Monthly Archives: January 2011

What do you do?

“what do you do?”

It’s not uncommon during the holidays and the New Year’s parties to be meeting new people and dealing with that common question.  It’s a simple one, with a myriad of answers.  It’s the question I feel obligated to ask every time I consider my business, my craft, my marketing, my clients, etc.  I ask it because, at the heart of it all, it is the only question that matters.  As we go out into the world, what we do is – whether we like it or not – how we are defined.

I could answer the question by saying, “I’m a photographer.”  There is a practical problem with that answer, as it seems as though there are a metric ton of other people describing themselves as such these days.  The more of us there are, the less we are worth, supply and demand being what they are.  So if I am to proceed making a living, I need to find a way to be more valuable and more meaningful to my clients.  I need to find a way to “do” something much more interesting, compelling and specific.

This blog was founded as a place to explore the idea of “doing” something far more meaningful than the description of what we do. It is an effort to help creative professionals like myself understand exactly how and why a client might hire us.  To do that, we have to go back to square one and understand why exactly we endeavored to combine our artistic pursuits with our professional ambition in the first place.  Why we do what we do is why we matter.

Please feel free to join in the discussion…What do you do?

- trr

New Mistakes

I started this blog with the intention of sharing the stuff I learned the hard way.  I came at the photography business from a slightly different position than most of my colleagues.  My wife actually started the business and instead of being a dutiful, supportive husband and providing a nice supplementary income to take care of the expenses while she established herself, I went and got fired from my day job on my birthday ( an unfortunate side-effect of being a totally horrible employee!).  So I became a photographer out of necessity.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I actually love it.  I work really hard to learn the craft and do it as well as I can.  Nevertheless, it became clear to me as the supporting member of the business that one of us needed to figure out what being in business as a photographer meant.  For me, being in business was a scary thing, because my BFA, my Master’s in English and my disdain for the corporate world really didn’t teach me anything about how to run business.

So we made a lot of mistakes, and we fixed the root causes of those mistakes.  And we went out and searched for the information on how to get it done.  The good news is that the information is out there.  We’re going to share links, excerpts, opinions, manifestos and whatever else we can think of in order to help creative entrepreneurs make a whole new set of mistakes instead of the ones we’ve already made.

So I hope you enjoy reading about the stuff  that we learned the hard way, and I’d encourage you to send any questions, dilemmas and crises my way – [email protected].

thanks, and stay tuned…

- trr

By |January 31st, 2011|Purpose|1 Comment

Does a studio space help bookings?

Question – “Does having a studio, or a place of business, make a client more inclined to book you?”

Shannon Price- Shannon Price Photography

Sure it does.  But it isn’t necessary – yet

If it is standard in your market for photographers to operate without a commercial location then having one obviously differentiates you in a tangible way.  Your studio can be an indicator of achievement or financial stability.  A studio space also provides an opportunity for the artist to make a statement about who they are and what they do on a compelling level, which is perhaps the greatest advantage.  Where your studio is located tells the market who you think your perfect client is.  The look of your studio indicates how you feel about your work, and consequently how we should feel about it.  It tells us how reverentially you treat your work, how it should be displayed, how you like (or demand?) to be treated, etc.

So how do you know that you are ready to make the leap to a commercial space, or that you are being held back by not having one?

I think it comes at the time in your business development when you can articulate exactly who you want to work with and what specifically you want to create.  The studio space will help you communicate to your target market that you are the studio for them.  It will help you stand out through its existence, location, decor, appearance, mood, etc.  It will also have a significant impact on the physical work that you sell.   Your studio allows you to display your work at its best.  It allows you to take the big picture (the meaning of the brand, the purpose and ideals of the creator/founder, the meaning the work has in the client’s life) and distill it down to the tangible product level.  If you know what you want to sell, a studio space allows you to offer and celebrate your work in an attractive and tangible way.

For many creative pros, these questions take a little time to figure out.   If you know who you want to work with, and what you want to sell them, a space is a massive advantage.  To answer the original question, having a commercial space makes a client more inclined to book you in that it helps the right client find you and know that you are the right photographer for them.

Now, whether or not you can afford a studio space?  That’s a topic for a future post – stay tuned!

- trr