- 2013 Photographer's Market: The Most Trusted Guide to Selling Your Photography
- How to Create Stunning Digital Photography
- Best Business Practices for Photographers
- The Fast Track Photographer Business Plan: Build a Successful Photography Venture from the Ground Up
- Group Portrait Photography Handbook
- 500 Poses for Photographing Women
- The Best of Family Portrait Photography: Professional Techniques and Images
- 500 Poses for Photographing Group Portraits
- Selling Your Photography: How to Make Money in New and Traditional Markets
- Starting Your Career as a Freelance Photographer
- Photographer's Survival Manual: A Legal Guide for Artists in the Digital Age
- Legal Handbook for Photographers: The Rights and Liabilities of Making Images
- Taking Stock: Make money in microstock creating photos that sell
- Going Pro: How to Make the Leap from Aspiring to Professional Photographer
If you want to get hired as a photographer, it's going to take a lot more than wide collection of photography gear and an impressive portfolio. A photography project isn't something that a client can say, “This is what I need. Get it done.” These projects are collaborative. They take a great deal of communication between photographer and client. The photographer needs to be accommodating, yet able to further enhance the ideas of the client. So when you're chatting with a potential client on a new project, keep in mind these personality traits that can land you in the unemployed zone.
Poor People Skills
Being a professional photographer is about more than mastering your camera equipment. You have to be able to work with people. People are the ones hiring you. People are the ones you're working for and with. And people are the ones who keep you in business. If you can't get along with people, then you won't be a successful professional photographer.
Though you may not be a rude or unfriendly person, it can still be nerve wracking to meet new potential clients and business partners. Those who are less outgoing may have a difficult time with showing their personality to a new person. Eagerness can lead to uncertainty in your words or actions, but the important thing to remember is to relax. You shouldn't force yourself to try to be someone that the client is looking for. Clients want a personality that complements their own. Be yourself and be confident.
This trait usually attaches itself to the hot-shot photographers that think they know everything about everything. They know what to do, how to do it, when to do it, and they don't need any direction or advice from their clients. This is an unattractive trait. You should be working closely with your clients and listening to what they have to say. You are doing work for them, not for you. You should be open to their ideas even if you disagree. If you truly think that your way or idea is better, show them rather than tell them. If they still don't agree, go with what they want. They are the ones you're trying to satisfy. Don't get caught up in your own world and take over their project.
Lack of Imagination
On the other hand, you need to be able to expand on your client's ideas when necessary. Your client is not only looking to you to provide the photos, but to create something. They're looking to you for inspiration, adaptation, and imagination. They may have a basic concept in mind, but if you can expand on that concept, you can go above and beyond their expectations. This is always one of best goals you can achieve as a photographer. When you exceed a client's expectations, you have gained respect, credibility, and an excellent reference.
It should go without saying that you need to be professional in all aspects of your work. Communicate often and politely, dress appropriately to photo shoots, abstain from foul language, and keep your work organized and easy to access for you and your client. Responding late to e-mails and phone calls, arguing with the client, and acting inappropriately can cause your client to drop you even if you are the best photographer for the job.
Want to know why arrogant know-it-all photographers get hired over others? It's because they have confidence. Despite their potential to be very unpleasant to work with, they know (or at least act like they know) what they're doing. They have no doubts in their skills or equipment. They may be a bit controlling, but in a way that makes it sound like they're acting from experience. When a photographer is insecure about his or her skills, this can greatly off put a client. Imagine if you brought your car to a repair shop and the mechanic said, “I think I can probably fix that.” while he looks over your car and twiddles his thumbs. It's not very reassuring. Be confident in your abilities, but not over-confident. If you know you can't mimic a certain photography style at the client's demand or have the appropriate equipment to create the type of shoot a client is looking for, confidently say that you cannot, but be able to offer alternative ways to meet the clients needs.
Written by Spencer Seastrom