When you are starting out in photography, you can't learn everything right away. It takes time, patience, and a lot of experience. Trying and failing will happen. It's how you grow from your starting point that defines your success.
Here are 6 things I have learned over the last 10 years of being in business.
1. The customer is not always right, but you do want to keep them happy
I really dislike that saying, "The customer is always right". They aren't. They can't possibly know every step of our process and what it takes to run a photography business, unless they have ran one themselves. And technically, that goes for any customer or client. Unless you are as lucky as my husband, and always seems to pick a product that the staff has failed to change a sale sticker on, and when it rings up full price, he says no way...check the shelf it says XX% off. Then, OK, the customer is right.
There are times when the communication hasn't been the best. We get so caught up in our process that it becomes second nature to us. We sometimes forget to educate our clients on the important things. And it can result in an angry customer. It's easier and cheaper to keep a reccuring client happy, than it is to market to new ones. Do whatever you can, within reason, to keep the peace.
2. This isn't your clients life
Don't rely on your clients to come to you to get photos taken. You NEED to go to them. This is OUR life. We live it, we breathe it, it pays us, we get by. This is not THEIR life. They are not thinking about photography every single minute of every single day. Don't wait for them to find you. Go out and look for them. Are you friends with them on social media? Share in their joys. If they bought a new house, congratulate them! When they get moved in, offer them a discounted session for new artwork to hang in their new house.
3. You can't do everything
Our businesses are our babies. We have nurtured it, and watched it grow. You call on someone to help you out with your real kids right? There is no reason you can't delegate the things you aren't good at in your business. Its unhealthy not to ask for help. When you are forced to do something you don't want to do, you procrastinate, stress about it, and overthink it. If you need to hire a social media VA, then hire one. If you LOVE the picture taking process, but hate the editing part, then hire an editor. Its ok. Your stress level will thank you for it.
4. Don't compare
This one is huge. If you read nothing else, read this one. Photographers are artists. And as artists, we are, our WORST critic. Comparing your work to someone else's will only hurt you and your business worse than any unhappy client could. Focus on you, your business, and what you are creating.
5. Under promise/over deliver
It's the simplest strategy you can do for your business. But it makes the biggest impact on your clients. When you pay for something and you are expecting only what you paid for, but you end up getting so much more....it's an amazing feeling! You feel valued. A client that feels valued will return again and again. As well as sing you praises to all their friends and family.
6. Try equipment before you buy it
Yes absolutely you should ask questions about equipment to photographer friends, and Facebook groups. But don't JUST take their word for it. What works for someone, may not work for you. If you have a local camera shop like I have near me, Creve Coeure Camera, or even Best Buy, go in and see if they have what you are looking for. Try it out as well as ask the associates questions. If there isn't a camera store nearby, you can always rent from places like Borrow Lenses and Lens Rentals .
Beginner or experienced, what have you learned in this career that I didn't list above? Tell me in the comments!
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