by Tom Lee Published 01/11/2006
A pain in the neck
Working with books on a table may be unavoidable, but if you have to, never put the table between you and the customer. It creates an unnecessary barrier between you and possibly your sale. People alsotend to look down at the table because they are standing up, giving rise to a stiff neck. Another idea would be to have the wedding books displayed on a lectern; however the cost of one of these might be more than my pop-up stand! An affordable alternative to this are sturdy music stands with a fabric or silk cover. These stands can be as little as £20 each and have added advantages of being height-adjustable and moveable. They also collapse to fold flat in transit.Albums and Moving Pictures
Have you ever noticed how many people stop outside the electrical store, just to see what's on the TV in the window? You can produce a similar effecton a laptop and slideshow presentation; if nothing else you'll draw a crowd. Use Proshow Gold or ABOVE for a simple and flexible solution, although there are many other cheap programs available both for Mac- and PC-based machines.
How up to date are you? There is no point in showing prospective clients work that is several years old. Albums are expensive to put together but they are primarily all that the bride and groom will remember you by. You should endeavour to rotate out the old albums and replace them with newer work. My display albums take a heck of a hammering, being mistreated by almost everyone who picks them up. The last thing I want on show is a tatty album with work from five years ago! If you are worth your salt, then you will have improved your technique and modified your style to reflect current trends, so why show them something different?
In common with many colleagues, I work from home, with a part of the house converted to a studio, to bring down the overhead costs of running a business. This too should be reflective of the type of business you are. Is this room/studio business-like, tidy, comfortable, sheltered from other parts of the household, quiet, etc, or is your client expected to weave themselvesaround the kids' toys or shout above the television next door? Running a business (even part-time) is no longer a cheap affair, and generally hard work. Your client and their friend may have similar equipment to you, and remember there is always someone willing to offer a service cheaper than yours. What sets you apart from 'Uncle Harry' is your professionalism and expertise; show the client something different, exciting and well presented.
The face you show to the public should always reflect the type of service you offer. If you work at the lower end of the wedding market, even your prospective client has standards. Treat them with the respect they deserve and try to exceed their expectations. You never know, it may just get you that next job. As your business grows and prospers so should the standard of your presentation. The more successful you show yourself to be the more likely (but not always!) you are to attract better and more expensive clients.
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