Saturday, 1 September 2012

Photography - Adding Value

Before we really start and get into what adding value to your photos is, I want to make a point that there is no such thing as 'a professional artist'. This is an oxymoron and you should try your best to realize this. You're either a professional or an artist at one time. When you have a great idea and you want to experiment having fun all the way and then take all your time to make it as you want to have it, that's your 'art time'. That's when you feel free to invent and experiment. That's when you can just scratch it all off and start anew. However, going pro means dealing with what someone else wants, tells you to do, compromise, deadlines etc. so at the end of the day you get properly reimbursed for your trouble. And this doesn't just apply for photography.
How do we add value to our photos? Where do we look for adding value? I'll tell you right now we are not talking about exposure, ISO, lenses or sensors. We are looking at the service and the person with the camera.
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First of all we, as photographers (not artists), work with people and people need attention. People need to feel special and looked after. Photos that we take remain in time associated with a special moment. We need to take pride and responsibility for capturing this moment. From the first contact we need to stay professional and listen to what we're told so we can make notes and do what's best.
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Second, we need to maintain proper etiquette and set of manners from the start to the delivering of photos. Remember, be polite, well-dressed, do not rush your clients, give them time to think, listen and make suggestions later.
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Third, look as presentable as possible without overdoing it.
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Fourth, do not be late. Artists are late. Professionals get there before the client does.
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Fifth, work with reasonable deadlines. Say exactly when the shoot starts, ends, and how long the client will have to wait for the photos. People want to see their wedding photos before their kids marry. Your clients will appreciate a job well done within a reasonable time frame more that just nice photos at some point.

Now we have some info about how to add value to your photos from the first contact. How about the shoot?
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First, get there on time to prepare the equipment and make sure everything works.
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Second, check again.
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Third, meet the clients and give them time to prepare. Think about giving them time to prepare beforehand so it's all in the estimate and you won't have to cut the time for shooting short.
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Fourth, be polite and explain every pose assuring you maintain a distance from the client.
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Fifth, tell a neutral joke or two to break the ice and make them smile.
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Finally, when the shoot is over thank your clients and confirm the time frame again so there are no misunderstandings.

Delivery.
First, go ahead and make sure you make it on time with processing the shots. That's why people have schedules and reminders in writing.
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Second, deliver with the same manner you've started the job. Clients like consistency. That's why they will recommend you and come back.
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Third and final, throw in something extra. Do additional printouts, add a more artsy style to some of the photos or simply call the client and tell them the photos will be ready sooner. Be creative about throwing in something extra but don't overdo it and don't do the same thing twice because people will start seeing it as a part of the price anyway.

If, by any chance, I missed something please comment in the field below.

All the best,

Kamen Kunchev