Wednesday night, I attended a photography event where Jeremy Cowart spoke about the state of the photography industry. While I’m not going to share everything he said, this idea hit me like a ton of bricks:
As a result of the growth of photographers in every country, state, and city, people are hiring photographers on the basis of good enough.
Let me back up for a second.
On the way to the event, I called Rick to complain about… wait for it…
Rejection. Yes, with a capital R and everything.
If you are a business owner, you know what I’m talking about: This client doesn’t want XYZ in my packages. That client wants me to match vendor XYZ. This client doesn’t understand that I want to be a profitable business.
Rejection stinks. If you own a business, especially a service based business like photography, rejection occurs… often. It’s just the way it is.
And so that was on my mind at the beginning of the night.
Then, hearing this idea of hiring photographers who are just good enough, blew me away. It is dangerous. If someone hires a photographer on the basis of being good enough, and, I’ll go ahead and say it, cheaper, over another, more experienced photographer, and then the images are just good enough, what does that say about the photography industry?
Does it say that good enough is acceptable? If good enough becomes the new approach for hiring photographers, what becomes of the professional photographers trying to make a living? I’m talking a true, honest-to-goodness-bringing-home-the-bacon-living.
Why does this creative field of photography, and actually, any genre of art, yield this mentality that it isn’t acceptable to make a profit?
I don’t have any exact answers to these questions. This just made me realize what I need and want from my business.
I know that I don’t want to be just good enough. Just good enough isn’t acceptable for my clients. I want their wedding day to be just as memorable in photographs as it was in person. If not more. Is that asking too much? I don’t think so, because I want to give my best to my clients.
I don’t want clients who only see the numbers and not the value.
I want clients who appreciate this job of creating art, from sometimes the simplest moment.
I want clients who know that, like every other job, a profit needs to be made to pay the bills. Photographers price their work based on many different factors: experience, supply & demand, work/life balance, products included, business expenses, hours before, during & after the event, and profitability, just to name a few. Just because one photographer charges XYZ, doesn’t mean everyone should charge XYZ.
I don’t want clients who aren’t in love with my work. That sounds harsh, but a wedding day is high-stress and highly emotional already. If a client doesn’t trust the photographer, then the stress and emotions increase ten-fold.
I want clients who know that I am creating more than just photographs. I am documenting what will become their great grandchildren’s history.
I know this is a heavier blog than I normally write, but maybe, just maybe, it will help change this idea that good enough is okay. Because, good enough, is definitely not okay.
I realize that not every couple is the right couple for my business, but my clients, they know that good enough, is not enough.