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Poll

Does brand influence your level of success?

Yes
17 (60.7%)
No
11 (39.3%)

Total Members Voted: 23

Author Topic: POLL: Does brand influence your level of success?  (Read 2230 times)

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PaulieWalnuts

  • You talkin' to me?
« on: January 03, 2012, 09:04 »
0
This probably doesn't apply to micro that much but there seem to be a lot of people here that also do assignments, portraits, weddings, and other face-to-face work with clients.

So do you think how successful you look and the right brands help you be more successful?

Would clients be more likely to go with you because they see you pull up in a Land Rover or Mercedes vs Chevy or Kia?

Does the ability to boast you have top pro equipment vs inexpensive cobbled together stuff influence client decisions?


Ed

« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2012, 13:16 »
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How successful you look

Yes you need to dress for success.  If you show up to photograph a wedding in jeans with knees torn out and a t-shirt, then yes, its going to impact your success.  Dress appropriately for the occasion.

What you drive nowhat you drive makes no difference.

Your equipment yesit makes a difference.  If youre shooting a wedding with a Canon G12 as opposed to a 5D MK II, yes, its going to influence your client. 

I went and looked at studio space last Saturday.  I was told $250/month for the space, plus a $500 equipment deposit for the use of a backdrop and three strobes.  The stands the strobes were on looked to be in worse condition that the $15 speedlight stands Ive bought from eBay and the power cords were cracked.  Why would I pay a $500 deposit on equipment that costs less than $500?

Some additional points

Insurance yes.  If you dont have insurance it conveys the message you dont care about your clients, you arent cautious about what you do, and you are not professional.

Web site yes (to a point).  If you are touting yourself as a commercial photographer and all you have on your website is pictures of landscapes and wildlife, your clients are going to keep looking.

How you act ABSOLUTELY.  You arent professional unless you show professionalism in front of your client.

ShadySue

« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2012, 13:21 »
0
What you drive nowhat you drive makes no difference.
Probably depends on your location.
I remember some years back the owner of a binocular/telescope company was regularly seen driving some sort of big expensive car. The fallout was huge. His company was one of the best-priced vendors in the market, but people thought that he must still be making far too much of a profit, and started to negotiate even harder. Prices overall fell quite a bit over the following year.

« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2012, 13:30 »
0
Not at all. What influences your 'level of success' is how hard you work, how well you satisfy your clients' needs, how well you understand and exploit the business opportunities, etc. The gear that you use and the car that you drive can only disguise inadequacies ... and then for only so long.

lagereek

« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2012, 14:34 »
0
I read somewhere, the car was actually the ultimate status symbol. Here in Sweden, If you drive a Volvo or SAAB,  youre just a nobody. Todays Swedes, drive Range-rover or Grand Cherokees. Then you are supposed to be somebody.

Funny thing is, nobody seem to realize 80% of them are on the books or leasing, etc. :)

« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2012, 14:35 »
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I recently read somewhere, maybe Fred Miranda - I remember it was a lady, sorry to quote someone I don't even recall - but she had a booking with a customer who had cheaped out on a session with a "mom with camera" type.  The pro photographer asked the client to point out the difference was between her style and the m-w-c.  The customer said something like "you showed up on time, you have flashes on stands and not a pop up flash, you took light measurements and held that colour thingy up, you told me to raise my chin and turn my shoulders a certain way - she (m-w-c) just fired away and the photos were terrible".

So - your actions go a long way as well!  But still, if you showed up in dirty jeans and and a slogan-tshirt you have already given the client a reason to hate you.

« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2012, 14:35 »
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I like to show up in Spiderman pajamas and a pirate hat riding side saddle on a Shetland pony to all my meetings. It really impresses my clients.

« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2012, 14:36 »
0
Oh Cory, you kill me!

« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2012, 14:38 »
0
The question is too complex to justify a simple "yes" or "no" answer. I do believe a strong brand will help you increase your success, but a brand is a part of the marketing efforts of your company or yourself. The marketing efforts of a company are in turm only a part of running a business. Having, or creating a strong brand by itself it is no guarantee to ensure success.

