Never in a million years did I expect to be on the receiving end of a text message where a potential client asked me to photograph them using their camera. Nor did I expect for her to tell me she could process the image files also.
But I was. It happened to me. ME! Not Suzie Photographer up the street, Me.
At first I laughed out loud. Spit soda out of my nose and thought to my self, ‘Seriously? Ain’t nobody got time for that!’
Once I got my wits back, I shared this screen shot in two photography groups I am a part of. I was looking for ideas on how to respond.
I wanted response ideas. I wanted to treat this potential client better more professional than she had treated me. I wanted to educate her that I was not just photographing because I have a nice camera that happens to take nice images. I wanted her to know that I am a professional in my heart and mind even if she does not see me as a professional.
Another reason I wanted to respond to her in a professional manner is because I believe branding is what people say about you when you leave the room. I did not want to leave a bad taste in her mouth by responding with something like, ‘Ain’t nobody got time for that’ or ‘I charge double to use your camera’ or ‘Are you kidding me? Now it’s not my camera that takes good pictures?’, or no response at all.
All of those responses would have done the trick but what would they really have communicated to the potential client? Nothing positive for my brand. She would have found some girlfriends to talk to, that would have taken her side. Made her feel better about her question. Then the snarkiness would be unleashed.
Gossip , I mean, through word of mouth, my name and brand would be drug through the mud. My business would die.
What did I do? Well, I messaged her back and asked for her email address. Why? Because I do not believe texting or iMessaging is the most appropriate place for me to respond to someone. I debated calling her. I also knew that calling her would be VERY awkward. So I opted for email.
Here is my response:
Thank you so much for contacting me about professional family portraiture!
I appreciate your offer to use your camera and for you to edit the images. Realistically, I can not take you up on your offer. I am in a relationship with my equipment. I love it and it loves me back equally. I know exactly which buttons to push to make it do exactly what I need it to do. The funny thing is my camera does not mind when I push its’ buttons (unlike husbands lol). In fact, it encourages me to push its’ buttons more and more!
Also, the city of Springfield has instituted a $25 an hour fee that photographers are required to pay to shoot in any of the city parks. In response to that fee, I have been shooting in not park settings. If a client is set on being photographed in one of the city parks, I require them to pay the fee.
Currently, I am running a fall family portrait special: up to a one hour session, one outfit, 25-30 fully edited images on a personalized jump drive, a private online ordering gallery and a $50 print credit for $XXX plus tax.
I am attaching a copy of my current pricing for your to review. I am happy to extend to you the neighborhood discount, no session fee.
I have an opening this Saturday October 19th at 11 am. Will this work for you?
Let me know what questions you have!”
Eleven days later and still no response from her. I am okay with not hearing from her or not booking a session with her. I am not the photographer for everyone.
Have you had a situation like this arise? How did you handle it?