Archive for February 2010
I recently lost a job based on price. I had already provided the “bro hookup” discount since the client was friends with my wife. The client was able to find a photographer willing to provide more for less. Does it make sense to lose a sizable job over an additional 20% discount? (in this case yes) What’s that “bird in the hand” saying?
The experience got me thinking about why you should hire me. My first inclination was to say that great photography is the reason to hire me but that’s not enough and that’s not even the main reason.
Hire me to shoot your wedding, children, engagement session, portrait, head shot, your home, your new design, _______(fill in the blank) because:
1. Because you like me as a person and you want to do business with me. For most photography projects I spend a fair amount of time with my clients. It could be intimate situations like an expectant mother’s first maternity photo shoot, visiting the home of new parents to take pictures of their newborn, spending a couple days shooting a project for an interior designer or spending a day with a bride, groom and their closest friends and family. I could be the best photographer in the world, but if you don’t like me, don’t want me around or don’t trust me, the quality of my work doesn’t matter.
2. Hire me because you believe in, and trust in, my ability as a photographer. I’m not a “wedding photographer”. I’m not a “family portrait photographer”. I’m not an “architectural photographer”. I’m a photographer that happens to shoot all of the previous mentioned types of photography. There’s enough of my work online for people to get an accurate view of the quality of my work, my ability to think on my feet and the quality of the finished product I deliver to my clients.
Want to know how I picked my wedding photographer? I looked through a box a proofs. While sifting through hundreds of proofs from my friend Josh’s wedding the main thing that stood out with Selima was consistency. The great majority of the images were solid, and as a whole they were great. I encourage and often show my potential wedding clients the proofs from the weddings I have shot and tell them this is what you can expect. I’ve heard so many stories from friends and clients who were duped into hiring a photographer based on the 20 images they saw on a website.
3. Hire me because you want something different. Hire me to shoot your wedding because of my fashion work. Hire me to shoot your architectural work because of the unique images I shot of your neighbors kids. Hire me because you know that whatever circumstances I am put in I can get the shot.
I’m not sure where money and cost factor in. It’s an important factor but not the most important. I made a decision early on not to compete on price. If you want to price shop photography there are a ton of photographer’s who will compete on price. Creativity and art are subjective. The cost and perceived value is up to you.
The other day I had the pleasure of photographing five attorneys at their office in Century City. The words “conference room” had me thinking of a large space with plenty of room for lights and stands. I was mistaken. This was another situation where I had to make it work with what I was given.
Why so much gear for a simple executive portrait?
My first concern was that the first two scheduled attorneys wore glasses and I had to make sure I couldn’t see my lights reflected in their glasses. This is the set-up I ended up with; I changed it slightly for the other three attorneys.
The Norman soft box is my main light and the grid helps me keep the light off the backdrop.
The SB26 next to the paper adds a little light to the back of the subjects head.
The shadows were too dark camera right so I added the Quantum in a small softbox outside the room firing through the window.
I wanted a little more fill coming from the direction of the camera so I shot another small strobe towards the white bounce taped to the wall.
It took me about an hour to unload, set-up and test the lights. It took 22 minutes to make all five executive portraits.
Over the past several weeks I’ve had the pleasure of working with two different models. One is an established actress and model with a book full of magazine tear sheets. The other is a 19 year old with natural talent that is just beginning to explore her potential.
I once had a head shot client remark that the beauty retouching I performed on her photo was like great plastic surgery without the side affects. I took that as a compliment. My goal with beauty retouching is to make my clients look amazing yet hold in the reigns enough so that they don’t look plastic or fake. I’d like to think that my retouched photos help my clients look like they’ve had a month long stay at a spa; well rested, rejuvenated, refreshed and maybe a tad younger and in tip-top shape.
Agnesse was in town promoting a movie she produced and acted in. She’s got a ton of experience and her book of tear sheets was impressive. Let’s just say she’s thirty-somethin. We wanted to go for a clean beauty-type portrait.
Kaya and I set out to experiment and have some fun. With most new models, and with my clients that don’t have a lot of experience in front of a camera, I tend to start off slow and count the first set as a practice run. This was just a few shots into our “practice run”. With most portraits my goal is for the client to look past themselves when looking at the results and see the amazing photo that everyone else sees.