Sometimes skills cannot be showcased through portfolio alone. It rings true with photographers who always meet prospective clients to pitch for a photo assignment. In our industry we cannot escape the fact that a lot of times we are judge initially with how we look or behave. Clients pick up a thing or two and always leans on deciding who they see are ‘professional-looking’ in both demeanor and manner of talking. This is the reason why I ask the question do you look like a professional photographer. Also check (Entering Competitions as a Tool for Photography Marketing).
That’s why it is important to look like a professional even though your photography portfolio could fill a museum of amazing photographs. Little things such as professional looking business cards, a clean and presentable get-up and an assortment of photography gears on hand are just some of the important stuff to bring to a meeting to a client. A vast knowledge about photography and various camera models both during the film era and today’s digital world also helps create an aura of professionalism.
Clients like to brag about their knowledge about photography and most of the times their interest are piqued when a photographer brings more to the table than sample works. A little bit of cultured stock knowledge contributes a lot to making a lasting good impression to prospective clients.
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However, you don’t have to bring the whole photography arsenal to convince a prospective client that you are indeed a professional photographer. Just bring in the lens needed for portraits shots and landscape images. Demonstrate what each can do under various situations and settings like when the subject is outdoors or indoors, under bright sunlight, opposite the sun or under low light conditions. Talking and explaining the basic concepts of your photography technique to the prospective client increases their evaluation of you and to most they will already get the idea that you are one professional photographer.
It’s hard to try hard to be professional-looking more so if you are the low profile type of photographer who will rather let his/her works speak for his/herself. But sometimes, you will need to flex that muscles and impose your presence as a very important and in demand photographer. Carry an aura that brings confidence and an attitude of bravado, this is only to present to prospective clients that you got the right confidence in guaranteeing a great set of photographs. Something, almost all professionals even in other industries, does to present themselves to their clients.
The most important thing is just be yourself, do not over-do the ‘professional’ portrayal in the physical sense. Act like a professional, be courteous and confident and soon the client will appreciate what you would bring to the table. When that moment comes, make sure you present all necessary ideas and concept you as a photographer will be able to provide to the client. In the end, the client will see you as a true professional as long as you keep things simple, informative and answers all questions in a true professional manner.