Transform: it's a single word, with deep implications.
Read on if you want to make a difference, and subsequently have that change you for the better and potentially, richer.
“Do you transform people's lives through your photography business?” When I first heard Steve Saporito pose the question, I didn't know what he was talking about. I admit, it felt a little woo-woo. After a week-long workshop with him, the light bulbs started going on.
I realized that most photographers wait to discover their clients at the photo session or at the wedding. In fact, I confess doing just that.
I would excitedly send out a questionnaire the second someone came knocking on my website for a family portrait session or wedding. As soon as I had hit “send”, I figured my job was done and all I needed to do was to just wait for their responses.
All I got back in return were … crickets. Frankly, the replies came but often only minutes before a session or not fully completed. It left me feeling helpless and slightly frustrated because I did not know my clients at all. We were completely out of sync from the get-go. Can you imagine the quality of their photographs? They were emotionally flat, almost absent. And that was my doing, not theirs.
I foolishly figured my branding, website and messaging had to change. Or, was it my portfolio? Or, did I have to up my social media game?
No, in all honestly, none of that mattered more than the experience I was providing my clients. And it was poor. Something had to give and that's when I approached Steve Saporito at his New Haven, Connecticut workshop. My photography business was in a critical condition. I had to make changes and fast.
Thanks to Steve, I experienced a mind-shift. What would happen, I wondered, if I took the time to get to know my clients in a meaningful way that helped them be seen, heard and loved by the people in their lives right now? Ahead of their session, our clients would have an opportunity to reconnect with their family in a way that makes the entire process of being photographed together a joyous event. That's where and when the transformation takes place. And the transformation isn't limited to just your clients. Indeed, you as their photographer experience it as well.
Ultimately, clients reward you for giving them this beautiful experience before their session and for the artwork that become a permanent anchor to their heightened emotions. The
Really, there is a lot more to this than a blog post can cover. If you get a chance to listen to Steve speak (podcasts or at conferences), don't miss out. A couple of weeks after attending his workshops again (yes, again) in New Jersey, I invited Steve to a Skype call that I figured wouldn't last more than 10 or 15 minutes. But here we are chatting about all of this for about 45 minutes. It's a good long listen, but I assure totally worth your time:
I want to thank my friends Jasen Arias and Mike Allebach for persuading me to attend Steve's workshop in New Jersey. Like a lot of you, I hummed and hawed about going. I conjured up all kinds of excuses. In the end though, my goal to know how to be fully present for my portrait clients, trumped all attempts to bow out.
Without hyperbole, let me tell you that Steve's workshops ARE the best business workshops I've ever attended. And, I will go back for more in the future.
If you are spinning your wheels and have no clue how to resuscitate your photography business, ping me and I'll let you know more about my experience at the Empower & Effortless Premières workshops. The next one in North America is going to be in Toronto, Canada, from October 5th through October 11th.
To quote Jasen and Mike, “Just put it on the credit card and go dude. You'll pay it off in no time.” So true!