If you run a photography business (or any creative business for that matter), you live inside a box. It's more a of a cage really - in that it can be VERY difficult to remember what the world is like outside of our little box. Inside this box are conversations about photography, and cameras, and weddings, and portrait sessions. This is where we live. Because we live here, we forget that pretty much everyone else in the world, lives on the outside of the box.
Especially our clients.
It's easy to forget that our clients don't live in our world. Not only that, but they have a world, and a job, and family, and a life - completely independent of our world, and our box. Sometimes I think it might be helpful to know what it's like outside of our little box, so here are FIVE THINGS YOUR CLIENTS WILL NEVER TELL YOU, BUT YOU SHOULD KNOW ANYWAY:
1. I don't care what you tell me about copyright, or usage, or licenses. These images are of me and my family, and my kids, and as far as I'm concerned, they are mine. I hired you to take photographs for me. I don't care about your ownership, or your rights, or your copyright.
What I care about, is that these pictures are of me and my kids, and my family, and my wife/husband/parents/whatever..... If you try to tell me I'm going to prison because I cropped out your ugly-ass logo and put it on facebook, who do you think is really going to come out ahead in the long run? If you make this about you - I'm not going to care - which I promise will hurt you far more in the long run. Which leads to.....
2. I don't care about marketing your business. I'm your client, and I hired you to do me a service. I don't exist to spread the word about how amazing you are. At the same time, if you TRULY are amazing, and make it easy for me to WANT to talk about you, I just might send you people who trust me.
By the way, making it easy doesn't mean put your logo on everything, or give me things with your name on them to hand out. It means make me fall in love with YOU, and the EXPERIENCE you provide.
3. I don't care that you think you have a good reason for charging what you do. I only care whether or not it seems I'm getting more value added to my life, than the cost of your service. By the way, "value" doesn't mean I care that you use the highest quality goods. It doesn't mean that I care how much money you spent on gear.
Most likely, the value you provide to me will have little to do with any of those things. If you can exceed my expectations (see 4), and create an experience that adds value to my life, you will be well worth it, and I will pay you accordingly. In fact, I'll pay you a premium, far beyond the tangible "value" for the experience of making my life more enjoyable as we create and capture these memories.
4. I don't care what your policies or procedures are, they are all meaningless to me unless you tell me what you want me to do. Chances are good, that if I know what to expect, and you deliver on (or, even better, exceed) those expectations, I'll be thrilled with you.
If, on the other hand, you leave me to figure out what to expect on my own - I will. In that case, I can pretty much promise you the experience will suck for both of us, because my expectations will have almost nothing to do with reality. By the way, that's your fault - because you never bothered to tell me in the first place.
5. I don't really know why i'm hiring you. If I'm getting married, it's probably because I think I need photographs of my wedding. I think I need photos of my dress, and my shoes, and my flowers, and the rings, and the bridesmaids, and the groomsmen, and the little kids with the flowers, and my family, and his family, and our family together, and a shot of each of us with each member of our family, and then a shot with the uncle who stumbles in late, and then photos of every person who attended, while they are sitting at their table eating their dinner.
I've never done this before, and I've never experienced what you do. If you want to create a HUGE win, you can help me do something more - which is to help me tell a story I never want to forget. You can help me forever remember the way I feel on my wedding day. The thing is, I don't even know that's what I'm really looking for unless you tell me.
Now you know.
What do you think? Leave a comment below.