Friday, April 25, 2008

Impressing clients Vs. Impressing photographers

Today I got a phone call from a senior client's mom. She was ecstatic about how wonderful her daughter's senior portraits turned out. She went into detail and it was obvious, she was REALLY moved by my work.


This is a post for all of my fellow photographers, especially the new ones (which I still totally consider myself). Sometimes when you finally take the leap and start meeting other photographers and getting involved in the community, as invigorating as it can be at first, it can also become OVERWHELMING. Photography starts out for most of us as a love of capturing the moment, and your friends and family say your good, and it's full of warm fuzzies. But you have questions. You want to get better. Then, when you get brave and go out into "the world" of photography, it feels like your back down at the bottom again, feeling like you have so much to learn and you'll never know enough. For me, it's workflow, Lightroom, CS3, pocketwizards, ExpoDiscs, softboxes, Raw vs. Jpeg, Canon, Nikon, should I get the 85mm 1.8 or the 70-200 2.8? Presets, Actions, Vibration Reduction ahhhh!!!


And the more you look, the more you find work from other photographers that takes...your...breath.............Away.


Sigh.


At a David Jay workshop I went to in 2007, he said "What impresses clients is totally different than what impresses other photographers."


Think about that for a minute. Think about what your clients (even if for now, it's your friends, your family, your baby, and your cat) say to you, or say about you. Pay attention to it! It is the root, the core of your business potential. No matter what, if they are happy, consider that a SUCCESS. Whether things went exactly 'right' or not is irrelevant. Focus on the feedback. Give yourself permission to revel in it, if it's good, and if there's a little hint of something that needs improvement, focus THERE first. Take your learning one step at a time. Professional equipment is great; it does help, but strive to take the BEST shots you can with WHAT you've GOT! So many of your clients just want a BEAUTIFUL shot. Now, there is a wide range of "beautiful" shots to create! You might be disappointed because it's not at the top of the range as YOU see it, but that doesn't make it ANY LESS of a treasure for your happy client. Consider this, if you are constantly looking back at pictures you took six months or a year ago and think they aren't as good as what you are shooting now, that's GREAT! That means you're improving at a fast pace! But those images are no less valued to your clients. If they love them, you've changed someone's life in a small way, and that is something to feel AWESOME about.

My wedding season officially begins in two weeks, and I have the highest expectations of myself that I've ever had going into a wedding season. It's a little nerve wracking! I can't wait to get back into the rhythm of wedding shooting, I can't wait to see what I'm going to capture for people, and I hope I capture it even better than last year. But this phone call I got this afternoon helped me remember that what is most important is that we stop to enjoy how far we've come, how many people we've touched, and have gratitude for where we are RIGHT NOW in our journey. . . .

10 comments:

Abby said...

I love reading your posts Julie! I have my first two shoots this weekend and I'm SO excited, and also really nervous! I just hope they are happy with the results :)

anita said...

such a good point. thanks for sharing julie. i definitely get easily sucked into viewing my images through other photographers' eyes (or how I think they might see it) versus my clients'. And yeah, it's so rewarding to hear clients gush about your work... it totally lifts me up to know I've created something special for them.

Tamara B. said...

I really liked this post. I often forget to enjoy the moment. I'm always thinking about how "it" could have been better. You gave great advice and I'm going to try to keep it in mind and maybe pass it along to my friends.

Thank you.

Misty said...

Thank you for that! I needed to hear it! =)

Amanda Mays said...

Great advise julie thank you! I take to heart what your saying and will remember that next time I get caught in the overwhelming hype of how to be a "good" photographer! I totally relate to your list of things that make your mind race!

Thanks for the hair comment! That was really nice of you!

Jen MacNiven said...

I couldn't agree with you more. I think this is one of the reasons I've be timid about getting my website to go live. Trying to impress other photographers and not feeling 'good enough' in their eyes vs. what the clients would like or appreciate. I'm going LIVE this weekend! PROMISE!
Jen
btw...I had so much fun last night with everyone...can't wait to do that again.

Michelle said...

Thanks for sharing that, such an important thing to hear for those of us just starting in our journey.

Shutterstar said...

Thanks Julie! I really appreciate you, and how you take your precious time to mentor us new photographers. I feel so blessed to have met you. You have taught me so much! Thanks for the photos I LOVE THEM!

Carol said...

Thanks for the encouragement Julie! I have my first paid family portrait shoot this month and I'm getting so nervous and excited! Thanks for the great perspective, and for taking the time to encourage the newbies :)

Ashley Julian said...

just stumbled upon your blog! great advice. i've had a couple of friends totally encourage me and tell me how great the photos are and how much talent i have only to think in the back of my head "yeah, but what do you know about photography? if you only knew how much i don't know."
can i post this on my site to share with my other newbie photog friends? i will totally give you credit ;)