Monday, August 31, 2009

Cautionary Tale

We want this Blog to be helpful and encouraging, and sometimes, we will use it as a way to communicate what NOT to do. Reputation is EVERYTHING in the photography industry.

Everyone makes mistakes when they are starting out, so as a new photog, you need to learn how to minimize those mistakes. You might burn a few bridges here and there, but overall, your goal should be to have a GREAT reputation.

Here's what clients and photographers for whom you work are looking for:

Reliable transportation
Good, professional communication skills
STRONG knowledge of use of equipment
Ability to deliver whatever is promised. In other words, DO NOT overstate your skills.

If you need help trouble-shooting a client-relationship, please let us know. We can help with this!

Remember that photographers talk to each other. Below is an email from a photographer about a student photographer:

John Doe was a nightmare to work with.
1. Doesn't have a car, so he's dependent on other people's schedule regardless of the photo deadline - which he blew.
2. Doesn't have a flash. He asked to borrow mine last minute, which meant that I had to be at the venue (defeating the whole purpose of him covering me).
3. His card messed up, and I guess has never heard of Googling an issue to proactively figure it out or using CF card recovery software on his own. I hand-held him through the latter.

He's a nightmare to work with. Had I known about any one of the above issues I would have shot the event myself. Suffice it to say, had I know all four issues existed I never would have considered him.

His photos are mediocre and he really didn't hop on the event with gusto.

To top it all off, I had to pay another shooter who happened to be there that night, which was embarrassing.

My new student photographer shot last night. Seems pretty together type person. Haven't seen the photos yet, but working with this person has felt like a far more professional situation.

The student who originally took this job could have addressed these issues by:
1. Borrowing a flash for this night-time shoot, which clearly required off-camera lighting.
2. Securing transportation - and arriving on time.
3. BEING A PROBLEM SOLVER! Before asking for help - read the instructions!
4. MEETING DEADLINES! Some employers allow for one missed deadline or one missed assignment, but the photography industry often hinges on a combination of timeliness and quality of work.

For another perspective, take a moment to read this blog article entitled "Going Pro: Upping Your Level of Responsibility."

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