Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Photography - How to succeed

How to succeed as a photographer is a question that I am frequently asked. Typically people want to know what kind of camera the need, or what Photoshop tools to use. The answer I give often surprises them.

First learn how to take a good photograph. The take an art class and learn composition and color. Then get a basic understanding of how to control light. Finally learn how to use your camera in manual mode. Now you can take photographs, but this will not make you successful, merely qualified to be a photographer.

To be a successful photographer you need to know how to work with your clients. Being able to read their needs and desires for a photography session is critical. If you merely meet their needs, they won’t leave happy. You want happy customers, as they come back and they also send you referrals.

Being successful is not about up selling your clients into huge portraits. Sure you make a profit, but you don’t build confidence. Sell a client what they really want, not necessarily what they ask for, and they will be very happy.

For example when a client comes for a portrait session I will ask what they plan to do with the photograph. Are they going to need prints for family and friends? Where in the home will the photograph be hung and how large is the space. This allows me to suggest the proper size for the space, typically larger than they thought, but on occasion smaller.

For the friends and family prints I discuss with them the option of acquiring digital files to print themselves or I can do the prints if they would prefer the convenience and quality control. Most clients will get the “important” prints done by me and use the digital file for email and secondary prints.

Providing the client with what they want is only a small part of being a successful photographer. Next week I will continue with part II on this topic.

Orcatek Photography – Phoenix

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