Best Photographer in South Jersey
This phrase above.. It means NOTHING… so if you call yourself the best photographer in South Jersey.. You aren’t. Know why? Every photographer probably thinks they are the best in the area. Here’s the thing… I don’t. I don’t have that ego. Now, can I give you my best and try for my best on a personal level? Yes! This is what I wish to do. Do I give you everything I have in myself for every session or client encounter? You sure bet. I honestly try. I believe there are a lot of great photographers in the New Jersey area. I even LOVE seeing other styles. One’s other vision. I don’t know if I could hire the same photographer for everything. So.. to say the best.. Nah. Not even close.
There’s a general theme in this industry. Fear. I think for most photography business owners, they have a general fear of talking to other people, in this technology age and can’t deal with rejection/objections well. So I think there is a lot of fear in the beginning of this journey. Whether it’s getting started.. and getting clients. Or clients not liking your work after a session. Or a possible issue may come up and they don’t have the experience to truly handle it.
I believe most photographers feel more confident BEHIND the screen/camera. Emailing, scheduling, then showing up, snap snap.. click click.. then delivering of their client photos. The least possible interaction they can have with their client. This is the truth. They just want to show up get paid and get paid to shoot… because they do love it.. otherwise, they would not have gotten into this industry.
I think a lot of photographers also never put a ton of though into starting their own businesses. The general story goes like this.. I got a camera for a gift. I got a new camera at Christmas or they may have bought one because they were going on a nice vacation and wanted to take better photos (this is how it started with me).
They kept taking more photographs. Started taking portraits of their own kids.. their friends… then it evolves from there. This becomes the “portfolio.”
The photographer then decides they wish to open up a business. They go out and get their sole proprietorship, or LLC through the state (which I did), purchase insurance, get their website in gear and they think.. awesome.. I’m ready to rock and roll.. I’m a photographer now!
Then what happens is this.. they struggle finding business. They then take the quick and easy route. Make the biggest mistake.. they charge cheap and don’t factor in their costs of business. Then they get stuck in this black hole. Trying to scratch their ways back upwards. It’s a GIGANTIC hole to scratch. Trust me.
Are you the best photographer you can be?
What happens after this.. they get too busy because they are charging cheap.. they forget to build on their craft.. because they don’t have the time (they’re behind the computer 16/18 hours a day) and this puts them back into a cycle of just bad… You need to grow in this business. It’s a given. I have been around such a small little blip of a fraction compared to those that have been in the business pre-digital. What also happens is that some photographers don’t keep good accounting, some are bad at marketing and targeting their wrong demographic. Some just have no people skills so it reflects on their customer service. I think EVERY photograph suffers from one of the few I just listed.
Here’s what happens. The photographer has a HUGE A-HA moment. They start to realize EVERYTHING they are doing is wrong. Or they aren’t making the $$$ they should be.. They then start to wonder why.
So… what does it mean to be the best photographer in South Jersey?
For myself, I got busy…. and overwhelmed. From the time I started, I charged cheap and would say my skills were at least semi-decent starting out (of course we all need work and to try and get better each year we go into)… especially for the sessions I charged $40 for. My moment was looking at my kids around Thanksgiving and realized we didn’t do much the past year. They were now bigger and I cannot take this time back. That I spent MOST of my days WORKING. Now, even today I spent 5 hours editing… but most days I spent 16 sometimes 18 hours days behind a computer, if I wasn’t out at a session. I realized I killed myself and essentially my family lost their mom.
My goals, as I trek forward, are less scheduling and sessions on the books, better efficiency, better time management (try and limit myself to a set schedule daily) and HUGE HUGE EMPHASIS ON CUSTOMER SERVICE and their experiences with me this year. It won’t be like years past where I am doing so much volume. Unfortunately, when doing so much.. the customer service side does tend to slack. I don’t want my clients to be numbers. I want to build on relationships.
Generally, I think people in society need to start practicing talking to one another. We have seriously lost base with connecting with people. I think this is how businesses thrive or anyone really thrives in life. My belief is, if you can learn to talk to people and give them that little bit extra of yourself.. of your business, of just generally caring… treat people like they are HUMAN. Treat them with kindness, respect and make them feel good about themselves and just shush it and LISTEN to their needs and wants. . These few things will and should go a long way in running a business. It’s important for people to feel validated.
So.. my goals in moving ahead in 2018, are fine tuning my business. I feel like I was a failure this last year. It was a fantastic year financially, but I feel like I lost touch base with people. Of course I have wonderful clients who return year after year and a few times of year.. but I want to just listen more.. Be more available to them. I want to create special relationships with people.. I feel I lost base because of the amount of sessions and sheer volume I had.
I want to get back to the basics.. I want to create better relationships, as I move ahead and just build a better business.. I feel like I grew a good business, but.. I just want more.. I want better.. I am always striving to make things just a little better as I move forward and I want my kids to have their mom back, too.
And this is why I want to be the Best Photographer in South Jersey!
Happy Shooting, my friends!
Shooting Star Photography