Photography Marketing Success Secret #5 – Dress Like You’re Already Successful

You Must Dress Professionally To Be Successful

One of the things I discovered as I was building my photography business, was that you want to dress for your target market, not for the market you are serving at the moment.

When I first started out, my prices were really low, (because I didn’t know any better,) and I was tending to work with the lower middle class.  Nothing wrong with that, I just wanted higher average sales and profits, so I decided to go after the upper middle class.

So I had to dress like that “Target Market” I wanted to serve, even though at that moment, I wasn’t working with many of them.

So I dressed better.  I couldn’t afford expensive clothing, but I could select clothing that helped me look my best.  Clothing that helped me build and maintain a professional, successful image.

This is way more important than most photographers realize.  You see, you and I deal in a visual profession.  You are advising your clients on exactly what to wear, to look their best in their portrait.

Now, I know you want to dress comfortably.  But I’m sorry, you need to dress more professionally.  Even in these more casual times, this still means for men – dress shirt, nice slacks and well polished shoes.  (Never tennis shoes!)  Better yet, a suit or sports coat and slacks.  And be sure your belt matches your well shined shoes.  That FIRST IMPRESSION must be top notch.  You must be perfectly, and professionally dressed!

The most important meeting is the FIRST TIME you see a client or prospect. This is the moment she forms her opinions of you. (When I meet a prospect or client for the first time, I start out with sport coat, tie, dress shirt – all perfectly put together. Then I usually will remove my coat as we walk over to my round table to “chat.” Then after we have talked for a few moments, many times I’ll loosen my tie.  And sometimes I will unbutton my long sleeved shirt, and roll the sleeves up a little. Doing this helps to show the client you are a nice, casual person, but still a professional.)

But then, when that client leaves, and it’s time to meet the next client, I will put everything back together again, so I look perfect when I meet the next client for the first time.

For women, again, dress very professionally, and conservatively.  Pay attention to everything.  From the shoes all the way up to your hair style.  Everything must be professional, and conservative.  No skirts that are too short.  No really loud, extravagant outfits.  No blouses that are too tight, or necklines that are too low.  Remember, people are coming to you for advice on how to look their best.  Stay away from fads – dress in a classic style.

Never wear jeans, sweatshirts, shorts, tennis shoes, etc. You are a professional. Just imagine what you would think if you walked into your bank and saw the manager dressed in shorts and tennis shoes!

Just remember, portrait and wedding photographers should dress as professionally as news anchors, bankers and attorneys.

And never, ever chew gum.  That belongs on the play ground in grammar school, never in the office environment.

You get the idea.

And remember, again, PLEASE, dress very conservatively.  I do a great amount of one-on-one consulting with photographers all over the world, via telephone conference calls.  And you know what?  Even in New York or LA, or London or Sydney, most people who invest substantial amounts of money in portrait and wedding photography tend to be more conservative.  Not always, but most of the time.  So dress that way yourself.  People tend to like people who dress like they do.  And people buy from people they like.

Remember, dress for the “Target Market” you want to work with – not necessarily the market you are working with at the moment.

Remember this: the reason people always say ‘don’t judge a book by it’s cover’ – is that everybody does!

How your studio looks, and how you dress tells the public what you think of yourself and your photography.  And these pointers apply no matter where your studio is located.  The better your studio looks, and the more professionally you dress, the more successful you will become.

For more photography marketing secrets, tips and techniques, click here:  Photography Marketing

All the best,

Charles J. Lewis, M. Photog., Cr.

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