Friday, July 29, 2011

That looks reeeeaaaaallllyyy familiar

Every professional photographer has their own niche. Some do portraiture, some do events, others do weddings, and the list goes on. For those of us that do portraiture, and weddings, we bring our own style and innovation to the mix. Every now and again, we hit on a pose that really works for that situation. It becomes our hallmark and gets us noticed. And that's where the problem begins.

Recently, I've started to get a lot of similar jobs. When I first started Greene Light Photography, almost every job that I did was the first or second time that I had done that kind of job. I remember my first wedding/family portraits/concert/newborn shoot clearly. I remember how nervous I was for each of those and, subsequently, how happy I was with the results. That said, I saw room for improvement. So I improved. I read, I downloaded, I upgraded, I sought counsel. Now I know exact WHY some of the poses that I used early on were successful and how to recreate them with other people and get even better results.

But where does that leave my original clients? I wrote a blog about using other people's ideas for your own shoot and how it puts you in a quandary as to how to use the idea without plagiarizing (click here for that blog post). Well where is that line when it's your OWN idea? Are my clients who thought that they got a one of kind photo now upset when they see me use that same technique on another subject? Would they be more upset if they see it done better than their original?

As a photographer, my job is to constantly come up with new and innovative creations for my clients. For the record, I work really hard at not repeating iconic poses and images. However, what am I to do when a client REQUESTS a particular pose because they saw it in all of my advertisements and on my website? It would be crazy for me to say to a customer "I'm sorry. I only did that picture for that client and I promised that I would never recreate it!" That's not logical to me but it very well be what my original client wants me to say. I almost feel that I would lose that original client because they chose me because they WERE going to get a one of a kind type of picture. Or is being the first person ever photographed in that way enough to appease them.

And you just thought we showed up with our cameras and started taking pictures...

Well off to the next frame...staying in focus.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Ooo Ooo Ooo me Me ME !

Business has been good. I have been able to balance my career and my art. At the same time, enough people have noticed my work for me to make a little extra cash on the side. I have enjoyed the jobs that I have done because they are ones that I actually want to do. I have mentioned before that I do not have the pressure of having a constant stream of photo work to pay the bills because I have a pretty steady 9 to 5. I am thankful for that because it allows me to do the work that is interesting to me and not become a photographer's version of an ambulance chaser. Or at least I thought it did...

Recently there have been numerous monumental events in the lives of people that I know: engagements, weddings, births, etc. I am genuinely happy for my friends and I express that to them. Here's where it gets weird: I found myself hacking my services in the same breath that I am congratulating them! It got so bad that I would see that someone got engaged or announced a pregnancy in Facebook and I would immediately send them a message letting them know that I would love to be their photographer...when they were ready, of course! I had to stop and really think how that made me seem to my friends. I know I personally hate it when people only reach out to me to sell something to me or to tell me about a 'great deal'. But there I was doing just that...not intentionally though.

Here is the funny thing; I don't know if I WOULD be able to handle the volume if everyone that I solicited actually said YES!! I think would be swamped. I had to take a long look at what was driving those actions. After pondering it for a while I realized that it was driven by the artist not the businessman. Subconsciously, I think I saw the 'event' as an opportunity to capture something beautiful and I wanted to be the one to do it. I am always in search of that one amazing image and I guess I am always seeking new chances to capture it. Note: if I have asked to shoot your important occurrence it's because I think you and your family would create amazing form of a compliment, I guess.

I have decided to pull back on the hard sell and go back to the guy who could just say congrats without people thinking that there was an agenda behind the well-wishes because there shouldn't be. It doesn't mean that I won't ever suggest to people that I should be the one to capture the important times in their life. I just won't do it in the same breath as my 'way ta go'! Hopefully, people will find their way to me when they start to make decisions about their photographic needs. I hope.... :-)

Well, on to the next frame...staying in focus.