Always keep a clean home
Keep a well stocked fridge.
Be comfortable but not TOO comfortable
Don’t Overbook Yourself
Leave your personal life at the door.
Be as courteous as possible.
Don’t be afraid to be stern with an unruly client
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Being a photographer is one of the most versatile professions on Earth. We could shoot anywhere, at any time, and deliver a great product or make some visually stunning art that can last for many years. Remember, it’s what’s inside a creative mind that counts and not what’s in your hand, even though a nice camera DOES help, it doesn’t mean not having one is a deal-breaker to create some fantastic imagery. We photographers are a strange breed. Regardless of race, creed, color, or taste, we all have one thing in common; we live to take pictures. Some of us shoot in a studio, some just on location, and some of us shoot from our homes. When you shoot from your home there are certain dos and don’ts. These may seem like common sense points of conversation to the layman, but we photographers play it a tad strange sometimes.
Chances are that you do not use your entire home to shoot in but you should always make sure your house is clean enough for not only visitors but for clients as well. We all know your friends don’t care how messy your house is and that your significant other is unfortunately used to it, but make sure your trash is emptied, your floors are clean, and that there are no weird odors lingering about. Never bring over a client to a messy home. Word of mouth will spread and you don’t want the reputation of being a comely slob.
Make sure that when someone walks into your home that they have some options to refresh themselves with while on a shoot. Sometimes clients feel more comfortable when they are offered a bottle of water or some snacks. Always give your clients sealed containers or bags. Once the ice is broken and you both know what you want artistically out of the shoot then there is no reason you should not offer them a drink provided they are of age. Be humble, respectful, and as nice as possible. Don’t be subservient but be the best host ever.
The last thing a client wants to see is you on your couch watching TV while they are politely waiting for you to do your job and take their picture. You have to remember that even though you are in your home; you are still running a business. Be as professional as possible and treat your clients with the respect that they deserve. Instead of turning on the TV you can play some music that your client likes to get them in the mood to showcase their personality better, which comes through in any photo you would take.
Since you aren’t in a studio with a waiting area and a secretary you need to be careful not to book yourself with an over run. Schedule your shoots appropriately and leave yourself time enough to prepare for someone else, grab a bit, or to take a quick shower. Sometimes shoots go longer than expected and you don’t want to have someone sitting on your couch waiting for you to be done with someone else. It ruins the vibe.
Chatting with a client is one thing and it’s encouraged. But, under no circumstances should you ever let your home life spill into your work. It makes you look completely unprofessional. That can range from personal phone calls during a shoot, kids running around, dogs running around, or a significant other causing a distraction. You don’t want to be a cautionary tale of the photographer who was too busy to take photos. Instead you want your focus and professionalism to shine through so you can get those gigs.
As a photographer you must be prepared to deal with people and with a variety of attitudes and circumstances. Never be standoffish no matter what kind of day you are having. Let your love of photography shine through. Make your clients feel at home in your home and give them the extra things that make your service stand out. For example if it’s pouring outside you can offer them a ride to the train or bus.
It’s your home and you should have extra rules in place when you have clients over. There is no reason for you to ask them to be as polite as you are and if they get out of hand there is also no reason for you to not show them the door. The fact of the matter is that you are running a business and need to maintain a level of dignity and composure when dealing with folks.
Working from home can be a great way to get a whole lot more actual work done while saving you the money you would spend on renting a studio space. Plus, if you ever get cancellations or have to reschedule then you aren’t really put out!
By Richard S.
Image credit: Studio-54 / 123RF Stock Photo