My vote goes to "yes", though. I do believe the brand I created for our assigned work (and everthing that goes with it, including (yet not limited to -) corporate identity, appearance, business approach and appearance) helps me target my prospects more effectively.

lthn

    This user is banned.
« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2012, 15:51 »
0
Absolutely, most ppl are dumb snobs with no idea about aesthetics, and unless you can please them presenting something catchy in their favoured kitshcy style, they gonna very heavily judge you by your equipment. I know several wannabes making ok money -compared to their instantly visible severe lack of any talent- by constantly showing of their 'pro-gear'. Their business card, their opening homepage, etc, is showing them swningin' a big body with the biggest lens, and it works. It has been tested in flickr too, some guy posted shots with original exif, d40 I think, than posted the same shots (decent, but nothing showing real talent) with fake exif telling it was done with the biggest hassy + super-duper lens, got 5-10 times more likes and favourites. Conclusion is the same as always: people are stupid. : )

rubyroo

« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2012, 15:59 »
0
Not at all. What influences your 'level of success' is how hard you work, how well you satisfy your clients' needs, how well you understand and exploit the business opportunities, etc. The gear that you use and the car that you drive can only disguise inadequacies ... and then for only so long.

^^^

This.

God how I hate all that 'image is everything' b*llocks.  At a more misguided stage in my life (1980's) I was actually an image consultant... just doing it because it paid so well.  In the end, my conscience wouldn't allow me to continue with all that cr*p. 

ALL that should matter is the quality of your work and respectful interaction.  Nothing else.

rubyroo

« Reply #11 on: January 03, 2012, 15:59 »
0
I like to show up in Spiderman pajamas and a pirate hat riding side saddle on a Shetland pony to all my meetings. It really impresses my clients.

 :D :D :D

Brilliant!  For that, I'd hire you!

ShadySue

« Reply #12 on: January 03, 2012, 16:12 »
0
I like to show up in Spiderman pajamas and a pirate hat riding side saddle on a Shetland pony to all my meetings. It really impresses my clients.

 :D :D :D

Brilliant!  For that, I'd hire you!

Yeah, you would, but for others I guess some degree of conventionality might count for something. Because while all that should matter is the quality of your work and respectful interaction, first impressions count for a lot.

rubyroo

« Reply #13 on: January 03, 2012, 16:19 »
0
Horses for courses, no doubt, but I can't stand working with people who make assumptions on the basis of appearance (having had my fill in the 80's).  I just prefer being around people with greater depth.

« Reply #14 on: January 03, 2012, 16:25 »
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Honestly, the fanciest gear I've ever actually seen in use (the Canon 600mm f4, the Sigma 300-800mm f5.6, etc) is always owned by comfortably wealthy hobbyists who aren't confident enough about their abilities to even dream of selling images. Unlike people who make their living from photography they don't have to calculate or justify the ROI on such expenditure.

lisafx

« Reply #15 on: January 03, 2012, 16:57 »
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I kind of thought "photographer" was one of those professions where looking a little grungy was accepted, except for wedding pros of course.   Photojournalists typically seem to look a bit ragged, and "artists" of all types are given a lot of leeway on their appearance. 

Honestly, I don't think most clients or models can tell the difference between a Rebel and a 5DII, for example, nor between a Canon, Nikon, etc.   They do like to see those softboxes and umbrellas though, and a digicam with onboard flash would be a huge no-no. 

More than appearance, I think it is your attitude that conveys professionalism or lack of it.  If you are calm, confident, and give them good direction, they are going to be reassured, no matter how you are dressed nor what equipment you use (within reason).

rubyroo

« Reply #16 on: January 03, 2012, 17:02 »
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Interesting!  Very good point on ROI Gostwyck.  

...and Lisa, yes!  I completely expect more creative professions to dress they way they please (weddings excepted).  It's part of the joy of being a creative.

Aside from my personal rant over an historic grievance (sorry about that...) I have to wonder why anyone would think they'd get better pictures on the basis of someone's car.  All a fancy car proves is where your priorities lie.  As Lagereek said, a person could be up their eyeballs in debt for the car, and that goes for equipment also.

Of course, those who pay for a service make their own judgements based on their own value system... but honestly, they'd be crazy to judge a photographer by their car or equipment.  The thing they should really be looking at is the portfolio and testimonials.

Sounds like a case of 'buyer beware.... of yourself!'


jbarber873

« Reply #17 on: January 03, 2012, 21:43 »
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   Most of my clients are more likely to notice if you don't have the latest version of photoshop than anything else. I think Lisa brings up a good point about confidence, because if you can't make the client feel that you are in control and know what you are doing, you are toast. I dress in jeans and t-shirt because 99% of the time I'm in the studio, on ladders or on the floor, or in some way getting messy. But on location at an office or the like, I make sure to dress well. It's a sign of respect for your client. The other stuff- cameras, lights, etc, are pretty much mystery objects to most people, so I wouldn't worry about the gear, as long as you have what you need to do the job properly. And little details make a big difference. A dirty ratty old extension cord is an advertisement that you're a slob, no matter what you drive. And to get back to the original question about brand, almost every client I've ever had has been a reference from another person, so the brand is key.

