I have heard twice now after sending out follow up emails from weddings that the potential client has decided to have “Aunt Sally” do them for free instead. This doesn't frustrate me for my own reasons. It honestly frustrates me for them, don't they know how valuable wedding photography is? Am I not displaying myself as important and showing them all I have to offer? I just want to reply back and say “No! This is important, a professional should do it”. Any suggestions?
Sally Stole My Job
Dear Sally Stole My Job,
I completely understand your frustration. It feels like a blow when a prospective client opts to work with an amateur instead of a professional. As photographers, we want clients to understand the differences between what we do and the hobbyist who picks up a camera on occasion.
However, you asked if you were not displaying yourself as important and showing them all you have to offer. My dad raised me to believe that if you have to ask yourself a question, you already know the answer. If we applied his advice, I'd guess you're not. You're not showing/explaining/highlighting what makes you different from the Aunt Sallys of the world.
I might be rubbing you the wrong way, but because I haven't seen your website and/or blog, I can speak freely without you feeling like my opinion is an affront of your web presence. However, if you're losing clients to family members, students, or amateurs, it tells me you need to work harder to showcase your collection, the totality of what it is you provide.
My guess is that your web presence shows your photos, but in this competitive industry, you have to do more. You need to show your photos, you need a bio highlighting your personality and dedication to client care, and you need a website that shows your aesthetic. I encourage you to curate what you do.
Being a good photographer is of the utmost importance, but as an entrepreneur, you need to embody qualities of an art director, writer, and curator. When you shift your mindset, you'll find ways to highlight your work beyond pretty photos. You'll showcase your differences and allow clients to understand the value you provide as a professional photographer and business owner.
Once you do this, Aunt Sally or Uncle Bob will no longer be your competition, but a relic from a not-so-distant past. I wish you the best as you highlight your amazingness.