Meeting Expectations You Didn’t Know Existed: Part 4

How to Satisfy the “Crazy” Clients.

How do you react to clients who have expectations that you are not aware of or expectations that you think are unreasonable? In the previous posts in this series, we talked about how clients get their expectations from four different sources:

– The Market Norm

– The first exposure to the type of product or service you offer 

– Confusion caused by your business’ complicated structures

– Poor communication between you and the client

Once you understand these four sources, you can better understand how to satisfy more of your clients.

If you ever visit an online photography forum or hang out with a group of photographers, you’ll hear multiple stories of “crazy clients.” We all like to tell stories about the “insane requests” clients have. The forums and community groups are our version of office water coolers.

Recently, our staff made a decision to stop using the term “crazy” for any …

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Meeting Expectations You Didn’t Know Existed: Part 3

Part 3: Confusion & Poor Communication

How do you react to clients who have expectations that you are not aware of or expectations that you feel are unreasonable? Where do clients get these expectations?

In the past two posts in this series we addressed two of the 4 different sources these expectations come from:

– The Market Norm

– The first exposure to the type of product or service you offer

Today we will look at the remain two sources to discuss:

– Confusion caused by your business’ complicated structures

– Poor communication between you and the client

Confusion: When pricing and offerings are complicated, it confuses the client and he/she will have different expectations than what you actually laid out.

Example: A client receives your price-list that explains your vast array of packages that contain different album choices, design options, and photographic print types. As the client is selecting the package she wants to purchase, she does not realize …

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Meeting Expectations You Didn’t Know Existed- Part 2

Part 2: Getting the First Exposure

How do you react to clients who have expectations that you are not aware of or expectations that you feel are unreasonable? Where do clients get these expectations?

In my last blog post, I addressed that these expectations come from 4 different sources:

– The market norm – The first exposure to the type of product or service you offer – Confusion caused by your business’ complicated structures – Poor communication between you and the client

In the last post, we took a look at Contending with The Market Norm. Today we will look at the second source: First Exposure.

First Exposure:

When a consumer has limited knowledge about a product, the first information they receive about that product often becomes their expectation for their purchase.

Example: A mother books you for her family portrait session. She doesn’t ask for many details as she values her friend’s recommendation of you and …

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Meeting Client Expectations You Didn’t Know Existed: Part 1

Most small businesses realize the importance of meeting and exceeding client expectations. But when we strive to do this, it’s based on the expectation that we, as a business, have established. 

How do you react to clients who have expectations that you weren’t aware of, or expectations that seem unreasonable? Where do clients get these expectations?

In my experience, these types of client expectations come from four sources:

The market norm The client’s first exposure to the type of product or service you offer Confusion caused by your business’ complicated structures Poor communication between you and the client During my next series of blog posts, I will share these sources with you, show you how to contend with unknown expectations, and outline how you can stop perceiving your clients as difficult, irrational, or crazy. Win-win! Today, we start with the first source of potential client confusion – the market norm.

Part 1: Contending with the Market Norm:

When enough …

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Is it Really the Clients’ Fault, or is it Yours?

Have you ever had a client who was upset because their images didn’t look as good as they expected?

You’re not alone. I see comments like these frequently on forums and I have had this discussion numerous times with other photographers, including photographers on my staff. Sometimes clients are challenging and are looking for ways to get a deal. More often, however, it may be your fault.

You may have fallen short of expectations in one or more of four categories:

The Creative Side of Photography: “The couple didn’t have any chemistry” or “those kids were so difficult to work with” may be true statements, but they are not excuses for why you didn’t deliver great images. If you are being paid as a professional photographer, it is your job to deliver professional images. Learn to pose people to look their best. Prompt people to react, even if it involves them laughing at your expense! …

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Film vs. Digital: Why do we still debate it?

Film is dead. Well, maybe it’s on life support according to some experts.

In April, the British Journal of Photography reported that Fujifilm had plans to drastically increase the retail cost of its film. Most professional film will now be twice the price. That may mean that film photography will become a true niche art form. And if it’s a niche art form, does that mean that digital is professional photographers’ saving grace, or a security blanket for faux artists?

Clearly, the debate continues.

A few years ago a friend of mine displayed his latest personal project in Nashville’s largest art museum. As Whitney and I viewed his show, a couple entered the room. They were excited to see a photography exhibit, until the man exclaimed to his girlfriend and everyone else in the room, “That’s the problem with photographers today; they all use digital. Look! You can see how horribly pixelated all these images are! Film is …

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Why Your Business Needs Kick-Ass Competitors

Photo by Dove Wedding Photography

Competition is like fuel. It can catalyze progress or cause an explosion.

The thing I love most about being a wedding and portrait photographer is the community. I have fun and have wonderful friends who are also wedding and portrait photographers. I would be fooling myself though if I didn’t admit that I compete with colleagues in my community.

Do you ever notice that you’re competing against other photographers who you admire or even call friends?

Competition is easy to notice when you’re looking at businesses that are similar to yours. It becomes REALLY obvious when you’re competing against a similar business that you dislike. How we handle competition defines how successful our business will be.

Unhealthy Competition

When the word “competition” comes to mind, most of us think of unhealthy competition. When I think of strong business competition I often think of ruthless fighting or unethical acts. Sadly, this type of competition does exist. Most …

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Out of Synch: Photographers vs the Music Industry – Part 4

During the last few posts, we’ve been discussing music licensing within photographic and video work.

Part 1 covered the value of music within photographic and video work.

Part 2 talked about the growing accessibility of legal, low cost music licenses.

Part 3 explained how licensing works and what approach you should take to fit your brand.

Now that you have the tools, I’d like to conclude by explaining what can happen if you choose to ignore the information that’s been shared in this series.

As photographers and videographers, most of us are aware of copyright law and what infringement means. Still, the question that circles in our professional community is, “if I use unlicensed music, will I really get caught?”

Over the years, the RIAA has pursued people who have large amounts of illegal downloads on hard drives. Many of these people lost in court and then went bankrupt. Was it worth it?

Record labels, publishers, and …

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Out of Synch: Photographers vs The Music Industry Part 2

Last week, Nashville-based photographer Peter Carlson tackled the timely topic of music licensing. Many of you chimed in with your thoughts, questions and frustrations! So, we’re eager to share the next post in this series focusing on music licensing for professional photographers. You’re invited to voice your opinion by commenting below!

In my previous post, I introduced you to one of EMI’s Publishing Directors, John Thompson. What I love about John is that he has always been one of the music industry’s most forward-thinking leaders. He is passionate about art and wants to see the industry innovate continually.

After reading your comments on my previous post, I thought it would be valuable to learn where John sees music licensing going. So, let’s ask John and find out!

Peter: When it comes to licensing, the biggest complaint I hear from photographers today is that the music industry has not made it easy to license …

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Out of Synch: Photographers vs The Music Industry

Dove Wedding Photography

The Music Biz vs Photographers: Part I.

In keeping with our commitment to serve up timely topics, we’re launching a series of posts focusing on music licensing for professional photographers. Share your experience and voice your opinion by commenting below!

Over the last few months there has been buzz about photographers and filmmakers getting fined or sued for using unlicensed music on  their websites, slideshows and videos.

There are plenty of forum posts and magazine articles where photographers share their opinions on the matter, but I thought it would be interesting to hear directly from someone inside the music industry. Living in Nashville, it is fairly easy to connect with music business leaders and artists. So, let me introduce you to my friend John Thompson, Director of one of EMI’s publishing departments.

John has been an influential figure in the music industry for over 20 years. He has worked in both the business and …

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