On your journey of becoming a professional photographer, you’ll make plenty of mistakes and learn from them. Some of them will certainly occur when you first start getting clients who want to pay you for your work. In this video, Jeff Rojas shares three big mistakes he made with his first client, and these could be a valuable lesson so you don’t make the same slips when you get into the business of photography.
When Jeff got commissioned to photograph a car, his client asked him about the price and he made his first mistake:
1. Not understanding your cost of doing business
The moment his client asked how much it would cost to photograph the car, Jeff said “Fifty dollars.” He guaranteed a 24×36 inch print and he knew that he could get it, so he instantly figured that $50 should be enough. However, he didn’t know where he could get the print. So he drove around the town to find the printing place where he could make one. The print itself cost $35, and the gas he spent to drive around cost him about $45.
Okay, Jeff could have pick up a phone instead of driving and physically checking the print shops. But, this is just an illustration of how important it is to understand your cost of doing business before you give someone a potential quote.
2. Not giving yourself enough time to complete the assignment
Even if you estimate the cost of doing business right – you can make a mistake in estimating the time you need to do it. Jeff says he was lucky to find the printing place where he could get that 24×36 inch print, but he delivered it in the last minute. So, be realistic about the time you need to finish the assignment from the beginning to the end. And make sure to account for the unpredictable circumstances.
3. Wrong presentation
This is the third mistake Jeff admittedly made with the same client. When he picked up the print, he got it in a tube. He took that same tube and gave it to the client. This isn’t much of a presentation, you’ll agree. So, when you deliver prints or digital images to your clients, find a way to make it look nice and professional.
Although we learn from our mistakes, it’s always less painful to learn from the mistakes of others. I hope Jeff’s experience will help you and spare you these mistakes, so you can develop your business more successfully from the very beginning.
[3 Mistakes I Made with My First Client via FStoppers; lead image credits i_hate_sult/Wikimedia Commons]
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