Relating to customers. A customer is a "paying" customer.
Everywhere on the Internet, you and I hear about how the amateurs are buying a Canon T2i, the EOS 550D or a Nikon D5000 and grab the customers of the pros. First, we need some clarifications. Let's look at the dictionary definitions.
There are 2 kind of clients:
- Wow! Fantastic! That's great!
- That's not what I was thinking… I would have preferred… I don't like…
I belong to a mailing list. Here's an example of customer service done right and how to deal with customer frustrations.
The New York Times is the journal of record. It's the definitive record. They have the highest standard of journalism. They have often quoted and the source of many other news organizations.
All photographers [like everybody else] want to raise their income. There are two basic ways:
- Work longer hours
- Raise your rates
Photo District News did a survey of more than 1,000 wedding photographers at PDN Survey and they found:
The more hours you work, the higher your gross billings and income tends to be, but only within limits, according to our survey.
From day one, set your hourly rate at the figure that you want to be making when you're successful. After that, never mention it verbally to your clients unless absolutely necessary.
Quote flat fees for each job based on multiples of your hourly rate, using some common sense discretion to offer a finished cost that will garner the work. When you bill it, break the quoted flat fee down into your hourly rate and show it that way on the invoice, even if it isn't necessarily an accurate reflection of the time spent on the job.
A couple of days ago, I had a discussion with John A. about giving discounts to friends and relatives. It turns out that we both had to deal with giving discounts to friends in the last month. The interesting part was that we came to very similar conclusions in different ways.
The question is you have a friend that knows that you are a photographer, and she wants a portrait, a weddingâ€¦ The question is: â€œDo you give her a discount on your photo services? What about a discount on the prints? Is 25% off good enough? What about a 33% discount or even a 50% discount?â€
The problem with giving discounts from my regular rate is that:
I'm in the process of rewriting my contractS. Please note that I am 100% unqualified to give legal advice. I'm no lawyer. I'm not even studying to become a lawyer, so before taking what I say in consideration, ask the following questions:
- Does your photo contract make sense?
- Would your photo contract stand-up with a collection agency?
- Would your photo contract stand-up in a small claim court?
- Would your photo contract stand-up in a regular court?
Whatever you do, it's unlikely for you to go to a "regular" court.
Every professional photographer screams bloody murder, there are millions and billions of free photos on the Internet. The 2 largest websites for photos are:
- Facebook: 17+ Billion photos [Nov-2009]
- Flickr: 4.5 Billions photos [Nov-2009]
Flickr publish some stats: Cameras used on Flickr. The numbers I use are as of Nov-2009.
The number 1 camera used on Flickr is Apple's iPhone. The largest group of cameras, for the photos posted on Flickr, is the smart phones group, and camera phones group.
Go to almost every professional photographer's blog and you will find them complaining about how the Internet is killing the business and that today's the time of unprecedented changes. This is mostly done by people too busy looking back, instead of dealing with the changes.
Here's my abridged history of photography with the important cross-roads:
- 1826: NicÃ©phore NiÃ©pce invents photography
- Louis Daguerre in late 1838 or early 1839 makes with first photograph of a person with the DaguerrÃ©otype.
Regularly I receive calls and emails, asking if they can use my photos for free. I don't know about you. If you are a professional photographer, and you give away your photos and your rights for free, you will not stay a professional photographer for long. I rarely give my photos for free. The keyword is rarely, meaning that I have done it.
How fortunate I am, that they have chosen to use my photos for free! It will raise my profile in the "industry." Most of them are outraged that I dared not give my photos for free.