If you’re a wedding photographer, it’s a one-day-a-week job, where you get to show up, take pictures, do what you love, and get paid ridiculous amounts. It’s a crazy sweet gig, with an industry full of whiney people who don’t appreciate what it’s like to have a real job.
At least that’s what a lot of clients think.
Clients, mind you, who have never dealt with a micro-managing MOB, drunk and high groomsmen, snot-nosed venue managers, domineering planners, and a tightly coordinated day that unravels more by the minute until it all piles into the portrait-session from hell in middle of high noon on a cloudless day.
But that’s the job.
And that’s the perception.
And no one ever said it was gonna be easy.
But easy or not, you either take it and run with it, or you bitch and moan about it.
Unfortunately, the latter seems to be the preferred choice.
A few times a year, I’ll come across some post in my feed detailing every painful hour we put in, every little cost that bludgeons our wallets, and all the years it takes to learn to do what we do, so clients can understand our worth.
And while venting might feel good, getting properly paid feels a whole lot better, and no matter how much anyone justifies what it takes to create their masterpieces, it’s a total waste of time.
Because showing what you put into things has nothing to do with what your clients get out of things.
It’s our job to take all that skepticism and doubt and use our business jujitsu to turn it on its head. Or, putting it more simply, it’s our job to create value.
And explaining the value of your images in terms of equipment cost and time is not only impotent, but demeaning.
Think about it. What do you want?
Do you want to buy a magic pill for $50,000, because I spent decades working on it and billions of dollars creating it?
Or do you buy my $50k pill, because I’ve invented a way to keep you slim, healthy, and lean for life without any side effects for a less than a few dollars for each day of your life?
Focusing on what we put in not only dehumanizes the power of the artform, but it ignores the other trade we practice, which is running a business.
Yes, there are times you can talk about your costs and your investment. But only when people already believe in your value.
People who know your value, will see these details as proof of your worth. But people who aren’t believers will see it as nothing more than self-centered, justification.
At best, they’ll shrug and ignore it. At worst they’ll push back.
But until you take the misconceptions as an opportunity to explore and take your clients on a journey to see what they really get, you’ll never create any real value.
“Oh, you have no idea what I do? Well, let’s find out what you actually need, so I can show you why it matters.”
That’s your launch point.
Find out what people want. Then show them how you solve it.