I struggled to come up with a name for this blog, purely because the content is equally as difficult to explain. I’m going to try to use analogies where possible to keep it simple. (for me to write not you to read!)
I was chatting with some of my friends who are also photographers recently and we stumbled upon a video from another photographer who also advertises themselves as a videographer. My initial opinion of the video is that it was of very poor quality, lacked great content and the subject looked extremely awkward in front of the camera. I almost sent a message to the photographer to say that it was potentially damaging their brand as they, usually, produce work of a good standard.
I mentioned this to my friends and asked their opinions on it…
“A client might not know that it isn’t good, in fact if they’ve got no idea about video they might think its great..”
Shit. I would have never looked at it in that way.
And that really set me thinking. Education is a huge part of a photography business. By education I don’t mean learning new skills and techniques, I mean photographers educating their clients/potential clients on “What Good Looks like”, referring back to some of my old retail management jargon there.
That’s all well and good, but what happens if the client skips that education phase and jumps in at the deep end to book a photographer/videographer or whatever without having an idea of what good does look like.
Let’s imagine you’re hungry ( I don’t have to imagine, I’m on a fecking diet!!) and you fancy eating something you’ve never eaten before. You head out into the high street and stumble across a market stall selling “Snail soup”, and in this instance you’ve never eaten snail soup before (I don’t even know if that is a thing). You go up to order and the lady behind the desk charges you £10 for a bowl of soup. Expensive is probably your first thought, but who are you to judge, you’ve never ordered or eaten it before.
You receive your bowl, which is more comparable to a tea cup, you know that kind you can’t your finger through the holder because its too small. You have your first taste. Not sure if you like it, you take another and after three mouthfuls you’ve finished your Snail soup.
Two things are now true. That is without a shadow of a doubt the best snail soup you’ve ever eaten. It’s also the most expensive investment you’ve ever made in the Snail Soup market.
Now let’s use that same analogy in photography. If a client has never ventured into the market, how do they know what is expensive or cheap or what is good or bad. They’ve got no temperature check without education or recommendation. In essence, if the client doesn’t do their own research and goes with a first or second option then there is very little opportunity for them to be educated by photographers. Now the fact may be that they do the research and meet several people, get educated and still go with the first person they met. At least now they have made an educated decision.
So circling back around to the title of this blog; Value Vs Education Vs Real World…
I guess in any creative market there is a disparity between value and quality that is available. I know photographers who charge large amounts for commercial work, but they can justify it to the clients because of the quality they produce.
This justification IS education.
But, this is the real world. No matter how good someone is, how much they educate the client, there will still be that one person who then either does it themselves instead of booking a pro, or, aims at the low end anyway because they just don’t get it. This is also an educated decision.
Not all educated decisions are smart decisions.
So I guess in writing this blog, I was trying to find an answer to a question I didn’t really ask. To be honest, I don’t really know what the question is. However, I do believe there is room in the market for educated clients and uneducated clients. As creatives we just have to figure out which ones we’d like to work with.
I certainly know which I’d prefer.
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