Sometimes I say no. (OK, I say”no” a lot. I am a mother. But, I am talking about in my business - sometimes I say no. Let’s continue). Sometimes, I say no to a potential new client. This may sound so unbelievable and shocking to some, especially if you are just starting out in any business. So, if you are one of those gasping in shock, take a minute. A few controlled deep breaths may be needed. Do what you need to feel comfortable to continue reading.
For the rest of you who are thinking, why is she so concerned about that traumatize reader, it because this is me. As a person, a mommy and a photographer, I care how everyone around me feels. Which is reason #1 why I may not be the photographer for you.
REASON #1 - I CARE
I want those around me to feel connected to those around them. I want each individual to not only know but to feel that they matter. There are many things that we “know” innately, but we don’t FEEL. Feeling is key. And let’s admit it, some of us don’t like to feel in public. Some are more reserved and held together. But me? I like to have fun - which is reason #2 of why I may not be the photographer for you.
REASON #2 - I LIKE TO HAVE FUN
I have lived long enough to know life truly is what you make of it. Joy or despair, for me comes from my focus. When I was going through my divorce, I found I had become a very worried and troubled person. I was tired and constantly figuring out how I was going to provide emotionally, spiritually and financially for my family. How was I going to fill the role of two people when I did not even feel like a whole person?
Then God, through His Holy Spirit and through family, friends and neighbors, let me know that He had my back. I wasn’t in this alone because I was now single with 4 little to provide for on a whole new scale. God gave me perspective and let me know, I know had to choose what my life would be. And I decided it would be fun. So, I put everything in His hands and started being more conscientious about bring joy and laughter back to my family. And it continues - even in my work. I value the work that I do and that is reason #3 that I may not be the photographer for you.
REASON #3 - I VALUE MY ART
I love to capture individuals and families playful, having fun and interacting with their environment. I love to freeze moment of messy chaos, and yes that sometimes means that images are not perfectly in focus. That often times, people aren’t looking at the camera because they are busy connecting with one another and the world around them. It means that my camera may be tilted instead of perfectly aligned. To me the world is off kilter, so at times, my images are too.
I love the work that I do. I admit that it is evolving, changing and improving with each session. But for me, that is more about developing my craft and my vision for the images that I create for my clients. I pray over each session, wanting to create a treasure for your family, not just income for mine. I always want my work to be a collaboration between client and photographer. I want to create lovely images for you and your family that will have impact for generations - ambitious? Maybe a little, but that’s the goal.
However, I have to do it in my style of shooting. If you want more traditional, posed images with everyone looking at the camera, that’s not my focus. Yes, those images may be included, but it is not the bulk of what I will provide you. So, if traditional posed images make your heart sing, then I value my art enough to say no. If you are bringing me another photographer’s Pintrest board and images, saying this is want, then we have a disconnect. Therefore, I value you enough to say we are not a good fit. Which is Reason # 4 that I may not be the photographer for you.
REASON #4 - I VALUE YOU
I know that there are armies of photographers, you have many, many, many photographers from which to choose. So, why would I say no to a potential client? Because I value my art, my time and most of all because I value you.
I believe every business needs to know and understand their ideal client. The client that they dream of, hope for and pray to find and serve. If I accept clients who are less than my ideal, then I am setting the stage for a poor experience for both myself and that client. I don’t want anyone to have a poor experience with anyone! Especially, not with me.
Getting the wrong style of photographer can be disappointing AND expensive. I had a client spend over $50 in having images retouched. Why? Because my intentional, lifestyle compositions was not what the family preferred. They wanted traditional, stayed posing. My style is to direct subjects in a way that showcases connection and love. My families are directed to get close and to run, dance and play. Individuals are directed just to the same. My art is intentional and directed so that there is a feeling to the images, not just a look.
For this family, my art just did not resonate with them. I had felt keenly by the Spirit that this was not a good fit. By not listening, this turned out to be expensive and difficult for us all. Not the experience that I want anyone to have. And it was a one-time deal. I want more than single photographic experience, I want a relationship with my clients. Which brings us to Reason #5.
REASON #5 - I WANT US TO HAVE A RELATIONSHIP
I grew up being moved a lot. Until I reached high school, two years was the longest I had been at any school. Nope, not military, just a mother with a restless spirit. What I learned by being the perpetual new girl was that relationships matter. Connection matters.
I want to have more than a one-time client/photographer relationship. I want to capture the evolution of your life. I want your experience to be so memorable with me that you look forward to coming back and collaborating on the creation of more images for yourself and your family.
I believe the best relationships start from a solid foundation. Which is why when it comes to client/photographer relationships, the best recommendations is to take your time. Don’t rush a selection, don’t let money be the driving force behind your choice. Value yourself enough to know the price has a place, but it should not be the end all be all deciding factor. . . at least it is not for my ideal client.
TAKE THE TIME
In conclusion, I would simply encourage any family seeking images to take the time discover what is your ideal photographer. Just like I need to know my ideal client, you need to know what you want from your photographer and how you want to feel during your session. If you like to get in and get it done, head to your local mall. If you have something more specific in mind, then do a little research Find images that resonate with you, images that make you say, “I want that.” Then dig a little further and find out what the actual experience will be like for you and your family. Finally, pray about it, God will guide even over the smallest things in our lives. That way you and your photographer will have the best experience possible together. Just know what you value. If price is the highest value for you, find a local university student studying photography - there are plenty willing and eager for subjects and they charge nominally if at all.
If experience and images are most important to you, then seek for that. Know how you want to feel during your session, not just how you want to look. One of my favorite, oft repeated compliments is, “That wasn’t bad at all. It was actually kind of fun.” For me, that’s the way it should be.
Whether it is glamour, lifestyle or school portraits, are you looking for fun, emotive, connected images and a low-stress, fun experience? Then, I may just be the photographer for you.
I would love to hear from you. What makes an ideal photographer or client for you?