The Man Behind the Camera – The Guardian Talks to David Bailey
I love the fact that he is so frank and honest about his opinions and thoughts…
However, this got me thinking about my own approach to modern day photography and my business…can I afford to have the same outlook and (sometimes) crass attitude?
At the start of 2013, I decided to be a lot more “myself” than “professional”, even though I would consider myself professional in most respects.
What I mean is, I am trying to remove the “polish” or unnecessary marketing flak and BS that is designed to make me look better in my clients’ eyes.
I am fairly confident in my abilities, I feel (hope) I am likeable and amicable when it comes to people and potential clients and of course, honesty is always the best policy right? So, if that is the case, why should I pepper my clients and website with terms like “I work in an unobtrusive manner” or “I really care about your special day”…that should be obvious from my work and the fact that I choose to shoot weddings as part of my business.
I think most people are pretty savvy these days and know what they like and want. Personally, I hate pfaffing or fannying about and just want the facts when buying something or booking someone…none of the sales fluff or (p)regurgitated jargon.
- Client sees work – Client likes work
- Client meets photographer – Client likes photographer
- Clients sees prices – Client likes prices
- Client books photographer
After you watch the 8 minutes interview with David Bailey, ask yourself if you could afford to be quite so laid back with that attitude with your own clients. I think David can afford to be the way he is because he has earned that right. He has proved himself countless times and is now, for want of a better phrase, in the twilight years of his career.
For those younger photographers adopting the same attitude, I think it would come across as arrogant and cocky and would, more often than not, lose potential clients.
I am in my mid-forties now and feel I am about half way there…I have a long history with photography with some great successes and stories (good and bad). I don’t rely on photography work as much as I used to (I do quite a few other things these days), and even though I still shoot between 6 and 10 weddings each summer, they are not the main source of my business.
My attitude when I meet couples these days is fairly laid back and almost care-free. I want the job but I am not (or I don’t come across as) desperate which can be a real problem with newbie photographers when they meet potential clients. I am confident, polite and professional in my work and approach but also “playful”, fun and genuinely interested in the people.
My point here is that David Bailey is famous with longevity in this industry. He has photographed numerous celebrities and dignitaries and is the “go to” photographer of choice for many…he has earned his position in this industry. Therefore, he can truly be himself.
Be inspired by others but be yourself. Don’t emulate everything about your peers and “heroes” but take the best bits and apply them to yourself if possible.
A newcomer to photography has to take an altogether and entirely different approach to his or her work and business…they have yet to earn their stripes.
Be humble, be polite, be professional and be honest. Don’t be cocky, don’t be arrogant, don’t be pushy and don’t be desperate…you will get there!
“I can’t photograph someone’s soul…that’s all a load of old bollocks“…love it, enjoy the interview : )