What should the customer know about your pricing (e.g., discounts, fees)?
Yes, my full pricing structure is available on my website and it varies. I am very skeptical of photographers who do not have clear and concise pricing on their website. In my experience, their strategy is to shake down their clients and charge them according to their available budget instead of their actual needs. Unfortunately, the client is usually the one who loses in this situation. They will usually either wind up over paying because the photographer wants to take them for all they've got, or they will receive a low quality product because they couldn't pay up more. I have gone to great lengths to ensure that my pricing and sales system is as transparent as possible so people know exactly what they are getting and at exactly what price. Of course, there will always be custom gigs, like the ones here on Thumbtack, and in those cases it is vital to be flexible.
What is your typical process for working with a new customer?
The first thing I do with my new clients is as lots of 'dumb' questions. My initial question is 'What will constitute success for this gig?'. I believe there are no 'dumb' questions and only 'dumb' mistakes. My goal is to minimize any mistakes before they take place and to fully understand the final use of your images. This can be done online or in person. Once we have agreed on all the details, we complete the shoot. After the shoot I make sure the client is completely satisfied by following up with them and making any adjustments that may be needed. I believe my service after the photo shoot is just as important, if not more so, than it is before the photo shoot, because the call back is more important than the first sale to me.
What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
I have a Bachelors degree in Mass Media from Delaware State University and also take pride in having continued my education using the numerous unorthodox methods now available to us in this 21st century Information Age i.e. Youtube, google etc. It's helped me eliminate any excuses because whenever I'm presented with a challenge, there is usually someone else out there who faced the same challenge, conquered it, and made a video about it!
How did you get started doing this type of work?
I always knew I had media and photography skills and the passion for it, but I never knew I would ever take it seriously as a profession. However, my whole life people kept placing cameras in my hands, from my dad to my closest friends, and soon I'd mastered the skills the pros were incorporating, so I decided to take it more seriously by going to school and eventually incorporating my own media business.
What types of customers have you worked with?
I have worked with a variety of clients from celebrities to close friends and family and everything in between. Part of the reason I love photography is because of the variety of gigs.
Describe a recent project you are fond of. How long did it take?
Well there are two. I attended the Hollywood Weekly Movie Awards covering the red carpet and got booked for an exclusive white party the next weekend on the spot. After completing both gigs the organizers let me know that I had completely out shined all of the other photographers at the events. It was a huge honor because a lot of these photographers had much more extensive portfolios, some had been in the game when Mahommad Ali was at his prime. It was a tremendous vote of confidence because feedback is extremely important to me.
What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a provider in your area of work?
The most important thing is to know what you want. Photography is both a science and an art. The same image can be color 'corrected' to be clean and sharp, the science, or weird and funky, the art. It's vital that your photographer knows what your after, that way they can also incorporate that into your photo shoot as they compose your shots. Also always have some sort of agreement on paper, or at least email. I can't emphasize this enough. Before I became a professional photographer I got burnt on this one by a photographer of low moral character. If you are not sure about exactly what you are looking for initially there's no harm in consulting a pro, but do not move forward until you have a clear vision of what you want.
What questions should customers think through before talking to professionals about their project?
This is a bit of a tricky question. Any professional photographer who is transparent about their sales system and takes themselves seriously should already have the majority of your questions answered on their website. You should be a little skeptical of those who do not go out of their way to make this small effort for their clients. They may be one to cut corners on your project the same way they have on their website. Of course, you can always make sure you are both clear on deadlines and quality standards, just in case, even if this information is listed on their website.