to hold the reflector but when you have a family group you need something more.
I have tried small flash units held off to the side of the camera but they never had enough power and the recycle time was so slow. Keeping them stocked with batteries was yet another chore.
This little unit is small, light weight, and still enough power to add sparkle to a family group’s eyes.
I got the green one at http://www.paulcbuff.com/b400.php (And might I add that they have great customer service!)
As a business person, I am constantly aware of other business’ branding, packaging, special offers, and marketing messages. What better way to learn and apply the same techniques to my own business. I am going to challenge you to start doing the same.
A couple of days ago, I received my membership kit in the mail from a world renowned horse trainer, Clinton Anderson. And what I unpacked truly reflected the saying “under promise and over deliver”.
I knew I was going to get a T-shirt because the website asked me what size I wanted. I knew I would be receiving a DVD or a really thick printed magazine each month. (Everything this guy does is done top notch.) What surprised and thrilled me was all of the extra high quality items that came as well. What extra items he sent isn’t exactly the point. Not everyone would be impressed with a mouse pad with Clinton’s photo on it, a branded baseball cap, a sturdy branded tote bag, two extra DVDs, and a celebration magazine of the first five years of his membership club. The point is I was wowed with all of the surprises. The unexpected. The gifts.
Keep in mind that these extras where not cheap little toss ins either. These were very well branded and nice quality items packed neatly in a useful, clever tote. An ink pen and post it notes with a company logo on it would not have the same effect!
So, what can we learn from this package on my doorstep? To look for ways to surprise and delight our customers. Do something unexpected that will be remarkable. Wow them so much that they can not help but tell others what they have experienced.
I can not tell you at this time that I have the answer on exactly what to do. I am still exploring this myself. I suppose this is one of those constantly evolving projects. What I am hoping to encourage you to do is to start looking for ways to delight your clients and put it into practice.
Look how excited I was about my membership package that I shared it with all of you! And if any of you are horse people, look how much mileage Clinton Anderson got with his impressive membership kit through me so far!
© 2012 Barb Gordon Photo Coach
Today I looked at my subscriber list numbers. There were 80 people who have unsubscribed to my newsletter since I started it.
Not everyone is a good customer for you.
First of all, what is a target market? A target market is the group of like minded people (psychographics) that can afford you, can get to you, and they want a certain product or service you provide (demographics).
As a photographer, I am sure you have a certain target market. You might want to be known for high school senior portraits, newborns, or weddings. Each of these photographic styles would appeal to its own unique target market. You would not send a family with a newborn a wedding promotion or a bride-to-be a high school senior brochure.
If a person does not fit in your target market, they probably are not likely to purchase from you. Right?
So here is where a fresh look at “rejection” might help you. Look at the uninterested people as checked off of your list. These people do not want or need what you have, so you are free to move on to those that possibly do.
I no longer feel bad about seeing an unsubscriber. I don’t take it personally anymore. I look at the fact that they did not fit the profile of being the perfect potential customer in the first place. I only have time to work with interested prospects so the smaller the list the better.
So instead of looking at rejection as rejection, consider rejection as a filter instead. Make room for the good customers in your life and your list.
© 2012 Barb Gordon Photo Coach