This past month I have been watching a 30 day wedding workshop online on a site I’m sure many creative people know called ‘Creative Live‘ and its made me think about my business as a whole. The presenter is the lovely Jasmine Star who ironically was the first wedding photographer I ever found when I started photography at age sixteen, who knew she’d soon become someone I am now learning from.
One section she talks about finding your strengths and weaknesses and honestly? It was hard for me to even find them, I made lists upon lists, asks previous clients and even family what they thought they were. It took my second photographer and business partner to actually help me come up with three strengths and three weaknesses.
- I’m great with opening conversation with strangers and easing clients into a session.
This enables me a key component to how I work through my customer service be that email, telephone or facebook message. Its also a fantastic strength to have during sessions, I like to open a conversation with my clients straight away, its normally about food/films/tv shows, this is a great starting point! As you will always find you have something in common with your client this way, lately its been about Game of Thrones and there terrible need to leave cliffhangers and awful character endings.
- I can work calmly in a pressured situation and timescale.
I have had a few sessions in my career which were either full of stress, weather changes or children who just didn’t want to have their photograph taken, but I’ve never allowed that to stop me or the session. Weather sometimes you need a back up plan, always prepare yourself and be resourceful. All children tend to get bored after so many minutes of having a camera put in their face, so make sure you make the session fun! I am forever grateful to the parents and family members who have allowed me to learn during their sessions. No child is to hard for me to handle 🙂
- I make my sessions fun, full of life and I give great direction.
This also ties in with my customer service, I feel a great session should be full of laughter, enjoyment and also I should be able to direct you. There’s nothing worse then standing there with a camera in your face and you have no idea what to do, trust me I’ve been there so I try to avoid this situation as much as possible.
- I allow myself to be dissatisfied with my work, which means I don’t value it as much as I should.
When most of us photographers started it was all about the learning and the growing our audience. We all did the ‘time for print/cd’ sessions where it was just about the experience and portfolio building but sooner or later we grew up out of the beginner stage and we wanted to begin charging for our services, Yes I know its a big step and it took me nearly a year to get to that point. My first wedding I charged £250 for the whole day, I know now that was cheap but I was still learning. I had only ever been to another wedding with a photographer and I didn’t even touch my camera during that point so I was grateful to the bride & groom who allowed me to photograph there wedding with another two other photographers. The point I’m trying to make is, I still think of myself sometimes as that beginner who had just started and had only a few sessions under her belt… I am no longer that person, I am more experienced, more trained and I need to remind myself to value my work as it is also a way to value myself.
- Sometimes to fill up empty dates, I offer low prices or discounts.
Like above, this in fact undervalues my work and as much as I would like every single weekend booked with beautiful out of this world weddings, I feel that wouldn’t be great for my brand. Still please don’t let this discourage you, I have collection packages for most budgets.
- I question my style.
Its just what it says, I question my style and wonder if its really what people want. Then I remind myself that my style is my brand, my brand is what draws the right clients in. Not everyone is going to like my style and even if only 50% out of 100 like my style, they are still coming to me and if the other 50% go off to find what they like then I’ll send a internet high five out to that photographer and hope they book them!
I know this blog turned out a lot more text then I intended so I’ll leave this on a high note… You are Wonderful! Your brand is You! And what YOU make it! So don’t be discouraged that you didn’t get that booking you were hoping for or you had a bad day or an image didn’t turn out the way you wanted it to. Just breathe, put it all in the learning pile and carry on! You’re awesome!
– Yours Warmly,