As we look at the businesses we patronize; the places we chose to spend our money, our choices really don’t always make sense.  There is always that one restaurant that offers $10 hamburgers that we go to because it is “fun”.  We could get a better hamburger, cheaper elsewhere, but we spend the extra money for the perceived fun, experience and/or entertainment value we place on dining there.  You can find this “Fun Factor” in many of the choices we make as consumers, quite simply put we will spend more if it is fun or enjoyable.

Then we look at photographers, a group that many, from the beginning of their careers, are convinced we are so special, so gifted in their abilities that clients will flock to their studios the moment they open their doors because they are “gifted artists”.  We may have some “gifted artists” (whatever that self-proclaimed title means) but as business people many photographers “ride the short bus!”  Lets be honest,  I don’t care how good you are, or think you are, there are at least 2 to 10 photographers in your market area that are just as good as you are, from a potential client’s perspective.  You may have one more ribbon, or scored a point higher in a print or folio competition, but let’s be honest, they are as good as you.  If they are at your level of skill, they will probably be at the same or similar level of pricing.  So from an untrained, average client, you and your nearest competitor are basically the same…you both take nice pictures and charge about the same price.  WHAT’S LEFT?  Your studio locations… if you are similar in your skills and the price you charge, each of you will have a studio that projects a similar level of quality and niceness.

When all is said and done the one factor that most businesses rely on to set themselves apart and be able to charge more for what they do, photographers never even consider….FUN!  The experience of doing business with Your business is huge…from a business perspective.  The experience of the session and doing business with your photography business is as important as the images themselves from a business perspective and the ability to set yourself/your business apart from your nearest competitor.  Let me make one thing clear…I am not talking about a Boutique Experience…you don’t need to offer champagne and foot messages in your waiting area to improve your experience…Boutique doesn’t work in times like these for most businesses.  Fun, how many times the client laughs or even cries, how special do they feel!  Do they feel like Kim Kardashian on a shoot, or do they feel like they are back in school sitting on a cold stool being photographed by a guy that has the personality of a stump!

Maybe you don’t have it in you to be fun or just aren’t a “fun guy or gal”…then hire an assistant who is warm, caring and fun!  So many photographers and assistants are like wall flowers, no personality in the photographer and/or staff means no experience.  In economic times like these, for  minimum wage, you can hire great young people to assist you who can brighten up any room just by entering it.  If you don’t seriously look at the experience of doing business with your company, the “Fun Factor” you will never be as successful as you could be and as competitive as things are in this profession the difference between success and failure can come down to laughter!


~ by jeffsmithbooks on May 5, 2011.


  1. great advise for both photography and life. example “learning to fly” love your photos.

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