by Guest Contributor Sarah Grace
Fight to the Death! Only One will be Victor! May the Odds be Ever in Your Favor.
Such a TRAGIC, FICTIONAL STORY, right?
Maybe not so fictional in the Photography world. Any of these phrases sound familiar?
That client is MINE! Every man for himself, no I will not network! Are “the Odds” in my favor to be successful?
My dear friends, what if I could provide 3 tips that would ensure that the Odds would FOREVER in Your Favor?
#1: Find Water First. New photographers, I love you. I cringe at the pressures you feel. The business world you are jumping into is vastly different than the one I jumped into. I am sorry. 🙁 I have noticed a tough trend in how the photographers I mentor feel.
The minute they decide to go “real-deal” in the industry they feel pressured to have the following: Logo, website, Facebook business page, custom Facebook tabs, free download, promo video, mailing list, monthly newsletters, boutique packaging, 1,011 photoshop actions, customized gift cards, stationary, fancy camera bag, and-the-list-goes-on-and-on.
I plead with you, friend. Listen to the surprisingly brilliant, Haymitch. Find Water First. Discover the most crucial survival tool in the arena…
Water = YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY SKILLS
You may have a stellar website design, a rockin’ logo, a fancy $500 bag, and even a perfectly make-you-cry promo video, BUT – how are your images? Your ability to capture amazing photos in any kind of light, at any time of day at any location on a consistent basis is KEY to your survival in the arena.
YOU CANNOT AVOID the need for water.
It will eventually catch up to you.
Before your spend your time and hard-earned money into the outer-needs (most of these needs should be categorized as WANTS) of your business, spend your energy “Finding Water” by refining your photography skills. Don’t you feel so Katniss right now?
Need recommendations for truly nourishing photography workshops? Click here to see our recommendations…..
#2: Under-promise and Over-deliver: From District 12? Feeling a little underprivileged? Underdog? Awesome! My heart breaks every time I think of Peeta saying “My mother said, ‘It looks like District 12 may finally have a winner.’ But she wasn’t talking about me. She was talking about you.” Moment of silence for that SAD thought, people! One of the most satisfying parts of the entire series is the “unlikely victory” of Peeta and Katniss.
There is nothing magical, jaw-dropping, or special about the Careers winning the games year after year.
So…add some SPARKLE to what YOU have to offer in the arena.
Tell your clients they should expect their photographers in 3 weeks, and deliver in 10 days. Remind your clients to expect 25 images after the session, and bring 30 because you JUST COULDN’T let them miss those extra 5. Did they order that darling accordion book for Grandma and Grandpa? Fabulous. Include 2 accordion books when you deliver, just in case they need an extra Christmas idea. They will be your greatest fans, supporters, and in many ways…sponsors. 🙂 The arena can be such a happy place.
#3: Build an Alliance & Remain Loyal: Always. Find a buddy/buddies through your journey. Husbands, dogs, roommates, and your sweet momma don’t count. Find a buddy that is in the arena too (a photographer.in case you missed the symbolism!). Set up a private facebook group where you can bounce ideas back and forth on, chat on Skype once a week to stay accountable to each other, and sincerely invest in each others survival & success.
Unlike the typical “Games” there can be more than one winner, in fact – everyone can win!
Contrary to popular belief, there are plenty of clients. Enough clients to keep us all booked, successful, and friendly. Remember, there is no amount of money, fame, or opportunity that will ever be worth losing your Alliance in the arena. Share in successes! Laugh through failures together, and most importantly – remain Loyal. The time will come when an opportunity to get ahead will present itself (maybe your Alliance’s old client has now showed interest in you…what are you going to do?)… Remain loyal. Always.
Who would have thought the Hunger Games held such wisdom for us Photogs? Take the mystery, fear, and desperation out of the entire process as you Find Water First. Under-promise and Over-deliver, and Remain Loyal to your Alliances.
It’s a beautiful work we are a part of.
About Sarah: Sarah Grace is celebrating her 4th blissful year as a photography teacher. Mentoring flourishing photographers makes her heart sing, as well as collecting Vintage Little Peoples’, and devouring all things Drum Corp (check out www.dci.org and watch her inner-geek emerge!). Sarah believes in holding no secrets back when teaching and that photographs can truly change the spirit of your home sweet home. Sarah Grace lives in Arizona with her husband, reader-extraordinaire 4-year-old daughter, and orange-crayon-lovin’ baby boy.
Visit Sarah at her WEBSITE | FACEBOOK pages today!
debbie gray says
Enjoyed this very much Sarah Grace! Thanks for keeping it real!
I love this article!
Your photography skills are the most important part of your business. It’s nice to have all the extra bells and whistles, but without skill you are fighting a losing battle.
Customer service is also key. While over-delivering is an amazing way to get loyal customers (I use it all the time), I hear from clients all the time how many photographers won’t even bother to return their calls. Even if you’re not interested in the particular session they are requesting, you never know what the future may hold. Don’t burn bridges.
Building alliances is also important. We can all learn from each other and it’s nice to know people that have the same passion that we do. The back biting, possessive behavior of some photographers . . . . well, I outgrew that in junior high and I avoid people like that like the plague. No sense in getting caught up in that kind of drama.
Thanks again for the great read!
Sarah Grace says
Debbie Gray – Thanks so much for reading!
And Debi! – Thanks for your thoughtful comments. I think you are SPOT ON! It seems like we are pretty good at pushing out WOW responses in the final moments of our business – but how good are we at the small, SUPER IMPORTANT tasks such as returning calls and emails?! I think technology has been our enemy from being polite, and approachable people! Your comment gave me a moment to sit and reflect on my own business, and make some improvements! Thank you!
J Lawson says
This is a great share, thanks for this! Interesting to connect photography to Hunger Games, but good tips for aspiring photographers
V & A Photography says
Great tips! I have to agree – it’s really about focusing on skills first and clients second, they become your walking and talking advertising if you provide them with something to talk about and treat them well!
So well said, Sarah! Love the Hunger Games analogy, too! I have enjoyed networking with you and love your giving nature. Hope that these types of articles start to change the way we photographers run our businesses and the way we treat each other. Thanks for sharing!