CUT THROUGH THE BULL S**T
what a photographer says and what it means
There are many photographes out there and the choice can be very confusing! Who offers what service and for how much? CRB, award winning and investments. What does it all mean? We are going to explain a few things to help you cut through the bullsh*t of common New-Speak often used by photographers and give you the information you need to make an informed choice when choosing a photographer.
Competition is about free choice, you as the consumer decides what is the best service for the price that is offered, however this choice can be made cloudy. I am not suggesting that a company or person using marketing techniques is being dishonest but you do need to be aware of anyone avoiding the truth and making that choice that little bit more cloudy.
Choosing a photographer for your portraits is an important decision. It can cost you a lot of money, something like maternity photography can be very personal and subject to taste but most importantly the vision and creativity of the photographer is what defines their work that will hang on YOUR wall. Feel free to view my work and website, love it or hate it, it’s a matter of opinion. I also urge you to view other photographers websites, there are many talented pros out there. At the same time just be aware of the language and clichés used that are confusing and sometimes actually mean nothing at all!
Lost in Translation
"There is no minimum order and with NO hard selling. We just take beautiful portraits for you to choose from."
I ask this. What is the point of being business? To make a living wage and profit and not operate at a loss. Sure there may be no minimum order but no one simply takes portraits for the sake of it and for you to choose from. The very fact you will choose from a range images implies a sell doesn't it?
Although this statement is not strictly one to be cautious of, it is a slight mis-representation. Sure there may be no "hard selling" (whatever that is) but there will be selling and sales. What would be the point of camouflaging the fact that you as a consumer wants a service, a photographer offers that service and there will be an exchange of that service, products and money. We are all grown ups so let us be honest with each other.
"I aim to take exceptional images at realistic prices."
A classic photographic non-statement which does not mean a thing and is very misleading!
Do photographers really need to make the statement "I aim to take execeptional images"? Does this really need to be stated? What would the point be of paying for a photographer unless they were going to take some exceptional images? Would you hire a plumber who would attempt to fix your leak or a hair dressser who would aim to make your hair look great?
How do you quantify a realistic price? I will be honest, I would love to pay nothing for everything!
What would a realistic price be for a photograph mounted on solid gold or one that was printed on a home printer? Its very subjective but ultimately prices are driven by business. You cannot sell anything at a loss and the old adage "you get for what you pay" is very true. Be aware of photographers that charge "realistic" prices. They are very likely to use inferior materials or suppliers (how else could it be sold cheaply?) or not working within a "professional level standard". A person (including photographers) cannot live on shirt buttons alone and so the statement "realistic prices" is very telling about the product and service you are likely to recieve. But of course that may well be the exact thing you are looking for?
"We guarantee a relaxed photo session"
Wow! I wish you could guarantee that my children will behave on a photoshoot and I will be relaxed! The fact is that family portrait sessions can be stressful and they certainly are tiring. For a truly custom shoot everyone will need to put effort in, they are not a cookie cutter experience carried out with routine efficiency. Be wary of any service that offers guarantees that cannot be.... ummmmmm.... guaranteed.
"We are fully insured with a full CRB certificate"
Insurance is vital and you should check that your photographer is covered.
CRB (or DBS as it is known now) on the face of it an excellent idea but there are a couple of issues. An individual or business cannot carry out a CRB, you cannot self certificate. An agency may do it for you or the photographer has another employer. It is accepted practice that CRB covers only that place of work and there is also no official expiry date and are only "correct" at the time of the check rendering them virtually useless. I have a CRB from way back in 2006 but would that be a genuine thing for me to advertise on my services?
Let us get to the point. CRB allows work with the vulnerable on your own. This should NEVER happen with a photographer or studio. If you need to ask to see a CRB or unsure about a photographers intentions, I would highly suggest that they should not be used!
"What makes me different to the rest is my (pick one or all)
years of experience
If everyone is saying something like that, how on Earth can you be different? A professional I should hope would have one or some of those attributes by default! This translates as someone who is no different at all.
There are some awards out there which are very valuable and difficult to win. When thinking about an "award winning" photographer be sure to see who has awarded the prize. If it was from the National Portrait Gallery you may well be on to a winner, if it is an internet blogging list website (or similar), the award is next to worthless. Its a very easy statement to make and doesn't seem to need much to back it up.
In cyber space we can all be astronauts.
What does this mean? One again it is camouflage which supposedly "softens" the impact of having to spend money. Let us use plain English. When I buy clothes from a shop, I am not investing, I am shopping and spending money. Isn't it the same with a portrait? The investment is an emotional one and anyone using this language is likely to be at a "realistic price".
With the rise of photographers working across all types of genres and subjects, the choices that you are free to make have become far more confusing. When deciding on a photographer for your maternity or children’s portraits, being armed with information is very useful. What you decide is up to you however now you have some useful points to think about.
The first stage is to arrange your pre-shoot consultation which will take around 30 minutes. Let us know a convenient time to call you and leave me a phone number. If you have any initial questions at this time of course we would be happy to answer them when we talk.