Opposites attract…. and what do they attract? BUSINESS!

yin-yangSuccess is NOT the norm.   Therefore, who should you model for your business?

First, a quote:

“Ignore the conventional wisdom, if everybody else is doing it one way, there’s a good chance you can find your niche by going in exactly the opposite direction.”Sam Walton

One of the definitions for success in my photography business is looking around at what other photographers in my area are doing, and doing the opposite. (Which is easy for me – I’m pretty independent!)

You see, the sad truth is:  most people in business are NOT truly successful.  More people tend to fail than to succeed.  So, if you try to copy what others in your area are doing, you’re probably copying things that are really not working as well as you may think!

That’s why it is SO vital that you model your photography business after photographers who you know are WHERE YOU WANT TO BE, both creatively and financially.

So, with that in mind, let’s look at a couple examples!

First, I see so many photographers using online galleries for showing their images to their clients.

I do the opposite!  And there’s a VERY good reason for that…

We only project our images, using a laptop, digital projector and 40″x50″ white canvas in a frame over a sofa. It’s the reason so many of our clients invest in wall portraits!

While most photographers struggle with getting their clients to even order, we have our clients happily displaying our work in their home in adequate sizes, and thanking us for it!

Plus, I REALLY want to see their reaction to the first image – I want tears, darn it! And boy do we get them, and you just don’t get that passion and enthusiasm with online galleries, and thus the orders are smaller as is the client satisfaction.

Another opposite? We only show our clients 15 images, maybe 20 if they had a rather large family and we photographed smaller groups as well.

Most photographers are so excited about the images, so they will show 50, maybe 100 images, and really confuse their clients! Human nature as it is – the client will often ask -”there are so many! Can we get a disk or take them home and call you?” Resist this urge, edit down carefully, and present the images properly and prosper!

This is a tough one for many photographers, and I understand that.  But you MUST realize, this is not a business about QUANTITY of images.  It’s simply not.  It’s all about QUALITY of images.   Some of the best sales I’ve ever had  (the highest profit and largest sizes) have come from presentation sessions where I only showed them about 5-10 images!  No joke!

Don’t make it too hard for them to make a decision.   Show them no more than 15 REALLY great images, and watch your average sale go way up, nearly overnight.

One more example (I’ve got a million of ‘em!) – we do not actively offer to sell “files” on a USB stick or CD.

Another tough one for many photographers to get past.

Yes, we have digital files available in our higher end packages, but unlike most photographers who advertise “includes files”, we talk about the benefits of the way WE do business, from our marketing, our telephone call, our in-person chat, our projection of images, and gorgeous wall prints. With SO many photographers offering files, we REALLY are going the opposite way by NOT doing that, and it works GREAT!

Contrary to belief, this approach WILL attract clients.  More importantly, it will attract the RIGHT TYPE of clients – clients who appreciate what we do, and are willing to invest more money to receive images that are the very best – printed the very best – that they will cherish for a long time to come.   At the same time, this approach will “weed out” the price-shoppers – clients who are only looking for a cheap photographer to get them images fast and on a CD or thumbdrive.

There you have it!  So look around – what’s going on with photographers in YOUR area? Do the opposite! You’ll be glad you did!   And keep studying with photographers who have been and are making a great living in photography.  Don’t copy the people who are struggling!

-Thomas Morelli

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6 Responses to Opposites attract…. and what do they attract? BUSINESS!

  1. Anonymous
    February 23, 2016 at 9:27 am

    “Observe the masses and do the opposite” James Caan
    I love this quote and appreciate your reminder!
    Another very successful friend of mine once gave the analogy that if you need to park at the airport, rather than park on the same level you need to get off on, go to the top of the parking garage. There’s almost always plenty of parking near an elevator, you can go down to the floor you need and not have to stress over where to park!
    Thank you for helping so many people!

    • February 25, 2016 at 10:00 am

      Thanks so much for the comment! This is so important, and goes against what many people think is the right thing to do for success. We have to remember that, in this world, more people are UNSUCCESSFUL than those who ARE SUCCESSFUL. So, if we glean ideas from the wrong people, we are only modeling failure.

  2. February 26, 2016 at 2:53 pm

    Yep!!! As always, spot on! I only want to provide digital files to those who desire to make an investment in prints. Prints last and give joy every time you see them. Digital files get thrown into a drawer and forgotten. HOW SAD!!! I also learned very early on to shoot the same as I did with film . . . 24-36 exposures total, pick and show the very best. The worst thing a photographer can do is overwhelm a client with too many choices. Thanks for the reminder, Charles, that if you want to stand out, you have to go against the grain.

    • March 22, 2016 at 9:45 am

      Thanks for the comment, Deb! You’re so right about not overwhelming them with too many images. I see photographers doing this all the time!

  3. March 14, 2016 at 10:40 am

    After a career of working on flying machines, and now trying to kick-start this photography venture because I’m tired of turning wrenches, just trying to be careful in the way I pursue this business as whole and avoid mistakes along the way. Thanks for the insight. I will value all the articles you share and apply everything I can…
    Thanks Mr. Lewis

    • March 22, 2016 at 9:44 am

      You’re very welcome, Barrie! Please feel free to let us know if there’s anything we can do to help. Keep going for it!

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Creativity International / Charles Lewis Photography PO Box 848, Ada, MI 49301 | 616-868-0373