« Reply #18 on: January 03, 2012, 21:52 »
0
   Most of my clients are more likely to notice if you don't have the latest version of photoshop than anything else.

How would they know this? My clients wouldn't have a clue, understand or care about which PS version I was using. All that matters to them is the results.

jbarber873

« Reply #19 on: January 03, 2012, 22:06 »
0
   Most of my clients are more likely to notice if you don't have the latest version of photoshop than anything else.

How would they know this? My clients wouldn't have a clue, understand or care about which PS version I was using. All that matters to them is the results.

     My clients are for the most part ad agency art directors or graphic designers. I work in the studio, as I said, so they are naturally looking over my shoulder.

rubyroo

« Reply #20 on: January 04, 2012, 04:17 »
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I must have dreamed about this thread in my sleep...  The first thought in my head when I woke up was David Bailey, and how he doesn't seem to care what anyone thinks.  I don't always agree with him, but I do enjoy his insistence on being himself. 

There are some comments in this interview that seem relevant to this thread. 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/1924630/David-Bailey-the-sixties-and-bloody-feminism.html

lagereek

« Reply #21 on: January 04, 2012, 04:26 »
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I must have dreamed about this thread in my sleep...  The first thought in my head when I woke up was David Bailey, and how he doesn't seem to care what anyone thinks.  I don't always agree with him, but I do enjoy his insistence on being himself. 

There are some comments in this interview that seem relevant to this thread. 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/1924630/David-Bailey-the-sixties-and-bloody-feminism.html


David can afford to look like a scruff, he has made his mark, in photography and commercial directing. Had you seen him in the 60s and 70s, he looked the part indeed. Although, this cockney lad, doesnt care what people say, at all.

rubyroo

« Reply #22 on: January 04, 2012, 04:43 »
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Yes, true Lagereek.  But then the 60s were the first step away from conformity.  I think it might have just taken him a while to take the bigger stride.  ;)

Fair enough though, of course when we feel at the mercy of someone else's judgement simply to be able to eat and develop, we have no choice but to make concessions and compromise ourselves (you'd think Dickens' attempts to illustrate that miserable fact two centuries ago would have had more impact).   At the earliest opportunity though, I do encourage people to help break the mindset that 'you are what you wear' or what you drive or any of that other tosh - by not feeding it.  As producers of an end-product, we are actually in a position to be able to change that, one little ripple at a time, by producing better and more desirable work than the competitor who 'blings' loudest, but offers  poor results.

I suppose I've always wanted the world to be more meritocratic.  
« Last Edit: January 04, 2012, 06:00 by rubyroo »

lagereek

« Reply #23 on: January 04, 2012, 06:51 »
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Yes, true Lagereek.  But then the 60s were the first step away from conformity.  I think it might have just taken him a while to take the bigger stride.  ;)

Fair enough though, of course when we feel at the mercy of someone else's judgement simply to be able to eat and develop, we have no choice but to make concessions and compromise ourselves (you'd think Dickens' attempts to illustrate that miserable fact two centuries ago would have had more impact).   At the earliest opportunity though, I do encourage people to help break the mindset that 'you are what you wear' or what you drive or any of that other tosh - by not feeding it.  As producers of an end-product, we are actually in a position to be able to change that, one little ripple at a time, by producing better and more desirable work than the competitor who 'blings' loudest, but offers  poor results.

I suppose I've always wanted the world to be more meritocratic.  

I agree!  have you seen Baileys commercial for Greenpeace? you know the one with the blood and furcoats, splashing all over the place. The slogan is: " it takes a thousand dumb animals to make a fur-coat but only ONE, to wear it"
powerful stuff!

I like Bailey a lot, even met him a few times in London, etc, and he is actually one of few, who is prepared to stand for what he is doing, no hokus pokus there.

best.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2012, 06:55 by lagereek »

rubyroo

« Reply #24 on: January 04, 2012, 09:19 »
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I just found it.  Powerful indeed - I actually got the shivers as the point started being made.  Very clever.  A link here for anyone interested:

"DUMB ANIMALS"



I also found a very natural interview with him, which I enjoyed.  Very refreshing to see such a lack of 'stuffiness' and pretention in someone so successful:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/video/2010/mar/15/david-bailey-60s-photographs


 

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