Are photographers responsible to do better for their people? You are probably wondering what this means. I am not talking about doing better in regards of customer service, pricing, and editing. I am talking about taking care of people more like a friend, rather than a client! Offer genuine connection.
In light of Easter coming in a few days, I want to share my thoughts about how photography and faith can go hand in hand. I was challenged recently by our Lead Pastor at Christ’s Church Camden through an every day conversation. Jon probably doesn’t realize the impact his words made (He rarely does hahah. That is the mark of a good leader – humbly impactful), but it was a valuable AH-HA moment. Stay with me and hear me out.
Every photographer discovers shortly after starting how large of a one-man job they are taking on. Honing camera skills, natural & artificial lighting, customer service, marketing, client workflow, pricing, invoices, website design, social media content, editing, collaboration, SEO (that’s a doozy!)… There is an endless list of tasks to be completed that is all on the photographer’s shoulders. All while balancing family & friend life (Yikes! There are many days where you will wake up feeling like you failed these people). Maybe you have another job on top of that (Yup, those tasks above still need to get done even as a part time photographer). Is all of this overwhelming you yet? haha Just wait!
Jon made me realize Photography can be a ministry…
Now, Do not misunderstand me here! Photographers are not Pastors or therapists. However, Photographers are uniquely placed in peoples lives during the biggest milestones.
Usually these milestones are followed by huge life altering change that can be very emotional. Maybe it’s a couple getting married, a woman pregnant, a newborn session with first time parents, a senior portrait session before they go off into the world by themselves…. All wonderful moments, BUT highly emotional changes that would terrify any person who understands what just happened to them. Photography is a chance to speak life and God into these amazing individuals. NOT PUSH FAITH ON THEM! Big difference here!!!
Photographers are responsible to do better
Can you think of times when a stranger gave you a compliment and turned your whole day around for the better? As a photographer, we can do this on a bigger scale. In fact, I will be so bold as to say, WE HAVE A RESPONSIBILTY TO DO BETTER! (#mindblown) If you are a photographer & that does not scare you a little bit, then you are not grasping what I am saying!
Do not be THAT photographer. You know…the one that clicks, edits, and delivers like an assembly line. Be the Photographer with a HEART! Photography is not a manufactured business but a chance to be an authentic friend who happens to have a talent with Cameras.
We get to connect with people at their most vulnerable times and be a positive source for them. Even a resource in their community to help them get connected with people going through similar changes. Photographers meet new people ALL the time. It is time to utilize those connections to assist others! Including other photographers!
We can be an example on how to live life with God. Not by shoving faith in people’s face but by being a kind person. Eventually someone will say, “Wow there is something about you that I love. What you are doing that makes you so happy and how can I join?”.
How can you do this?
Have eyes and ears for the people you meet!
Look up groups, clubs, or services within your community that your clients can go to for help during their change!
Actually ask your clients questions about their life and learn WHO they are.
Be vulnerable and share your own personal experiences.
Be Kind! Every photographer will deal with upset clients at one point or another, but it’s up to you on how you react. Understand what they are telling you and care!
Share your Faith when curiosity stirs and people start to ask you questions.
Finally, Just try to do more!
Making a shift towards this mind set does not happen over night but through one kind thought & gesture at a time! In the beginning of each month, I write a list business tasks & personal gestures I would like to see happen. I look at the sessions I have scheduled for the month and think of ideas on how I can offer a more valuable connection to each client other than photography.
The goal is not to force faith on anyone. Just love your people and show kindness. Is this more time consuming and the harder path to walk down? Absolutely, but worth every step of resistance. At some point, you will see “returning clients” (BTW I hate saying clients because every single person is more than that to me) become family.
Walk away after reading this, and make a vow to do more! Photographers are responsible to do better!!!
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