It took roughly five years to learn the lesson the lesson that helped increase my bookings. That lesson was show fewer styles to book more.
How is that possible? I would assume that hiring a photographer who can do landscape, food photography, weddings, fashion, portraits and newborn photography is an asset! That is what I used to think. You want me to downgrade my abilities in order to be considered an asset? You want me to hide my talents and expertise to make someone feel better? Nope, that's not what I will be doing, thank you very much! Then I realized the key was to view change my perception and put myself in the place of the hiring person. It was that easy, just change my perspective and see it through their eyes, and I began seeing the hiring process differently.
Are You a Master?
Here's a way to explain this. You want to be excellent at something, not good at many things. For the mundane and ordinary, you can be just good enough, unless you want something specialized and unique. What's unique? A wedding photographer or the baby's first photo shoot is anything but mundane. It's a unique and special time in our lives. What about a 50th anniversary party or a profile photograph for your new job? Those are all special events and deserve more than just good enough.
Clients want a master for those special moments. They want someone who has experience and opinions, someone who will hold their hand through the process. Photographers, for the most part, fall into special moments of life. This is beautiful, and this calls for a master, not a jack of all trades.
How do you know if a photographer is a master in their line of work? Generally, they show one or two styles over and over. They've been able to master these styles and produce success over and over. That type of expertise justifies a higher fee, because you are a master in that style. You're the go-to person.
People Want to Look Good
What does this mean? It means that you have an obligation to make the person who hired you look good. That's really what everyone desires. They want to be the hero, the one who gets the credit, and you should help them. Knowing this is a big help, because you can position your pitch differently.
Who is hiring you? Is it a junior ad executive looking for a raise or promotion? Help them look good by being a master at something. Make it easy for them to hire you from the pool of selects. How can you increase your chances of getting hired? If you want to do product photography, make sure your website shows predominantly product photography. Show them that you can produce successful shoots over and over. You've captured perfume bottles, jewelry, and beautiful shoes. Show them product photographs of watches, savory drinks, and electronics.
Do not complicate their decision-making process by adding landscape photographs, wedding photographs, some medium format film, fashion catalog work, then product photography. Show them you're the master, not the jack of all trades. Make the hiring decision.
Who do you think the new producer will hire? Will they risk their reputation on a jack of all trades or a master?
Make Them the Hero
Another way to look at it is to make them the hero! Make them look so good that they come back to you again and again, never risking any shoots with another photographer. The video explains this in far more detail.
In the example of the junior ad executive, do you think they will use your services when they leave to another agency? It's a no-brainer!