On the day of his session, one of my clients expressed to me how happy he was to have decided to spend the money and finally shoot with a “real” photographer. He thought, and I quote “all photographers are hustlers,” and that, “they’ll do anything to make money off ya so why bother when there are plenty of friends with cameras?” Then he told me that after shooting with me he decided he thought wrong. After thinking about it for a moment, I said, “well, all photographers are hustlers.” We’re all hustling to earn your business and book you as a client just as actors are hustling to book work with casting directors. We are all competing to be noticed and to do better than ‘the other guy’ so you spend your money with us and we earn a living.
So what makes someone feel like hustling is the same as being hustled? Being good at marketing and business does not necessarily make one a hustler, but not delivering a product that is useful or of value to the client… might. Photographers that have a vested interest in your success are usually the ones that enjoy what they do and when you talk to those photographers (did you bother? see below) it’s immediately apparent that they care about what they do. Those are the guys that invest in learning what it takes to make you successful and it’s easy to see the difference. Not only do these photographers give every client a 110%, they enjoy doing so, and in return earn the community’s respect.
If you still have to ask how you can tell you’re not being hustled, you probably haven’t done your research.
When you choose an acting school, do you look at all of them and simply choose the lowest priced classes? Or do you look to see who is teaching and how your community rates that teacher? For most of you, I’d bet it’s the latter because you want to receive a valuable education for your investment which in turn will help you book jobs. So why would you ever simply look for the lowest priced photographer without at least researching the value of what you are purchasing? Will his or her images be useful to you? Does the community respect and know this photographer? Did you bother picking up the phone and talking to your potential photographer? Did you ask your agents if his/her work is acceptable to industry standard etc. etc.?
It never ceases to amaze me how many times the answer to a successful session or in this case, one that doesn’t make you feel ‘hustled’ is research. Basically all the things I talk about in this post and this post seem to apply to actors over and over again. In short, you don’t know what you don’t know until you’ve done the research.
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Amy Douplet: Creative Professional / Victim
Brenda DeRe: Upscale Business / Blue Collar
Jim Hackett: Outdoorsy Grandpa / Intelectual Grandpa
Andrew Jauregui: Hustler (ha) / Office Guy / Best Friend / Helpful Employee
Jasmine May: Hipster / Office Girl
Rime Salmi: Urban Hip / Office / Creative Professional
Joey Coverson: Edgy / Upscale Business
Jessica Juarez: The Best Friend / Tough Street
Marietta Melrose: Fashionista / Student
Valerie Gould: Country Club Mom / BBQ Mom