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Is your photography business a sinking ship?

I heard a great phrase today:  “Rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic”.

From Wiktionary “(idiomatic) To do something pointless or insignificant that will soon be overtaken by events, or that contributes nothing to the solution of a current problem.”

More about that in a bit.

Recently I met with a couple who is looking for a photographer for their summer 2014 wedding.

(Side note:  WTH is with the 2014 clients?  I’ve never had bookings this late EVER in my career.)

 

Engaged just a month, they were planning the wedding quickly, but that’s not super unusual.   As we chatted about their wedding photography, I noted that they used a lot of industry jargon in describing what they wanted.  So I asked if they had done a lot of research on photographers.

 

The bride lit up and said “Yes! We started out with a list of 80 that we contacted.  Of the 80, 60 were available.  But only 30 were in our budget range, so that’s who we are meeting with”

I blinked.

And I thought to myself, no…no, she’s saying it wrong.   “You’re considering 30, or you are meeting with 30?”   She and Groomie exchanged a “Oh I know I am so silly, but OMG you are so adorable” look and she confirmed “Meeting with 30. Photography is VERY important to us”
I wish with all my heart I had some hidden camera video of my face when she said this to me.   All I can recall for sure is thinking “Keep your eyebrows down and don’t let your mouth hang open”.   In that moment, I knew that this was not going to work out.  I’ve had some consultations that went bad, like the douchecanoe client, but this couple was NICE.  They really though they were doing their due diligence. They cheerfully admitted that they were seeing 5-7 photographers PER WEEK and planned on making their decision by the end of the month.

 

So I asked.  I asked why they were spending the equivalent of one work week interviewing photographers.  They looked perplexed and the bride said “Well, like I said, photography is VERY important to us.  We are meeting with people because we understand that pricing is very different and we want to make sure we are getting the best bang for our buck ”

I nodded.  ” Can you tell me specifically what about the photos on the website that spoke to you?” She asked me to clarify. I pointed out that of those 30 photographers I was sure that they had very different styles and some photographs on their sites must have appealed to her more than others.

 

She shrugged and said “Well sure, some of the websites were nicer and easier to get around. But as far as if any photos stood out?  Well, I like the ones where the light is behind people. You do that, right?”

And then, I wept for my industry.

 

Photography is not the most important thing to this couple.  What is important is getting photos at the price point that they desire. To them this is no different than shopping for a car.  The features may be different, but the end result to them is the same.  They pay monies, they get photos.

This is going to happen more and more as professional photography becomes more “mainstream” to people.  The art of photography is not the mystery it once was.

 

“Rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic”. 
You know what I’m talking about.  Revamping your website every three months because the last three months of inquiries were dismal.  Adding albums to your middle packages because maybe THAT will get them to buy.  We’re not sure if the ship is sinking, but dammit, these chairs are gonna look GREAT if we go down!

Are you rearranging deck chairs?
Full steam ahead?
Or jumping ship?

 

*This blog post is sourced from a popular email-only content sent to subscribers a few months ago*

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