When one wants to be any type of professional photographer, a good piece of advice is to find your niche. Choosing a niche is important for a number of reasons; it gives focus on your subject matter and client demographic, it assists in promoting yourself to the public with a clearer sense of what you do and it better organizes your business plans.
Your niche is the type of photography that you wish to specialize in. It can be difficult to many new photographers which niche to choose from since most like to make photographs of a multitude of topics. An important thing to remember is that choosing your niche does not mean that you can't shoot other subject matter, just that you specialize in a specific type and that is what your business primarily works on.
I'd like to note that many photographers never choose a specific niche, are labelled as "generalized", and still find success in their work.
Having a genre to work towards creates a better focus on what you are doing in your business, you gain a better sense of what to shoot and who to approach with your work. This can save a lot of time and planning, it also has the potential of increasing your skill in said niche since there will be less time spent on other genres.
So, just for example, you want to shoot portraits. What does this mean? Well it creates a specific client base: grads, families, models. Since people are the main subject in this niche, you could also use this to bleed into related genres, like fashion and commercial photography.
The customer service that we all normally get from businesses can be downright insufferable. It's either the long hold times or hard to understand - and sometimes incompetent - reps. The general system for customer service is to focus on driving new sales and clients, while giving existing customers the bare minimal service just to keep them hanging(anyone have a cell phone? then you get it.).
This is a TERRIBLE way to do business - any business. There are few but still important differences between new clients and existing clients. It takes more time and energy to seek out and sell to new clients than to existing ones. The reason being is that existing clients are already sold on your services/products. They should be comfortable with dealing with you and know what to expect from working with you. New customers need to be introduced to you and your business, taught how a relationship with you will work and they need to be "sold" on your business. Also, some new customers have objections because they have heard through different means negative things about your services.
If you've ever worked for a large company and gone to any training sessions, you might have heard of what they call "overcoming objections", which is a buzz term that means,"Let's find an answer to get around all of the main objections that customers give to not invest in us." Now at face value this sounds like a smart idea, although it can do more harm than good. To actually train to overcome objections adds more stress on the customer-based worker to drive new sales by remembering a list of scripted answers instead of the actual product/services they are trying to sell, it does nothing to benefit existing customers(the lifeblood of a business) and it doesn't eliminate the source of these negative ideas about your business.
Most potential clients will hear negative things about any business through word-of-mouth. It makes sense, since word-of-mouth is one of the most powerful means to advertise, why wouldn't it be just as good at damaging a business image?
So who are these people saying these bad things? EXISTING(and past) CLIENTS. There are some good reasons to treat your existing clients like gold. The most obvious one is that they invest in you, some over a long time period, which means that they keep you working when there is a drop in new clientel. That means that they are your lifeblood, your buoy, what keeps you from going under in the long term. If you have enough existing clients to keep your business running and make a good living for yourself - then you wouldn't technically need new clients. But things don't stay static like that, and it is always a good idea to make more business for yourself. Another reason to treat them well is that they not only pay you for your services, but they advertise for you too. If you treat them second class then they will spread the word as such, if you treat them like gold they will do the same - but they will do it even more. People tend to tell others what is really good and what is really bad, which of these do you want to fall under? Treating existing customers with appreciation also has the benefit of decreasing the # of them that will leave you for your competitors, which means that you are even less desperate for new clients - which is great! When you approach new clients, you don't want to seem desperate; desperation shows a lack of confidence in your work, and no potential client wants to invest in a business where even the owner isn't confident.
As I stated before, existing clients will spread the word like wildfire, and if you treat them well they will only spread good words. Do you know what this does? It makes it even EASIER to get new clients. Your competitors still flash their smiles like a shark waiting for the kill, sputter over half memorized scripting, trying to overcome objections or downright lie to a customer to get just one more sale. You on the otherhand have new clients that haven't heard a word of negativity about your work. Their friends have boasted about how wonderful it is to work with you and how you really care about their needs. These are the clients that instead of saying,"Well I like this about your package, but someone told me *insert objection here*." you will hear,"My friend told me to come here because you were the best, I want *insert client details here* and I may have some more future work if this is as good as I've heard." I've had these clients, I LOVE these clients and I appreciate these clients. All they've heard is goodness, so I know I've done well taking care of my existing clients. This saves energy and money, to be spent on more crucial things, by not having to go all out on advertising or thinking of ways to "trick" new clients by taking some type of training in underhandedness. I don't need to stress myself out by thinking of new flashy ways to attract new clients or how I can twist words around so that I can get more work. I keep afloat with existing clients that stay with me because I treat them right, my existing clients generate new clients(and remember they're paying me while doing this) with no objections to overcome, this keeps me confident that I can meet their needs without having to resort to hard(and sometimes uncouth) tactics, and the cycle continues.
So by being decent, no, by being dependable to the people that know me already, I can increase my client base with hardly any effort. There is still the selling point to my business, but all the talk is about how I can help my clients - not how they can avoid problems in my business plan. I eliminate the problems from the source and I am a reminder to my clients of what real customer service is. It's almost karmic. It feels clean and fresh and good. There's so much "corporate pollution" out there, it can make one feel sick - I'd rather do something different. I'd rather do something right.
Back again to give you the dl on what's happening. Things are really getting busy, not only are wedding jobs coming out of the woodwork, but my own projects(both lucritive and charitable) are accumulating at an exponential rate.
Let's start with 3 things to begin.
First, Relay for Life.
I'm sure most, if not all of you are aware of this great event held to raise money for cancer research. I was approached buy one of the local event organizers with the request to be the photographer this year. This means a lot to me personally, my mother being a survivor, and because it affects so many of us across the globe. The Relay for Life will be held from June 3rd-4th, and I will be staying up ALL night taking tonnes of shots! I can't wait!
Second, I've been organizing the business plan for my photography, getting legitimized(like a big boy!) and it has been surprisingly smooth sailing so far. I'm setting up meetings with an attorney and some local business mentors to help guide the process(I'm not a huge business person, photography is my poison).
And Third, I'm putting together a digital photographers course that I will be teaching locally. It will be designed for everyone, from the novice to the serious amateur(and a good recapper for professionals). Of course the first class is the most sleep-worthy, being filled with technical jargon as we go over the parts/functions of the camera, but then we start looking at the fun stuff like composition, color, shape and that's when we start doing what we were there for -- making photographs!! We will be going outside, or depending on the subject(weather) we may do an inside shoot.
So that's it for now, sorry there's no photos for you this time, but I will try to get some good stuff next blog.
This is my first blog, wow, finally. I've never had a blog, not really, but I'm thinking it is overdue. This way you can keep up to what's happening in my work(and play, lol) and of course, you can still always check out my website.
Lately I have had the pleasure of shooting with Lacey Cromwell and Sharon Tyler, two wonderful girls that love the camera almost as much as it loves them. Below you will find some examples of our shoot.
I'm also working with another talented photographer, Cyndi Gordon, on a project of hers. I won't say what it's about just yet, but it is for charity so we're both pretty excited. It's not everyday that you get to do what you love and do a good deed for others at the same time.
Now, before I go -- and I know this is short, but it's late and I have work at 9am -- I'd like to do a quick reference on some of the models that I've worked with:
From top to bottom we have Fallon Thimot, Stephanie Peck, Daniel Bent, Victoria Weir and Jessika Taylor. Give them props, they're wonderful models.
Well, it's bedtime(actually it's way past bedtime), but I will be back asap to give you more updates/photos/news as they turn up.