I am a firm believer that professionals should have a good head shot. For executive professionals the image is usually used for speaking engagements, annual reports, websites and newsletters. Most executives come to me because they need a head shot. I think it is even more important for service-oriented professionals to have a great head shot. Creative professionals tend to come to me because they want a head shot. That was the case with Tina. She wanted a head shot for her new website and marketing materials.
We just got back from a week long trip to Cancun. Although I love to travel and I love shooting new locations, a travel photographer I am not. I look at and admire travel photographs; I love seeing the ordinary made beautiful by focusing on color, shapes and details. I just don’t see like that. I pick up a camera and look at the shelves full of Mexican “souvenirs” and I don’t see anything worth shooting. When I do take the shot I typically think they are boring and/or cliche.
I typically photograph people and architecture (and my fam). When I look back at the travel photos I’ve taken they inevitably have people in the shot or a building I found interesting. While reviewing the shots I took in Cancun and I noticed that I shot with my iPhone more than my 5D and you’ll only find a handful of scenic photos, the following being the only one I like and it was shot with my iPhone.
A couple weeks ago I got a call from the interior designers at About:Space. They were finishing up on a project for the Renaissance Towers downtown and wanted to submit photos of their work for an industry award. Their work involved upgrading the lobby and leasing office as well as designing the new penthouse. The following shots are samples from our two day shoot.
As much as tried to integrate it into the shot, I just couldn’t manage to get the helicopter pad just outside the windows on the right to read. Next time I’ll request a helicopter.
I recently lost a job based on price. I had already provided the “bro hookup” discount since the client was friends with my wife. The client was able to find a photographer willing to provide more for less. Does it make sense to lose a sizable job over an additional 20% discount? (in this case yes) What’s that “bird in the hand” saying?
The experience got me thinking about why you should hire me. My first inclination was to say that great photography is the reason to hire me but that’s not enough and that’s not even the main reason.
Hire me to shoot your wedding, children, engagement session, portrait, head shot, your home, your new design, _______(fill in the blank) because:
1. Because you like me as a person and you want to do business with me. For most photography projects I spend a fair amount of time with my clients. It could be intimate situations like an expectant mother’s first maternity photo shoot, visiting the home of new parents to take pictures of their newborn, spending a couple days shooting a project for an interior designer or spending a day with a bride, groom and their closest friends and family. I could be the best photographer in the world, but if you don’t like me, don’t want me around or don’t trust me, the quality of my work doesn’t matter.
2. Hire me because you believe in, and trust in, my ability as a photographer. I’m not a “wedding photographer”. I’m not a “family portrait photographer”. I’m not an “architectural photographer”. I’m a photographer that happens to shoot all of the previous mentioned types of photography. There’s enough of my work online for people to get an accurate view of the quality of my work, my ability to think on my feet and the quality of the finished product I deliver to my clients.
Want to know how I picked my wedding photographer? I looked through a box a proofs. While sifting through hundreds of proofs from my friend Josh’s wedding the main thing that stood out with Selima was consistency. The great majority of the images were solid, and as a whole they were great. I encourage and often show my potential wedding clients the proofs from the weddings I have shot and tell them this is what you can expect. I’ve heard so many stories from friends and clients who were duped into hiring a photographer based on the 20 images they saw on a website.
3. Hire me because you want something different. Hire me to shoot your wedding because of my fashion work. Hire me to shoot your architectural work because of the unique images I shot of your neighbors kids. Hire me because you know that whatever circumstances I am put in I can get the shot.
I’m not sure where money and cost factor in. It’s an important factor but not the most important. I made a decision early on not to compete on price. If you want to price shop photography there are a ton of photographer’s who will compete on price. Creativity and art are subjective. The cost and perceived value is up to you.
I’ve photographed a lot of great homes and last weekend I had the pleasure of shooting a beautiful house for Karen & Kate of Deasy Penner. Maybe it’s because I’ve seen so many great homes or because I’ve lived in LA for too long but I was surprised when they told me the house was listed for $3.4 mil. Only in LA would that seem like a great deal.
3320 Sumac Ridge Rd in beautiful Malibu California has five bedrooms, five baths a great floor plan and kitchen for entertaining, a pool and oh did I mention the hilltop ocean views? (click on the link for more photos and MLS listing)
A few months ago I shot a job for Engineered Custom Systems, a custom audio and video installation and design firm based in Redondo. My job was to document ECS’ work throughout a 10,000 square foot home in Rolling hills. ECS installed all of the audio, video and custom control features in the house. There’s nothing like being able to walk into any part of the home and control the lighting and audio with a touch of the button. In addition to a media room with five flat screens the home also has an outdoor spa area with a TV, golf simulator, wine storage room, poker room and speakers installed both inside the pool and above-ground to insure that you can always hear your favorite song when you’re swimming.
In our pre-production meetings we discussed how best to show the quality of ECS’ work. Many of the custom features don’t read well in a still photo but I think that conveys the quality of the work and craftsmanship. The speakers aren’t supposed to be the focal point in the living room and when people overlook the install because the speaker grills have been painted to match the ceiling they know they will receive a high level of service when they work with ECS. Interior designers especially love the fact that with the help of ECS they don’t have to worry about the audio or visual installation taking away from the decor.