Please read this blog in its entirety… This has been on my mind a lot and now I’m going to put it into words.
Most folks don’t realize all the things that go into being a photographer. I’ve been in the photography industry for almost seven years now. Every day you have to grind and find something new, however the one thing that’s constant as a photographer is the people. Yes, even landscape photographers that sell their art have to deal with people. People come in and out of our business lives all the time.
As photographers we’re constantly in contact with people that want to have us do work for them. Those people give us all kinds of privileged information. We learn so much about our clients, subjects, etc. that most of us have our own database with that information. For me, I know any and everything about my clients. They’re not just another face, or paycheck to most of us in this industry. Just like a doctor, or lawyer, we are supposed to have a, “Photographer to Client” privilege. What they say, or do at a photo shoot is all privileged information. That’s how you build good relationships.
Prior to a shoot, I personally like to call each of my clients and discuss the photo shoot in full detail so they understand what we’re doing, so we can execute properly. Most answer, some like to just text back and forth because of their busy lives, however having their phone numbers is a privilege. That’s something special because a lot of people don’t have access to the individuals that we work with. They see the final outcome from the photos, but never the full process of how it got from, “Point A” to “Point Z”.
For me as a fitness photographer, I get to learn the stories about my people and how they got to where they are. To me, that’s important because when they tell their true stories, there’s someone out there that’s probably going through the exact same story as the person that I’m working with. Sometimes it’s eating disorders, being bullied, growing up with abusive people, being the overweight person, or just wanting to better themselves physically, spiritually and mentally. They all have their own different reasons and struggles, and I love hearing about them because it drives me to ensure that they get the absolute best out of me, so they can tell their story if they desire to inspire. My hope is that their story gets told by one of the major magazine out there that some person reads, so that it pulls them into a better place.
Another thing is that you get to know and become part of their families. A little bit ago, I did a Mother’s and Father’s Day set of shoots. I got to meet my client’s children and spouses. During those shoots, I was told multiple times that they wanted to hire me to do more shoots in the future for their families because they had trust and confidence in my abilities and I always aim to exceed all expectations, as all photographers should. That to me was a step towards longevity because I can always step out of the fitness arena, and jump into just doing portraits. It’s called versatility...all photographers, business folks, and entrepreneurs should know about that already. It’s truly an honor whenever you’re brought into the family fold and treated as such.
NEVER BETRAY THAT TRUST!!! I have a few close friends that are fellow photographers, and some Marines. I don’t use the word, “friends” loosely either. These are people that I’ve known for years! Even to them, I never share my work with them. I don’t share deep details of the shoot, and especially of my people. Call it karma, or whatever, but to me it’s just bad for business. Even in blogs, I don’t share bad details about photo shoots, or anything negative. You see, professionalism, and discretion is kinda what people pay you for as well. You may not see it that way, but it’s true. That person you and hundreds may look at and desire may not know that he, or she had a bad case of flatulence during their shoot from a protein shake, or had a visit from Mother Nature that time of the month. It’s none of their business, however it’s my business to ensure that they look their best when I’m shooting, and in post production.
To everyone that I’ve ever worked with, I will say, “THANK YOU!” Knowing all that I know about you all has truly helped me become a better professional in this industry and I’ll always maintain that professionalism, or exceed it.