I had someone recently ask me, “What sets me apart? What do I offer my clients? Yes, I can take a photography, but there are many people that can do that.”
Instantly, I felt irritated and disappointed in myself, because I do not know how to describe to someone all the little things that go into the creative process of developing my art. When I am in my creative process, I just do it so naturally.
I am not just a photographer! Right?! I know that I am much more, but how do I explain that to others! I knew this was something I really needed to work on. How is my customer supposed to know what I bring to the table if I cannot tell them? I took some time to really ponder these questions, while thinking of my most recent photography shoot.
When Mike told me that he wanted me to take pictures for him to be able to use in the law firm’s website and advertising materials. I was excited about this, but I had so many questions! Did he already have a specific idea in mind? Where did he want to take these pictures? What was the message he wanted his clients to hear when looking at the photos? What story was he wanting to tell? I explained my thoughts and ideas for his photography shoot. I wanted to make him a part of the overall process not just a model. These are his photos too and we need them to meet his needs and tell the story that he wants to tell.
You might be wondering, why did I have so many questions? Well, it is simple. I do not just take photos! I create art! I tell stories! I want my customers to be a part of the creative process. Mike had experience with the traditional photographer. The one that says ok let us take your picture what date do works for you. I instead wanted him to be a part of the creative process. Of course, he told me, “I think I will probably need to get back to you after I think about it.” Which was perfect! That is what I want him to do! Having him as a part of the creative process allows him to be more actively involved in the result and allow him to feel more comfortable saying I want to try this or do this. And I want him to feel comfortable and engaged throughout the process. So, he gets exactly what he wants, and he needs.
It was over two weeks later, that I heard back from Mike. I could have followed up with him before then, but I wanted him to have his space to think and there is nothing like rushing to hinder the creative process. When he got back to me, he was able and ready to answer my questions. He decided that it was best to have pictures taking in the office and that he wanted the message to be intelligent, capable, and friendly. I was so excited that was perfect! He had a story he wanted to tell, and I was going to help him tell it.
I want to make the best of my clients’ time! Everyone is so busy, and Mike is not exception to that. He is a busy man and does not need me taking up his time or money with multiple photo shoots to get the diverse portfolio he needed. I explained the amount of time that we would need in order to create a diverse portfolio of pictures to meet his needs for advertising. And the appointment was made!
Then, I asked him what he was planning to wear. He told me he was going to wear a suit. I said perfect! Well do you have any blue you can wear, because blue is perceived as intelligent, calm, approachable, and friendly. So, it will help to tell the story you would like your customers to hear.
Then I started to think what types of photos does Mike need for his website and his advertising. What is the message he is trying to tell his clients? I did my research! I not only looked at his website, but I also researched law offices in the area and looked at the photos they were using on their websites. I thought of other pictures that he might be able to use on his website as icons, backgrounds, blogs posts, social media and more.
The day of Mike’s photo shoot I walked into the office. I instantly started looking around at the lighting in the rooms and hallways. What things where in his office that I could or should take a picture of for him to use. I was asked to sit in a meeting room with a long table. I thought to myself, the lighting was good here. There was a great background with the bookshelves. After saying hi to Mike. I asked him would it be ok if we started taking some pictures in here the conference room? I told him we might need to change a few things. He agreed and I asked if it be OK if we moved these pictures over there? The three pictures that were on the shelf were beautiful, but I knew that they were going to be completely chopped off in the photos and only distract from the story we were trying to tell. Using other photos from another shelve we made some quick adjustments and were able to tell the story that he was a lawyer a defender of the people. Throughout the shoot we took pictures all around the office and in the building moving things that were not right for the photo that was being taken. I was using my knowledge and experience to provide him the best photos using what was available to us and that would look familiar to his clients if they came into the office.
I was able to give him a diverse collection of photographs for him to use and choose from and he was very excited and pleased with the results. I slowly started to discover there are a lot of services that I offer my clients that I never knew I offered!
- I am an artist who uses photography to tell other people’s stories.
- I use my experience and knowledge of lighting, color, and photography to give my customers the advice on the best way to get the results that they are hoping for.
- I offer my clients individualized photo shoots, where people are an active part of the creative process.
- I resourcefully use everything we have in the moment to give my clients the best photos that tell the story they want to tell.
- I look for opportunities to think outside of the box and meet the needs of my clients in a way they might have not been expecting.
- I build connections with my clients so they can have a fun and relaxed photography shoot.