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Posts Tagged ‘Missy MWAC’

Seventy Six Years Ago

Friday, June 5th, 2015

srgb

Guest blog by Missy Mwac
Seventy Six Years Ago

This is a photo of my dad in 2nd grade.

He is the one on the second row, far left, with a very serious middle part and mischief written all over his face.

It was taken in 1939.

I’m not good at math, but according to my calculations, this image is 76 years old.

76 years old.

There are very few items I possess that are this age or older. A couple pieces of furniture…some jewelry…handkerchiefs from my grandmother. My children never knew my dad; they only know him from photographs. And this photo has hung in our hallway for years.

I don’t know where technology will go; everything is changing and moving and phasing in and out at the blink of an eye. If you had told me five years ago that Apple laptops would no longer come with a CD drive, I would have laughed and asked what you were smoking.

And there’s a big part of me that loves that; a big part of me that is happy to ride the techno wave into the future. After all, I’m able to share this with you all because of technology.

But the only reason I have it to share in the first place is BECAUSE it was printed. And I think forward 50 years, when the most photographed generation on the planet is becoming grandparents themselves.

What will their grandchildren have to remember them by?

A paper photograph…or that digital file that was given to them by their photographer but is now lost in the back of a junk drawer somewhere because they never got around to printing it.

When this school photo was carried home in my dad’s excited little second grade hands, he had no way of knowing that 76 years later, his daughter and grandchildren would consider it one of their most prized possessions.

My dear photographer friends…I don’t believe creating and selling extraordinary prints for our clients to pass down from generation to generation is selfish or old-fashioned or out of date…I believe it’s our job.

xoxo
#‎pixelsareforsharingbutprintsareforpreserving
#‎printwhatyouwantopreserve

The Client is Not the Enemy

Friday, December 5th, 2014

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Guest blog by Missy MWAC
The Client is Not the Enemy

A terrorist is an enemy.
A piece of French bread at a Gluten-Free Support Group is an enemy.
A pair of stilettos on your feet at an all day wedding is an enemy.
Off Camera Flash to a Natural Light Photographer is an enemy.
But a client? A client is NOT an enemy.

But you wouldn’t know that by listening to some photographers.

Now, I wasn’t going to even write a post like this, because I’ve touched on this topic before in a previous post. But after reading recently how some photographers:
*say they charge clients MORE if they can’t post their images online
*REFUSE a clients’ request to keep them off social media and post them online anyway
*say they charge an ADDITIONAL FEE if a client is running late to their session and make them wait…
well, I just can’t wrap my brain around this logic. (Note: I always marvel at the “additional fee/surcharge” option. Good luck on collecting that.)

And I wondered when this Client-as-Enemy thing happened? And why?

So, as I do when faced with a perplexing question, I popped a pod into the Keurig, and with coffee in hand, walked around the kitchen talking to myself until it all made sense. Now, I talk to myself a lot, mostly because I’m the only who will listen to my ramblings.

And after several laps around the kitchen table, I realized what I’ve known all along…that photographers have been tricked into this way of thinking by those who have sold them on the idea that as an Artist (read: Ar-teest) they should not go out of their way in the slightest to accommodate a client; that if a client has a differing view, then they are not respectful of you or your photography and should be kicked to the curb.

And while that may be true now and then, the vast majority have made Clients the Enemy due to a normal business situation handled wrongly.

In a Nutshell: We demonize a client rather than realize this is all just part and parcel of doing business; that most of what we encounter are not problems, but rather, the price of doing business.

Hello? McFly?

And it’s hard to fully blame photographers; it’s what many have been taught, even paid good money to learn.

Workshop Givers who teach the “Are You Good Enough for Me” Qualifying Methods: Namely, the suggestion that prospective clients should answer a series of email questions to determine if they are a “Good Fit” for you. My hand to God, those words “if we are a good fit” are part of the email. I’ll tell ya right now, if a business required me to answer that before they’d speak to me, I would press the delete key faster than I can down a vodka and club soda. And that’s fast. Because the words “good fit” are read by many, including me, to mean “good enough.” Are you “good enough” for me to photograph? Yikes. I even felt weird typing that just now. Qualifying a client through your marketing and pricing is one thing. Asking them to prove themselves is another.

Business “coaches” who preach in the church of “Make it All About You.” It’s a growing congregation filled with parishioners all named “ME.” The sermon is always the same: YOU are what’s most important; not the client. Now, they don’t come right out and SAY that the client isn’t important, but just as 2+2=4, you can reason that if YOU are what’s most important, then, the client must not be. (I hope that math is right. I’m bad with math.) Note: The church of “Make it All About You” will pass around the collection plate and you will be required to pay up. Oh yes, you will.

