There was an interesting discussion we were having last week with fellow photographers. A fellow photographer posted a wedding image he took last year for his clients and was surprised to find out that one of his artistic images did not get picked and prints ordered from his clients.
So a long discussion started. Many provided reasonable guesses on why the image was not picked but I felt there is more than just selection decision which was on the bottom of this discussion. It was the whole inherited conflict every photographer faces: Satisfy its internal artistic vision or take time to understand client’s needs and deliver images which appeal to each client?
After all how good is an image to a client when is not something he or she likes and feel truly represents their personality and mood.
Not all clients are created or would be the same. Not all clients are artsy natures. And we cannot expect them to be of course. I have found that most of the portraits I take and clients like are about them, their personality and feelings. Clients have a certain perception or would like others to get certain perception of them (happy, thoughtful, serious, funny, silly, etc). Composition, effects and props are tiny-bit of sprinkle but unless the image matches their perception, the image is going to end up on the shelf, not being picked up or ordered.
It does NOT mean is a bad image or one should not take images which clients most likely won’t purchase or like. It does mean, that images focusing on the personality and matching client’s expectations are the one to pay the bill and make a sale. Art is not easy to sell and it doesn’t appeal to all clients neither a photographer should expect to be appealing or always understood.
In regards to the wedding image we were discussing even if the clients are artsy and get the art images, think about their parents, relatives and friends they are going to show their wedding pictures and brag about. Who would want their mom or aunt, making puzzled face and asking: “Honey, did you pay for these pictures? Because I don’t think they are good at all! Why I cannot see your face and why Nik is all blurry? Uncle Frank could have taken better pictures of you and Nik”
It’s a dilemma a photographer has to solve for itself: satisfy its creativity drive or compromise its vision and cater to the commercial aspect of the photography business. That’s the reason why some decide to do photography for fun and follow their heart. Others, take both shots: for sale and for their own creativity needs. But at the end: if photography is ones means of leaving and a photographer doesn’t meet its clients expectations, no matter how much art is produced at the and without adequate sales and client references, the professional career for some could be short lived.
Think differently, agree or disagree? Drop me a line or comment below.
About the Author:
Trifon Anguelov Photography is a Premiere Bay Area Wedding and Events Photography business based in Mountain View, CA 94040 and serving clients in San Francisco Bay Area. You can follow him on social media (links in the top right sideblock of this blog) or check his latest photography projects on his Wedding and Portrait Photography Site