Salonee Pareek is the better half of Ramit Batra Photography. She assists Ramit at his shoots and chronicles their experiences on their blog. When not travelling, or writing, she loves to spend her time with her books and can be found on Twitter.
A few days ago, I had the chance to interact with a prospective client and a fellow wedding photographer. The interaction was around two terms – one listed above, mentioned by the photographer – the dream client; and another what the dream client said “… if someone can put their heart and soul into doing a great job of the photography”. This got me thinking about our expectations as photographers and our clients' expectations for us and how it is like walking a tightrope to manage both of these expectations.
For a photographer, perhaps, there is no greater feeling than working for a client that wants the photographer to put her heart and soul in her photography. What would my dream client be like?
Realistically, what does a client really want? This may not be a million dollar question, but is definitely worth a few thousand dollars to us photographers. Some of us went to school or college and studied the craft of photography and some of us learned it in a more hands-on manner. But most of us have developed a manner of photography, we call our own, even as it changes and develops over time. There are certain things one is willing to do, and quite a few things one is not prepare to commit. And at the end of a hard day, we all want a client that appreciates our work and sees in it, a good value for her money.
While I am in no position to generalise, I have worked for clients who have appreciated the hard work I put in, gone a few steps further and asked for suggestions as to what would help me do my job better. And some, who have at the very outset, communicated the desire to always be in control of me and directed me to work accordingly. It is the latter variety that I am wary of. Here's why: because that does not come across to me as being honest. It appears as though this person only requires a camera operator with good equipment, not someone who uses their mind to control their equipment and create photographs the way only they can.
And thus began my dream of my ideal client. And here’s what I dreamed of:
My dream client would have some awareness about photography, if not especially about wedding photography. She would see me as a professional doing her work and not merely a camera controller. She would not vanish at the mere mention of payments (quite frankly, I know a lot of fellow photographers who have had brides vanish as soon as they receive an estimate). She will want to hire me as she likes my work, and not because she thinks I would do well to ape another’s style. Most of all, she will inspire me to create not merely capture.
Wow! Now that is quite a wish-list.
About being the client’s dream photographer? That would be another day, another story.
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Respond to these questions below: Can you describe your dream client? What would she or he be like? What are your expectations? What, typically, are theirs? (I'll pick the best responses on August 1st. Winners will be notified by email so please use an email address you check regularly when you post your answers.)