Charge ‘Em More if They Bother You: I see this a lot. I call it a ”how-dare-they” surcharge.
How dare they not want me to post their images?
How dare they run late for their session?
How dare they reschedule?
How dare they change their order?

Succeeding at making the Client the Enemy will win you a small victory. Sure. But it won’t win you a loyal client or repeat business. Remember, clients can spend their money anywhere, but if they choose to spend it with us, shouldn’t we make it the best experience possible? I mean, don’t we want the people with whom we give our money to bend over backwards for us and make us feel special and wanted?

Now, you certainly don’t have to listen to me. This is, after all, YOUR business, so if you don’t want to work with clients to make it a great experience, then don’t. I realize you might have paid good money to hear from a business coach that it should be all about YOU and you want to get your money’s worth. If that’s the case, then allow me to help you take those rotten clients to task and then shame them online.

Feel free to copy and past the following:

“I am Sooooooooo angry. I had a client: (pick one of the following issues)
*make me wait
*not like their pictures
*request I take more
*reschedule a session
*change their order

I am furious. I mean, who do they think they are? Just because they’ve paid me money they think they have a say. I’ve gone out of my way twice for them-what more do they want? At this point, THEY need to prove themselves to me, not the other way around, right?”

Yeah, that will show ‘em.

xoxo

Print What You Want to Preserve

Monday, September 15th, 2014

srgb

Guest blog by Missy MWAC
#whyweprint

[The discussion recently arose on my Facebook wall about giving clients digital files because that’s “what they want,” and I’m glad it did, because it’s an important discussion to have. This is my response to the “digital only” conversation. Warning: I took it waaaay down. So far down, that I became exhausted and had to watch SNL reruns on Netflix to counter the effects…]

I may be out of touch, it’s true. And while I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed, I really do try to stay on top of what is trending and what is about to trend. It’s kind of my thing.

As you recall, back in the days o’ film, the phone would ring and the caller would ask that question that made many a photographers’ eyes roll: “How much is an 8×10?” If I had a dime for every time, right? And, we knew…just knew… that what they were asking was not really the price of an 8×10 (although I’m sure there was a percentage for whom that was ALL they wanted to know.)

No, they asked “How much is an 8×10?” because it’s all they knew to ask. They wanted to know price, sure, but what that question really meant was:

“Why should I pick YOU?”
“Am I going to love these?” “What if I don’t?”
“Are you right for me?”
“If I pick you, will I be happy with my choice.”
“Tell me why YOU are the right photographer for me.”

Of course, they didn’t come out and say that. Instead, they asked, “How much is an 8×10?”

Now, that question could be answered according to the “what clients want” theory: they WANT the price of an 8×10, so give it to them and be done with the phone call.

Or…we could dig deeper to find out what they REALLY want.

Fast forward to now and the digital age. I happen to love it. I really do. Digital photography has made possible things that have stretched the imagination and broadened the mind. Heck, you and I are talking because of digital communication. And, for many photographers, digital technology has changed their final product.

Why? Why did it change? Were clients banging down the door demanding digital images only…or were we quick to hand them over, stick a fork in it, and say, “I’m done.”

Personally, I think it’s the latter.

Again, why? Well, with digital only, we don’t have to sell. And selling, well, the thought produces tremors in a lot of people. And then, having sold, we have to produce a product. And then, we have to hope the clients like the product. And then, we have to deliver the product.

All that…when you could slap ‘em on a CD, grab a little pocket change and be done? Well, it’s easy to see, at least to me, why that became attractive and “the thing to do.” (Not to mention this was advocated and promoted by those who stood to profit from the shift to digital only. Of course, that’s a whole other conversation.)

But…I submit it is not always what clients want…even when they say it is. Like the 8×10, they think they need to ask: “Can I get the CD?” That’s what their friends did, right? And that’s the offer they are getting everywhere they turn, so they figure it’s “what’s done.” And, having received the CD, or USB drive, or online gallery, the images will be shared for a week or so, and then, the excitement will wane and the disk will be placed in a drawer.

And it will be forgotten.

Sure, a handful might, just might, print them. Will they look how YOU intended them? After all, your name is on them, so you better hope so. I say the odds are doubtful.

The bottom line, at least, to me, is that we have devalued many things in this industry: the work, the final product, the relationships between client and photographer, the way we market…(examples are happily given for all of these upon request) and it’s time we get back to making things MEAN something again.

I believe we do that by creating a print for our client…something that lasts. I might give a social media copy to share online, but I believe my job isn’t done until I place a paper photograph in their hand, because I believe that the ONLY tangible thing we give our clients shouldn’t be a USB drive.

And, I believe their grandkids will one day be grateful.

xoxo